Biophilic Design: The Interior Force of Nature
In this day and age, we can’t help but drift further and further away from nature and our true roots. We run through our days spending the vast majority of our time inside four walls; however, the consequences of this are grave. Our connection to nature is essential and by neglecting it, we will soon find ourselves unsatisfied and burnt out.
Biophilic design was created with this problem in mind.
The Birth Of An Idea
Bringing nature inside your home will help you stay in touch with it and keep your inner balance. The term “biophilia” refers to our love of nature. It was defined as the “inborn affinity of humans for other forms of life” by ecologist E. O. Wilson, who first introduced this notion. It has been constantly on the rise ever since its appearance and is especially popular today, when ecological concerns are getting recognized and acted on by more and more people. Architects and interior designers have recognized the potential this trend carries. Thus they are incorporating it not only in homes but in commercial properties as well. Depending on the scale of your renovation, here are several ideas in the name of biophilic design that you might want to consider.
Embrace large windows
There is no better (and cheaper) lighting than sunlight. Not only does it give a pleasant atmosphere to a space, but it is also proven to boost mood and lead to better productivity – in one word, it makes you happier. For this reason, large windows and even skylights are a must in biophilic design. If your house offers a beautiful view, all the better – huge floor-to-ceiling windows will visually merge the indoors with the outdoors.
Bring the nature inside
One of the key elements of the biophilic mindset is being as close to nature as possible. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you need to live in a tree house. There are several ways in which you can introduce nature into your living space even if your surroundings are an urban landscape. Firstly, bringing in as many plants as you can is a great start. They create a peaceful atmosphere, thanks to their ability to reduce stress. Any space will benefit from a little bit of green – from shopping malls to your bathroom and the kitchen – you just have to find the plants that suit each environment. For example, for the bathroom, you must look for plants that thrive in humid environments such as bamboo and orchids. Even if you’re living in a tiny apartment, you can make a small garden on your balcony with flowers and different types of herbs. On the other hand, commercial spaces will benefit incredibly from a moss wall that people will just adore.
Natural or nature-inspired elements
Another way of bringing nature inside is by introducing natural elements. Those can be anything from small décor pieces such as seashells and pinecones to integral parts of the home such as a hardwood floor or a natural stone or wood finish on your walls. After all, interiors that feature a lot of wooden surfaces are perceived as warm and homey, and even seem to have positive psychological effects, as studies show. When opting for fabrics, always go for organic. For example, a natural rug will certainly add to the overall look of the space.
An alternative to natural elements would be creating looks that evoke nature in the mind. You can achieve that by using natural colors of your choice, for example, turquoise and beige if you are aiming for a sandy beach, or rich browns and dark greens if your choice is a forest. Hanging pictures of natural sceneries is a simple but good idea too – they have a similar effect as plants. They help in lowering stress levels, especially when it comes to recovering from stressful situations.
Green state of mind
Being in harmony with nature does not only mean enjoying its company. In the light of the current state of the planet, eco-consciousness is paramount; we must take care of nature the way it takes care of us. So, when remodeling, try to use local, as well as recycled materials as much as possible. This is especially important in the case of commercial building.
There are also numerous upgrades that you can introduce into your home. For example, the bathroom is one of the central places of the home in biophilic design, since it is where we are most in touch with ourselves and our bodies. Thus, if you’re thinking about a bathroom renovation in the near future, you can incorporate some of your ideas to make the new space clean and sleek while still having nature in mind. Moreover, you can take an energy-efficient route and go for low-flow faucets, a low-flush toilet or even a rainwater collection system. These will significantly reduce the amount of water you use (and waste), so not only Mother Nature, but your wallet will thank you for it too.
To conclude, there are way too many positive psychological effects of biophilic design for us to ignore it. Even if doing a big remodel is out of your budget right now, introducing just a couple of small changes into any kind of space is more than possible and the benefits are numerous. We must not forget that we are part of nature itself and embrace it as much as we can; it will make us more relaxed, more productive and generally happier people.
Ronald Wolf is a digital marketing freelancer, Australian outdoor boy and a strong believer in digital nomading and all of its benefits, but also is aware of the hardships and troubles you might find.