Home Decor & Design

What Is Biophilic Design for the Home?

March 18, 2019

While biophilic design has made a splash in commercial design settings, renters and homeowners can embrace these principles in their own homes, too. If you’re looking to embrace your green thumb, create a healthier home environment and rejuvenate your living space, then this might just be a design approach to embrace.

Just think about the strengths of natural beauty in the home. Houseplants are attractive to homeowners for their visual appeal and purifying properties. A vibrant bromeliad in the right place can bring beauty and color to an otherwise bland, lifeless room. Biophilic design is an extension of this, embracing the power of nature in a wide variety of ways, beyond potted plants.


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What Is Biophilic Design?

In simple terms, biophilic design an amalgamation of elements that come together to harmonize within a living space, affecting the color palette, choice of decor and even the building materials themselves.

In other words, biophilic design creates buildings and interiors that connect the occupants with nature. Many people have an innate desire to live in closer proximity to plants and other forms of life, and biophilic design facilitates that relationship and acknowledges its value and importance.

With this in mind, what value does biophilia have within your living space? What are the benefits of biophilia, and what shape does it take? Here’s everything you need to know about the fascinating subject of biophilic design and how to incorporate it into your home.

The Benefits of Biophilic Design in Your Home

You’re likely familiar with the well-documented health benefits of indoor greenery. Research has shown that houseplants can remove as much as 87 percent of airborne toxins in as little as 24 hours. They also improve concentration and productivity by up to 15 percent, reduce stress levels and boost your mood.

Beyond the benefits of houseplants, light also plays an important role in biophilic design. A lighting system that changes throughout the day to mimic the resident’s circadian rhythm helps them keep on track with their 24-hour cycle. Taking advantage of natural light is key to connecting with the environment.

Sometimes, biophilic design is as simple as opening a window. While you might want to maintain the interior temperature of your home, variability in temperature and airflow can improve your performance while completing tasks. It stimulates your senses and enhances your focus, allowing for greater concentration.

Houseplants, natural light and stronger airflow are all appealing, but you don’t have to make serious changes to enjoy the advantages of biophilia. Elements that imitate nature have benefits as well, and when you can’t retrofit an existing space, natural paintings and biomorphic patterns are viable alternatives.

The Basics of Biophilic Design for Homes

If you’re interested in the benefits of biophilic design, you don’t have to invest in large-scale renovations to see and feel a difference. A total remodel isn’t necessary. It’s easy — and often inexpensive — to bring the beauty of nature into your home, as long as you understand some of the basic principles of biophilia.

1. Let in Some Air

As mentioned earlier, you can start with something simple, like opening a window in your kitchen or bedroom. Of course, it depends on the season and weather, but if it’s a warm day with clear skies in the forecast, the flow of air through your home will feel pleasant and refreshing.

2. Decorate With Houseplants

Next, visit your local greenhouse. You have no shortage of options when purchasing houseplants, and many of them are low-maintenance. If you’re searching for something that doesn’t require constant care, a spider plant is usually your best choice. Otherwise, succulents can add a splash of color to your windowsills or act as an attractive centerpiece.

3. Mimic Natural Looks

When you’re selecting decor, avoid the clean lines and right angles associated with more modern design approaches. Nature has a diversity of shapes and forms, and you should embrace items you normally wouldn’t consider. Whether you decide on an oval coffee table, curvy armchair, or patterned wallpaper with botanical motifs, try something new.

4. Choose Natural Materials

For a natural home, look for ways to include more natural materials in your home decor. For example, you’ll find that clay pots can complement many different design styles. These small additions — like candles or a vase with pebbles — change the look and feel of your living space by introducing natural elements. Whether it’s a flickering flame or an assortment of stones, you’re bringing nature into your home.

5. Bring in Natural Light

You might feel like you don’t have a ton of control over the amount of natural light that floods into your home. But there are a few ways to enhance the light you have to create a sunny, natural living space. First, make sure you settle on an interior color palette that reflects light. Painting with white or light colors helps rooms look brighter, and you can always let decorations create pops of color instead. You can also hang mirrors strategically to help natural light bounce throughout a room.

If you’re up for a bigger project, consider replacing your windows with larger ones or switching from solid doors to glass. Ambitious homeowners may even remove walls that block off rooms and prevent natural light from properly flowing throughout your home.

Embracing Green Design

Architect and author Amanda Sturgeon placed the concept of biophilic design in concise language when she said, “Biophilia means a love of life.” If you feel like your living space is lacking that love, you should consider some of these suggestions for incorporating biophilic design. It’s only a small commitment, but it makes a huge difference.

There are numerous ways to bring a little green design into your space. The next time you find yourself out shopping, consider stopping by your local greenhouse. Browse its inventory of houseplants and look for something to add to your home. Find ways to enhance the natural light in your living space. Invest in furniture and decor pieces that emulate a natural aesthetic.

When you keep basic biophilic principles in mind, you’ll see and feel an immediate difference in your home. The next time someone asks, “What is biophilic design?” you’ll be able to show them how natural light, greenery and home decor have helped you craft a calming, healthy environment.

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