I recently got back from my family holiday in the beautiful country of Croatia and the experiences there got me thinking about the effects of nature on our physical and mental wellbeing. Whilst in Croatia, two of our favourite activities were visiting Krka National Park and rafting on the River Cetina. We were surrounded by nature and wildlife and loved being away from the hustle and bustle of town life. In our fast-paced, modern lives, finding ways to reconnect with nature has become increasingly important. As we spend more time indoors, I wanted to find out how to bring nature into the home for the benefit of our physical and mental wellbeing.
Understanding Biophilic Design
I recently read about the concept of biophilic design – I had never heard of this expression – and discovered that it is used to describe the idea that humans have an innate connection to nature and thrive when surrounded by natural elements. Personally, I definitely benefit from spending time in nature, even if it’s simply a walk along the beach, in a park or in my garden. So it makes sense to me that humans would thrive being surrounded by natural elements. In this article, I’ll explore the principles of biophilic design and provide practical tips on how to bring nature into the home, transforming your living spaces into tranquil and sustainable sanctuaries.
Elements of Biophilic Design
Biophilic design aims to draw together and connect our indoor environments to the great outdoors. By integrating natural materials, colors, patterns, and even living plants, biophilic design aims to create spaces that promote well-being, creativity, and a deeper connection to the environment.
Biophilic design involves introducing a range of materials that capture nature’s beauty and serenity. Let’s take a closer look at some of these elements and how they can be introduced into your home:
1. Indoor Plants:
Indoor plants are perhaps the most straightforward way to introduce nature into your living spaces. From vibrant succulents to lush ferns, plants not only add visual appeal but also improve indoor air quality. Consider placing potted plants near windows or the current trend of creating a living wall as a stunning focal point that brings the outdoors in.
2. Natural Materials:
Introducing natural materials like wood, stone, and bamboo into your interior design can instantly create a sense of warmth and authenticity. Choose sustainably sourced materials to ensure your design choices are environmentally friendly. From hardwood floors to wooden furniture, these materials look good and feel good too.
Lots of natural light not only reduces the need for artificial lighting but also positively impacts our mood and overall well-being. Arranging your furniture to increase sunlight exposure and to allow for easy views of any green spaces outside is a simple way to feel connected to the environment. The use of sheer curtains to diffuse the sun’s harsh rays can also offer a sense calm and relaxation. Large windows, skylights and patio doors are a popular design trend at the moment because they work well in flooding your rooms with natural light.
4. Water Features:
The soothing sound of water can bring a sense of tranquility to your home and it’s not limited to your outside garden. You could add a tabletop fountain, a small indoor pond, or even a wall-mounted water feature to introduce the element of water into your space. The sound and sight of flowing water can introduce a sense of calm.
Putting Ideas into Practice
5. Introduce Biophilic Design in Every Room
Each room in your home is an opportunity to introduce biophilic elements. For example, in your living room, create a cozy reading nook bathed in natural light, add potted plants and natural fiber textiles. In your bedroom, position your bed to take advantage of views outside, and choose bedding in earthy tones to promote restful sleep.
6. DIY Biophilic Projects:
Adopting some of these principles doesn’t have to be expensive. With a little imagination we can develop our DIY skills and develop some nature inspired projects. For example, why not try to create your own terrarium, repurpose old wooden pallets into wall shelves, or design a botanical-inspired mural using non-toxic paints. These projects will not only contribute to biophilic design but they are also a way to showcase your unique personality.
7. Sourcing Sustainably:
It is important to prioritise sustainability when introducing these elements. Opt for furniture made from reclaimed wood, invest in eco-friendly paint and finishes, and support brands that prioritize ethical sourcing. See my earlier blog posts regarding sustainable materials for further detailed information.
8. A Green Oasis Living Room:
Transform your living room into a nature inspired oasis. Discover how the integration of indoor plants, natural materials, and clever lighting arrangements can turn a small space into a rejuvenating living area. Adding a few natural elements such as those shown in this picture are effective and relatively low cost.
9. Further Details
If your’re interested in finding out more about biophilic design patterns, check out “14 Patterns of Biophilic Design”, a comprehensive guide from Terrapin Bright Green . This resource offers insights into various design elements and how they contribute to the biophilic experience.
Conclusion: A Harmonious Blend of Nature and Design
As we navigate our modern lives, finding ways to reconnect with nature to improve our wellbeing and help improve the health of the planet. Although we may sometimes find it difficult to get outside and enjoy the nature around us, through biophilic design in our homes, we have the opportunity to blend nature and interior design so we can enjoy the benefits that the natural world around us provides. By creating spaces that inspire, uplift, and nurture us, we can transform our homes into sanctuaries that reflect our connection to the world around us.
Will your embrace the elements of biophilic design, from indoor plants to natural materials? Let’s embark on this journey together and bring the beauty of nature into every corner of our homes. Let me know which elements your have introduced into your home or which ones your want to try by commenting below.