“As we spend over 90% of our time indoors, the spaces where we spend most of our time working and “living” make a huge impact on our physical and mental wellbeing. Now that we know what biophilia is, we better understand how implementing biophilic design helps us connect to the natural world improving our health, productivity and wellbeing.
Unless we’re new homeowners or in the middle of a home renovation, we’re a bit limited in terms of changes we can make in our home (ie. can’t change orientation or views) but we do have some margin of movement when it comes to implementing smaller changes that can hugely help us feel closer to the natural world.
The good news is that there isn’t a “biophilic style” per se; embracing natural elements and bringing nature into our home can be done in many different ways that create an overall feeling of connection to nature, in any type of interior space.
Let’s focus on the practical side and learn how to implement the principles of biophilic design into our homes in small, easy changes that make us feel more relaxed, inspired and happy in our own home:
LET THE SUN IN
LIGHT and AIR are fundamental elements of our wellbeing. Open the windows, let AIR circulate and let the sunlight in. When the window orientation is not optimal, we can still maximize the natural light that comes in by
i. Removing anything that blocks the window like furniture or objects, even removing houseplants from windowsills help let the sunlight in. Pull the curtains back fully or add tiebacks to keep them as open as possible.
ii. Consider hanging a light catcher to beautifully capture the light at particular times of the day and create a restorative and dynamic movement that adds a further natural dimension called non-rhythmic sensory stimuli (or NRSS) to the space.
USE THE RIGHT ARTIFICIAL LIGHT
Once you’ve improved your natural light, it’s time to consider the right artificial light that helps us function better from sunset to dawn.
Choose a light that is energy-efficient and has the right color temperature which affects our mood as well as our physiological response by maintaining a good sleep/wake cycle.
Every room should have different lighting options that can be regulated based on how we want to feel and how much light we need for the activity we’re undertaking.
i. Dimmable spotlights are ideal for having a brighter space during some activities and be dimmed during relaxing times. This flexibility increases our subconscious sense of control and of our needs being met.
ii. Strategically placed task lighting such as a table or floor lamp is also a functional solution.
iii. Mood lighting really helps us relax, think salt lamps, cut-out lampshade that projects natural patterns, fairy lights behind a curtain or sofa, and spotlights in the garden.
iv. Cicardian lighting – follow the principle of keeping the indoor lighting as close as possible to the natural outside light. Color-changing LED strips with a remote controller help set different tones of light, try using very warm white or orange LED in the evening or before bedtime.
v. Wake up well – use an alarm clock to wake you gently with color-changing lights in the morning to start the day in optimal form.
BRING IN THE GREENERY
Biophilic design is not just about plants, however houseplants not only clean the air we breathe but have so many positive effects on our well-being such as relieving stress and boosting vitality, productivity and creativity.
i. Introduce greenery at different levels to create an overall welcoming and lush appearance. Position them on tabletops, shelves, in hanging baskets, and on the floor to define zones within a room and soften hard edges and boundaries between spaces.
iii. If space is an issue or for noisy apartment living, consider a green wall. Green walls are great to add greenery while absorbing noises. Living walls are beautiful but also quite costly and high maintenance, a preserved moss wall is a more sustainable choice as it lasts years, needs no maintenance and adds a green focal point while absorbing humidity and cleansing the air (when using reindeer moss). Contact us for a quote.
iv. When it comes to decorating a living space, consider preserved moss art, it literally brings nature indoors as a work of art. The tri-dimensional feature creates textural variety, the ability to touch it and subtly smell it makes it a full-sensory experience like no other.
NATURAL TEXTURES, COLOURS AND MATERIALS
Using earthy color palettes, natural materials and nature-inspired patterns have a deep influence on how we feel. If we use them in the right way, they’ll impact the way we want to feel at different times of the day. They can be calming, relaxing, restorative or stimulating and energizing.
i. Consider the right color palette for each room - soft blues remind us of clear skies and water so they help us relax. Shades of green evoke the energy and calm we feel in the forest. Yellows remind us of the warmth of summer; purples and mauves are more spiritual and meditative colors; oranges and reds are energizing and stimulating.
ii. Creating a material connection with nature is one of the most important aspects of the biophilic design approach. Bringing materials and textures found in nature into our home creates a sense of place and positively impacts our well-being. Try to use a variety of materials indigenous to the place where you live and possibly as minimally processed as possible, without compromising on comfort or utility. Wood flooring, soft woven fabrics on cushions, stones and shells as ornaments … whatever it is it should be recognizable for what it is, not hidden under layers of industrial processes, which often are hugely polluting.
iii. introduce a sensory wall, a unique feature that allows you to touch and feel real natural textures creating a full sensory experience like no other.
KEEP NATURE IN SIGHT
Non-living evocation of nature in objects, wallpaper, furniture and artwork is proven to have a significant effect on our mental health. Scientists have experimented how even just looking at a natural landscape in a picture frame can significantly decrease our stress levels. In this regard, moss art not only is a beautiful and unique statement piece in your room but also affects our health, happiness and overall well-being.