In the past, humans lived in close harmony with nature. However, as the industrial and technological revolutions took over, individuals began to favour concrete over the natural environment.
This change is unfortunate as humans are inherently attracted to nature and seek to connect with it. Hence, biophilic interior design has risen in popularity, with an increasing number of homeowners embarking on projects to bring the outdoors into their homes.
Read on to learn more about biophilic design and its place in your interior design project.
What is Biophilic Design?
First used by Erich Fromm in 1973 and later popularised by E. O. Wilson in 1984, biophilia refers to a love for life that manifests in an attraction to nature and the need to connect with it.
Unfortunately, urbanisation has transformed the world into a “concrete jungle” and widened the gap between humans and natural systems. As such, many interior designers and homeowners have turned to biophilic design, where natural environment characteristics are brought into man-made spaces.
Studies have found biophilic designs to be beneficial: they boost cognitive performance, enhance mood and emotions, and reduce stress (Weir, 2020).
Plants as a Design Element
Plants are the most straightforward way to incorporate nature into your interior design.
Choose from a variety of houseplants—perhaps a collection of stunning flowers like peace lilies and jasmine or something more low-maintenance, like snake and money plants—that will breathe new life into your living space. Besides adding natural beauty to your home, these plants can improve air quality and eliminate indoor pollutants.
Natural sunlight increases serotonin levels, lowers blood pressure, and helps regulate your circadian rhythm, enabling you to sleep better and experience less stress. Therefore, it is beneficial to stay in sun-drenched rooms.
Consider installing larger windows or a skylight to let daylight in. You can also opt for sheer day curtains instead of dim-out or black-out ones and reposition furniture so they do not obstruct the window.
Colour is one element of interior design that influences your mood and mental health. Hence, incorporating nature-inspired colours into your home can help you forge a stronger connection with the natural world.
Natural colours do not just refer to earthy tans and browns. Take inspiration from your favourite natural environment—for example, if you love going to the beach, you could opt for blue and beige instead.
Some popular natural materials include wood and stone, which are versatile and encapsulate the beauty of nature. Other potential materials to consider are bamboo, rattan, and cork.
These materials can be used in furniture pieces, panels, or flooring.
Appeal to the Senses
Although most interior design steps focus on your sense of sight, you can appeal to your other senses as well.
For example, you can swap out thick, soundproof curtains for thin day curtains in the living room. Doing so allows you to listen to the birds chirping and the leaves rustling. Additionally, consider purchasing a mini water fountain, as the sound of flowing water helps soothe the mind and relax the body.
You can also use essential oils or dried flowers to introduce natural aromas to your home.
Urbanisation has benefited humankind immensely but has also caused a disconnection between humans and the natural world. Incorporating biophilic design into your home renovation project is a straightforward way to fulfil your intrinsic desire to connect with nature.
Weir, K. (2020). Nurtured by nature. Monitor on Psychology, 51(3), 50. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/nurtured-nature#:~:text=From%20a%20stroll%20through%20a,upticks%20in%20empathy%20and%20cooperation.