By Leigh Smith | November 20, 2020
Research shows a connection to nature can reduce stress, heart rate, and blood pressure and increase positive emotions, productivity, and creativity. In a world where people's homes have become their offices, separating your work and home life can be increasingly difficult. Biophilic design attempts to create restorative spaces within the home, so occupants can feel more at peace even if their kitchen table is now their office desk and classroom.
So, how can you incorporate biophilic design into your home?
You can incorporate elements directly and indirectly. For example, filling your space with plants, opening your windows, and having a beautiful view of nature are all direct examples. Indirect examples include using natural colors and patterns in your décor, choosing furniture made from natural materials, and decorating with images of landscapes and nature.
Flooring is a large part of your home and one area to incorporate biophilic elements in your design. Hardwood flooring, wood-look, stone-look, and marble-look tiles all add a natural look to your floor. Carpet can also be a great choice. Carpet can have many designs, such as florals, wavy patterns, and geometric fractal designs to reduce stress. Fractals are patterns that repeat at a large or small scale and are often found in nature. This is also known as the golden mean or ration, often seen in shells, sunflowers, and flower petals.
When selecting colors for your floors, choose neutral and natural colors. Browns, muted blues and greens, whites and creams are great colors with calming properties. Sherwin Williams 2021 color forecast is primarily based on these grounding colors. You can read more about the forecast here.
Rugs are another great opportunity to bring natural elements into your home. If you are looking for a rug that showcases texture and natural coloring, jute, wool, and sisal rugs are great options. However, rugs can express natural elements even if they aren't made from these organic materials. You can choose rugs with abstracted patterns in earthy colors or rugs with animal prints, leaves, and florals.
Something as simple as the color you choose to paint your walls can significantly impact a space's feel. For example, if you wanted your bedroom to feel clean and cozy, you wouldn't paint it an electric yellow. Something more muted and neutral in color would be a better fit. However, if you are looking to make more of a statement on your walls, wallpaper comes in an endless variety of patterns and prints. You may even choose a natural wallcovering like woven grasscloth.
Furniture can represent the outdoors with wood finishes, rattan or wicker construction, or organic patterns and designs in the upholstery. These finishes can even engage the senses and further enhance the connection to nature. A faux fur fabric can make you feel like you're petting an animal, a raw edge table lets you feel the tree's bark, and a polished stone top table can feel cold and smooth like a tumbled rock. Furniture that is left in its natural shape is popular in biophilic design. Think of fossilized wood side tables and tree stump coffee tables.
Lighting has a significant impact on how we interact with space. Just as daylight changes through the day, the lighting in your home should change as well. Today's innovations make this easy to achieve with smart home technology like kelvin-tunable lightbulbs. When it's time to wind down, a warmer light (2700K) can create that cozy feeling.
A whiter/bluer light can energize you and wake you up (5000K+). Think about how bright and white the light is at noon compared to how warm and gold the light is as the sun sets. This lighting pattern is essential to regulating your circadian rhythm (your sleep and wake cycle). If your home does not have ample natural lighting, kelvin-tunable bulbs can help you mimic the natural light cycle.
Decorating your home allows you to show off your style, personality, and the things that matter most to you. Incorporating art that showcases nature can encourage creativity or peace of mind. Photographs, paintings, prints, sculptures, and knickknacks can all capture nature and adorn your space. The options are truly endless. For areas that lack proper natural views, art that showcases landscapes is vital to bring in nature's calming presence.