‘It’s the idea that people — since the beginning of time — must feel linked to their natural environment, and the other living things in it, not only to survive but to thrive. It’s a fundamental part of who we are.’
That’s how Sally Coulthard describes it in her book ‘Biophilia: You + Nature + Home’.
What is biophilic design?
It’s an architectural and interior design strategy based on the idea of biophilia. Simply bringing plant life into an indoor office space can boost wellbeing by 47%, creativity by 45% and productivity by 38%. But biophilic design isn’t limited to plants, and the benefits don’t stop there.
In his book ‘Design a Healthy Home’, biophilic design expert Oliver Heath breaks down the three core principles of the approach:
- Nature in the space
Bringing real forms of nature and ways to connect to natural systems into your space.
- Natural analogues Including references to nature, taking inspiration from its forms, shapes, colours, patterns and textures, and even the way technology can copy them.
- Nature of the space Mimicking the spatial qualities of natural environments to enhance or evoke human responses. This could be as simple as creating safe spaces for retreat or configuring your space to allow for longer sight lines.
Benefits of biophilic design
And how to achieve them in a home or office space:
- Helping out our circadian rhythms and happiness Make the most of the day by letting sunlight flood in as much as possible. In the office, turn off florescent lights and let day light in through windows. Living with natural light positively affects our circadian rhythm, productivity, mood, and sleep.
- Reducing our cortisol levels, allowing better recovery from stress The cognitive benefits of being in nature are well known and well studied. You can also add elements of that remind you of nature to your indoor space to get the same benefits. Including improved focus, lower stress, better mood, and reduced risk of psychiatric disorders.
- Improving your wellbeing and effectiveness at work Research into workplace biophilic design shows that it makes us more creative, energised and productive. We’re also less likely to take sick days. In your office or home desk room, get a good view out the window, let in the daylight, and add plant life to naturally make the air more humid.
- Better sleep, temperature regulation, and relaxation Create total darkness in the bedroom while you sleep to aid your body clock with shutters or blackout curtains. Use a quiet fan and a wool duvet to prevent overheating at night, and create a bedtime ritual – like listening to nature sounds and going to bed at the same time each night.
The role of wallpaper
Here at Hovia, natural forms and biophilia inspire a lot of our designs. Leaf, floral and forest wallpapers make up more than half of our top bestsellers, so it’s clear that our customers particularly connect with nature-inspired designs! Wallpapers with calm flowing lines or hand-painted elements are popular, too.
In line with the core principles of biophilic design, we recommend pairing nature-inspired wallpaper with potted plants, raw materials, soft furniture shapes, good lighting and other natural analogues. With a few tweaks and additions to your interior design and decor, it’s easy to create a biophilic space — where you’ll be positively impacted by natural features in your home or office!