It’s finally time to move into your new home. You are excited as the first batch of moving boxes makes it through the front door. As you step inside, you are greeted with a blank canvas, a bare space with so much room and possibilities for design opportunities. However, if you haven’t already thought of interior design ideas for your home, you may consider taking inspiration from something more in touch with nature, or essentially more biophilic.
What Is Biophilic Design?
Biophilic interior design is perfect if you’re looking to give your space an indoor-outdoor feel. It also helps you incorporate fresh ideas to declutter and revamp your space. Think green, natural lighting, ventilation, wood, and stone – these are common elements that are associated with a biophilic design. Biologist Edward Wilson coined the term “biophilia” in 1984, describing it as an innate desire to be in affinity with different life forms. Simply put, biophilia refers to one’s love for nature.
Biophilic design has influenced a large number of disciplines, including architecture, engineering, and interior design. Contrary to popular belief, there’s more to biophilic interior design than having an abundance of plants inside your home; it also involves being connected to nature.
Sustainable Design Vs. Biophilic Design
When people talk about biophilic spaces, one can’t help but associate them with sustainability. Before we go over the principles of biophilic designs, let us first discuss the difference between the two seemingly overlapping concepts.
Biophilic design argues that humans need to be deeply and fundamentally in touch with nature. This means designing the places where we live, learn, and work in a way that doesn’t dissociate us from our natural environment. Meanwhile, sustainable designs can be associated with quantifiable aspects. For instance, minimizing carbon footprint, reducing the consumption of fossil fuel, and looking for measures for sustainable sources of energy.
In contrast, biophilic design is qualitative. To illustrate this, let’s consider one of the principles of this design, which is the presence of natural light to increase productivity and natural healing (qualitative). If we see this from the perspective of sustainable design, natural light can lessen the use of artificial lighting, which then reduces energy consumption (quantitative).
While sustainable designs are effective in minimizing environmental impacts, it has only done so much in getting us closer to nature. This is where biophilic designs fill in the gap.
The Principles Of Biophilic Design
Biophilic designs are deeply rooted in the principles of human connection with nature. This can be divided into three basic categories: incorporating nature in your space, considering the nature of the space, and nature-inspired elements. These involve environmental features, natural shapes, forms, patterns, processes, light, and space.
It suggests that our natural relationship with nature benefits our overall wellbeing and at the same time helps the environment. The connection that we have with our natural environment compels us to find alternative ways to bring it closer to our lives.
Incorporating Nature In Your Space
This refers to designing a direct presence of nature in your space, which is interactive and multi-sensory. This could involve:
- visual connections – plants, trees, natural lighting
- olfactory sensations – the sound of water flowing
- thermal sensations – ventilation (airflow), humidity, and room temperature
- haptic sensations – the texture of wood, furniture, flooring
Considering The Nature Of The Space
This pertains to taking inspiration in the spatial configurations of your natural environment and integrating that into your space. It aims to replicate the feelings/sensations humans have when we are surrounded by nature.
- feeling of refuge – designing a space that isolates noise and external distractions
- feeling of mystery – achieved through unexpected interior installations, inserting an element of surprise to designs, clever division of open-plan interiors, and interactive appliances/furniture
- feeling of prospect – provides views apart from our immediate surroundings. This is accomplished through the addition of balconies, oversized windows, skylight roofing, and transparent partitions.
- feeling of peril – this involves providing an element of danger and risk in the design such as laminated glass staircases and flooring as well as high walkways
Also known as natural analogs, this is an indirect method of reflecting nature in your space using nature-inspired patterns, shapes, designs, and textures, and integrating it into different elements such as furniture and home decor.
The Benefits of Biophilic Design
There are several studies over the past three decades on the remarkable benefits of incorporating biophilic principles into interior design. As mentioned earlier, it promotes well-being for individuals. In general, biophilic design has a holistic approach to improving spaces whether it’s in offices, hospitality, education, healthcare, retail or homes. Biophilic-designed homes have the following benefits:
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Increases work productivity
- Improves overall health
- Enhances mental and physical restoration
- Promotes positive mood and well-being
Even something as simple as opening a window to let natural light in and improve the ventilation in a space can be regarded as biophilic. Decluttered spaces that are well lit and have an abundant presence of greenery can promote increased levels of oxygen in your home.
A Decluttered Home Is A Biophilic Home
Nature is about harmony and balance, and when you incorporate nature-inspired elements in your home, it calls for an organized, clean, and decluttered space. Even if you live in a cluttered space, you can gradually make your home biophilic by starting to declutter and organize your belongings. Using storage services to segregate your belongings or hold on to things of sentimental value can play a major role in helping you transition into a biophilic mode of living. Taking advantage of storage companies can also help keep your space organized and decluttered.
Once you have decluttered your home, it will be much easier to incorporate biophilic designs into it. You’ll have a clearer perspective of your space and what it needs, to be more in touch with nature. In fact, more than just getting rid of clutter and getting closer to nature, biophilic-designed spaces also tend to vastly improve your quality of life.