Changes in society often have a big influence on the world of interior design. For instance, in the post-war era, there was a need for smaller furnishings that were easy to move and, thus, mid-century modern design was born. More recently, minimalist interior design rose to popularity as a response to excessive consumerism. Faced with the ever-rising influence of technology in our lives, we then started spending a lot of our time indoors, only to end up under quarantine because of the current pandemic.
The loss of our natural environment and its inherent healing powers is changing how we live our lives. As a result, biophilic design is set to be the next big home trend. Here are five ways to incorporate this healthy new design style in your own home.
What is Biophilic Design?
As urban sprawl continues to reduce the amount of accessible green space, and as people spend more time inside their home, they are suffering a disconnect with the natural environment. The result is an overall decline in people’s physical and mental health and wellness. Biophilic design aims to repair that connection by increasing the amount of nature in our everyday lives.
It’s about bringing natural elements indoors and making sustainable choices that limit our impact on the planet. By increasing our interaction with plants, water features and natural light, we can improve our overall health and well-being. And, by choosing products made from natural materials, we can also reduce the amount of toxins in our home.
1. Add Plants
Plants are the foundation of biophilic design; they act as natural air filters, creating a cleaner environment that leads to better overall health and alertness. Whether it’s a plant room, a living wall or an indoor garden, increasing the number of plants in your home can improve air quality and increase energy levels.
2. Increase Natural Light
It’s a proven fact that sunlight makes us both happier and healthier. It’s also proven that depression increases during winter months that are short on daylight. So, it only makes sense that increasing the amount of natural light we’re exposed to will improve our mood and our health.
So, look for ways to bring the sun to you. Start by removing window treatments to let in as much natural light as possible. If you need some form of window covering for privacy, opt for sheers that allow light to filter through. You can also remove interior doors or replace them with glass panel doors to let light flow through to the interior of the house. If you’re not getting enough natural light from your windows, add lamps with daylight-equivalent bulbs to create the illusion of natural light.
3. Use Natural Materials
A connection with nature doesn’t just come from exposure to the outdoors; it also stems from the materials we surround ourselves with. Natural materials that can be transformed into useful things without excessive manufacturing also help create a connection with nature.
To design a room that feels at one with nature, choose furnishings and textiles that use materials that come from the earth. In particular, look for items built with solid wood rather than metal or plastic and pair them with materials such as cotton, linen and wool. Additionally, jute or sisal carpets are more affordable than most area rugs and add beautiful texture to a room.
4. Highlight Exterior Views
A good view can help improve your mood and lower stress levels. And, because we are so rarely out in nature, it’s important to capitalize on available views of the outdoors. While you can’t always add a window or create great scenery, there are ways to make the most of the views you do have.
Hang window treatments far enough outside the window frame to ensure the entire window is uncovered when they’re open. To take advantage of a good view, add a window seat that allows you to soak up the sun and immerse yourself in the scenery. If you don’t have a great vista, try adding some plants outside the window to make the view greener.
5. Represent Nature
If great views and plant life just aren’t available, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. While it’s not quite as good as the real thing, representations of nature will offer some of the same benefits.
For example, try some leaf-print wallpaper paired with fake plants to reap the benefits of a plant room. Or, if you long for beautiful views, hang artwork of pristine beaches or lush forests in place of an actual window.
Homes that connect us with nature can improve moods, boost productivity and increase mental and physical well-being. As you plan your next interior update, keep biophilic design in mind for a home that makes you happier and healthier!