Throughout human history, humans have evolved alongside natural spaces. Only until very recently in the evolution of the human species have people spent most of their time in man-made spaces. With all that time spent in dark and rigid office buildings, schools, and apartments, some humans have opted to infuse their space with elements of the natural world to feel more attuned to the vibrant life of nature. Over time, this concept of designing spaces became known as biophilic design.
What is biophilic design?
When looking to understand what biophilic design is, an excellent place to start is understanding what the word itself means. Biophilic is in reference to the word “biophilia,” which more or less translates to a love of living things. When used in the context of biophilic design, the biophilia definition encompasses the human affinity for having natural and living things surrounding them. The intention and goals of biophilic design are to incorporate aspects of the natural world throughout your living environment. There are varying viewpoints on what is considered biophilic design and what is not. However, one of the easiest ways to explain biophilic design is that it is a design that uses natural elements such as:
A simulation of natural elements
These elements work to attune people to an inherently familiar environment reminiscent of being outdoors.
How to incorporate biophilic design into your home
Before purchasing flats of houseplants to fill your space or undergo construction on indoor water elements, it’s important to note that biophilic design is a tad more conscientious and tactful than simply bringing the outside world inside. Biophilic design utilizes nature elements throughout a space that is reminiscent of the natural world. Think of a few pops of established plants growing naturally throughout your home rather than one room filled with plants to look like a rainforest. You may be wondering how to incorporate biophilic design in your own space, and if so, follow along below for some great examples of biophilic design on a smaller scale.
1. Make use of natural and artificial light
Enhance the natural light in your space with skylights, oversized windows, or anything that brings in natural light. Assess the lighting in your house and pay attention to where the light is present at different parts of the day.
Natural LightA great way to incorporate biophilic design using natural light is to design for living around the light at certain times of the day. If you want to bask in some warm afternoon sun, consider placing your sofa and other chairs in places where natural afternoon light hits your living space.
Artificial LightAdditionally, if there is not much natural light available, incorporating artificial light with a natural filter is a great way to mimic this effect. Utilizing mirrors to reflect natural and artificial light is another great way to invite more light into your life.
2. Use elements of houseplants and flowers
As noted above, stacking houseplants to the ceiling all over your home isn’t exactly what is recommended here. However, inviting green places into our home is a great way to utilize biophilic design. Mimicking patterns in nature is a great rule of thumb when determining how to place houseplants or flowers into your space. A handful of houseplants with proper care and environment will grow and thrive naturally. The peppering of houseplants or flowers throughout your space will evoke a sense of biophilic design in your home.
3. Incorporate textures into your space
Opting for printed or textured elements in your space can create a natural feel in your living environment. Textures are always present throughout the natural world. Mixing natural textures and cool patterns throughout your space will give your abode a comfortable and natural feel such as:
Organic and textured art hanging on your wall
Unglazed ceramic statue or vase to hold your flowers
4. Opt for earth tones and organic materialsWhen you’re looking to imbue your design space with the allure of biophilic design, utilizing organic materials and fabrics or upholsteries in earth tones will bring a natural, modern, and cozy feel to your home. The more organic in shape, the better. Here are some ideas to try:
- Chic stone placemats on the dinner table
- Solid wood bookshelf
- Replace the bathmat in front of your shower with a solid wood slab; Not only does this mean you wouldn’t have to throw your bath mat into the laundry, but the wood will also naturally soak up the moisture and evaporate
5. Invite organic warmth and comfortPlaying with fire in your home certainly does not sound like a good idea. However, introducing elements of fire in your home will bring out the natural, almost instinctual feeling of the natural world.
FireplaceOf course, if you have a fireplace, you have an effortless way to incorporate the warmth and comfort that fire can bring. However, if you aren’t lucky enough to have a built-in fireplace, well-placed candles around the house or living space evoke the same feeling.
CandlesLighting a candle for game or movie night will give your living space a natural glow and movement. Additionally, incorporating candlelight into your home also accomplishes the method of introducing natural and artificial light throughout your home in biophilic design.
While most human beings in the modern world will not opt to live outdoors amongst nature and instead cling to the well-built man-made dwellings, it is nice to know that you can still bring elements of the natural world into your home.
Using biophilic design, whether on a minuscule or grand scale, can make you feel more connected and secure in your living space. It’s safe to say that biophilic design isn’t going anywhere any time soon and will even gain popularity in the coming years, becoming a staple in the way that people design their living spaces.
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