Biophilia in Design: Bringing Nature into the Home

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Biophilia in design. Living room and  featuring a grey chair and footstool surrounded by plants.

Vox Ribbon Tall Bookcase from Cuckooland (affiliate)

I’ve been writing a lot recently about biophilia in design even if I haven’t specifically referred to it by name. I wrote an article about biophilic design for Designer magazine here. I’ve blogged about natural materials and bringing nature into your home. I’ve also written about earthy colour palettes. And today I’m going to write about all of this some more. Why? Because it’s important. And in the current situation, where we may be forced to spend a lot more time at home, an increased focus on biophilia in design is exactly what we all need.

 Bringing Natural Elements into the Home. Living room and  featuring a brown leather sofa with botanical cushions. A botanical wall hanging is on the wall behind and views through the window.

Gigi 2 Seater Sofa Miami Caramel by Sofology

What is Biophilia in Design?

Biophilia in design is basically bringing our innate love of nature into our designs. Bringing natural elements into the home is good for our well-being and mental health because we have an innate biological need to feel connected. And the way we get that connection is through our senses.

So bringing natural elements into the home in the form of tactile textures, lots of natural light and increased airflow, natural colour palettes, the smells and sounds of nature, and beautiful views can really help us to feel happier and healthier as well as feel less stressed. Hands up if you want to feel all those things. Yup, me too!

Biophilia in design. Living room and  featuring a grey sofa with a kitchen dining space behind. The room is full of plants.

Cassie L Shaped Sofa by Furniture Choice

How Do You Integrate Biophilia in Interior Design?

The easiest way of incorporating biophilia in design and bringing natural elements into the home is obviously to ensure there is plenty of natural light and simply fill the space with plants. This has an immediate effect visually, but also on how we feel being surrounded by all that greenery. Just take a look at that bathroom below and tell me that doesn’t make you feel great. Imagine it without all those plants and it’s a completely different space with an entirely different feel.

Biophilia in design. A bathroom packed full of plants

Create a feeling of wellbeing in the bathroom by adding plants. Image by Dobbies

Left: Wiltshire Dark Wood Dining Table by Furniture Choice | Right: Costello Sofa in Olive by (affiliate)

Add deep pile rugs to the floor in natural materials like wool, jute, seagrass and sisal. Or go all out and opt for something like the Täppa rug that was designed by Ilse Crawford for Kasthall. It is a soft and tactile hand-tufted rug made from wool and linen. The way it has been made with the wool yarns creating blocks of colour, it almost looks like freshly sown grass.

Biophilia in design. A rug that looks like fresh grass

Täppa Rug by Ilse Crawford for Kasthall

Add Nature-Inspired Finishes

And I am so happy to see that companies like Focus SB are now stepping up to the mark and bringing natural elements into the home with their unique new finishes for premium metal switches and sockets. (You may remember the Kelly Hoppen collection for Focus SB that I featured earlier this year). I like that this new Nature Inspired range is so unexpected. It’s nothing unusual to see botanical prints on wallpaper or natural materials used for furniture, but finishes on light switches is definitely a new one on me.

The Nature Inspired finishes have also been selected by Lutron, another leading player in the lighting control industry, for its Palladiom scene setting controls. By adding the Nature Inspired finish to these products it allows more people to bring nature indoors in an unexpected way. It’s also a great way of enhancing home technology which is traditionally very sleek and smooth and devoid of texture. In a way, it brings it to life.   

The distinctive new ‘Nature Inspired’ collection includes six on-trend finishes that mimic natural textures and patterns. Working in collaboration with Anka Metal Coatings, who specialise in liquid metal technology, Focus SB has launched these new finishes as a response to the growing demand for unique aesthetics and biophilic design.

Incorporate Natural Textures in Interiors

I think biophilia in design and incorporating natural textures into our living spaces is going to grow hugely in popularity. Since the global pandemic took hold, we’ve been refraining from touching anything for fear of getting sick, but this has only heightened our need for physical touch. Haptic experiences are so important for us as humans to be able to understand the world around us.

So when we get back to the safety of our own homes I think we are going to want to feel more, to use all our senses and to reconnect with what makes us human. So products like these light switches offer us another opportunity to feel that connection to the natural world and to use our sense of touch.

Biophilia in design. A wooden chest of drawers with a large fern leaf etched into the surface

Fern Chest of Drawers by Atkin & Thyme

Wood is an obvious choice for bringing natural elements into the home, but there are so many more opportunities to use wood in a way that increases its value in terms of biophilic design. The beautiful fern that has been carved into this chest of drawers gives it an added dimension of tactility along with new levels of visual interest.

Brave Ground is Dulux’s Colour of the Year 2021 (affiliate)

Use Colours Inspired by Nature

Colour is also really important when it comes to biophilia in design and bringing natural, earthy tones into the home is a large part of it. In September Dulux announced its Colour of the Year for 2021 as Brave Ground, a bolstering, balancing shade that connects us back to the earth. It is a warm, natural neutral that will enable people to draw upon the strength of nature to help them find the courage to embrace the future. I think you will all agree that this is very much needed right now.

Colour swatches from the Trust colour palette of neutral colours from Dulux

Combining Brave Ground with warm neutral colours from the Trust palette

Trust is one of the four colour palettes that Dulux has presented to bring Brave Ground to life. Warm neutral greys and browns, these colours complement each other and encourage connection, collaboration and a sense of harmony in the home.

“We continue to live through uncertain times. In 2021, the warm and grounding tones of Brave Ground™ will allow us to find certainty in the strength from the very ground beneath our feet, emboldening us to go forward and begin to live again and giving us the flex to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances we face.”

Creative Director, Dulux UK, Marianne Shillingford.
Bringing Natural Elements into the Home. Living room and  featuring a wooden sideboard and plants behind a seagrass rug

Layla Planter With Gold Stand from Ella James

I am actually really excited by the potential for biophilia in design to really transform not only our homes, but also our offices, hospitals, hospitality venues, and public spaces. The power of nature to help us really reconnect with what makes us human cannot be underestimated.

Biophilia in design shown in a kitchen that is full of plants and botanical wallpaper

Maria at The Interior Editor made over her kitchen with the principles of biophilic design in mind.

Are you feeling this urge to reconnect with nature? Are you on board with biophilia in design yet? Let me know in the comments below.

Bringing Natural Elements into the Home. Biophilia in design

Further Reading

If you enjoyed reading this post and would like to read more about biophilic design, you may be interested to read these posts…

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