What is Biophilic Interior Design and Why You Need a Biophilic Home!

biophilic design Apr 22, 2022
Biophilic Interior Design. The Design Trend of the Future. What is biophilic design? How to bring biophilic design into your home like a biophilic architect

What is Biophilic Interior Design Aesthetic? 


When I was a young girl, I used to love going over to my Aunt's house. She had this AMAZING terrarium with a HUGE plant growing inside of it. I was always mesmerized by it. Somehow being close to the beautiful terrarium, I always felt calmer, at peace and curious. Have you felt the same around plants?


Since the pandemic, houseplants sales have skyrocketed.  No wonder why… with most of us staying indoors over 90% of the time, our souls are CRAVING a connection to Mother Nature. 


And for good reason. It is proven that integrating a biophilic interior design that incorporates plants and other forms of nature into our homes and offices has been shown to reduce stress, blood pressure levels all the while increasing productivity, creativity and self reported rates of wellbeing. 


As an Intentional Living Expert, much of my content is focused on the inner work. And how we can live a more intentional life aligned with our core values and what really matters to us.

However, over the past 2 years, I have found myself struggling at times to maintain that intentionality everyday. With a thriving 3 year old, and a new baby, I have had to really relearn and re-adjust how I stay intentional each day. 


On top of my daily micro routinesI realized that although I am doing the work on the inside my outer environment was not conducive of supporting my emotional wellness. 


This is when I discovered biophilia and biophilic interior design.


Biophilic interior design is a concept used within the biophilic architecture and building industry to increase people’s  connectivity to the natural world through the use of nature, space, and biophilic architecture designs that mimic the natural world. Biophilic design is often focused on architecture and how buildings are created to encompass more nature-friendly work spaces for mental health, creativity and productivity. 

 Biophilic comes from the word 'biophilia' which means "to be drawn toward nature, to feel an affinity for it, a love, a craving"; an innate love for the natural world. 

In the 1980’s, American psychologist Edward. O. Wilson popularized the term Biophilic Design,  after he observed  how increasing rates of urbanization were leading to a disconnection with the natural world. 


Biophilic design essentially incorporates elements of design that tie us to nature, to create an environment that enhances our overall mental and emotional wellbeing at home\.


Biophilic interior design is more than just a bunch of plants; it’s all the ways that we can integrate nature in design and the built environment—whether through natural light, fresh air, natural materials, or the use of organic shapes that mimic nature’s own design.   


I was instantly drawn to the concept as I absolutely love nature and believe in raising eco-conscious kids who value our natural environment. 


However, during my research, I noticed that most of the information out there pertained to professional biophilic architects and interior designers….and was not easily understandable for the everyday person, who may not have a designer background (or budget!).  A Lot of the information also spoke to new building concepts, and how large corporations can infuse a biophilic design into their workplace. I had a difficult time finding practical applications for how we can design a biophilic home, a biophilic home office or a biophilic bedroom. 


And let’s be honest, we all can’t start from scratch and build new homes that integrate biophilic architecture, nor are many of us biophilic architects. So it got me thinking, how the heck can we incorporate this beautiful biophilic interior design into our everyday lives - in easy to understand terminology and budget friendly ways. 


This is when I began to embrace a Biophilic Aesthetic. 



Biophilic Design Aesthetic It is encompassing a nature based lifestyle along with a biophilic decor infused throughout your home. 


Biophilic Aesthetic combines biophilic design + biophilic architectural concepts into a sustainable lifestyle that is intentional about the use, appreciation and conservation of nature. 


Terrapin Bright Green, a sustainability consulting firm and leader in the Biophilic Design Movement for sustainable workplaces, show through multiple studies that “Biophilic design can reduce stress, enhance creativity and clarity of thought, improve our well-being and expedite healing”


If all of these studies are showing the impact on healthy workspaces - then how come we are not bringing this holistic lifestyle approach into our everyday lives? And how the heck do we even do it? 


First, as a foundation, it is good to have an understanding of the 6 design principles of Biophilic Design.



Based on the  6 design principles from renowned biophilic architectures and biophilic design classification by Dr. Stephen R. Keller, he explains that biophilic design encompasses the following: 


1. Environmental Features:

One of the most important features of biophilic design is fostering a human-nature connection. One of the easiest ways for you to do this is to incorporate plants and varying types of vegetation into your biophilic home decor. The presence of plants can reduce stress, enhance mood, prompt healing and provide comfort. 


2. Natural shapes and forms:

The natural environment so often mimics the human experience. Take for example the biophilic pattern of a single leaf, which look like the lines on our hands, tree roots that look like our veins, or fingerprints that look like the rings on a tree. 

Incorporating these biophilic patterns into your biophilic interior decor through biophilic wall art like photographs, art prints and furnishings is one way to infuse biophilic design into your bedroom, home office or living room. 


3. Restorative patterns and processes: 

Infusing our senses into biophilic decor of the home infuses a calmness into our everyday lives. Thinking about sight, sound, smell, touch, taste and movement that will bring an added benefit of biophilic design into your home. Think about the smells you want in your home, the music you play in the background and the textures you have in your decor. 


4. Light and space:

Bringing in natural light from outside is soo beneficial to our wellness - (and all of our houseplants!). Ensuring that there is a lot of natural light in your home and using space in a way that creates calmness - think about decluttering, buying storage units to hide kids toys, and creating a more open space - will  provide light and space into your home, resulting in more calmness in your home.  Another tip is adding biophilic lighting design into your home. Check out some amazing ideas here for a biophilic lighting idea! 


5. Place-based relationships:

This element focuses on humans connections to the natural world and prominent biogeographical features of nature - such as oceans, rivers, mountains, desserts, and plants. Incorporating photographs of nature, wall murals or artwork that mimics ecology and places that bring us peace, allows us to foster our connection to the natural world and evoke a sense of hope and healing. 


6. Evolved human-nature relationships:

In addition to sprinkling a biophilic design aesthetic to your home, you can also choose to have a prominent area in your home that is a ‘retreat’ of sorts or an emotional escape room which provides a safe place for all of your feelings, Providing a safe space in your home to decompress, vibe and relax. Spaces  infused with nature are so important for restoration and relaxation (Browning et al..2014). Think crystal room, home massage room,  nature themed room or tiny library room where you can escape into another world while not leaving your home. 


Biophilic interior design is a rabbit hole of magic.


In this article, I have touched on the surface of it with the purpose of this article being to help others  like me (aka - not an educated interior designers) to bring a biophilic interior design and biophilic aesthetic into our homes, because, let’s be honest, we are not all sculptural architects and interior designers. And if you are like me, you are sitting on your couch looking at the many toys spewed around the room, the ebb and flow of calm and chaos that parenthood bring, and wondering HOW?


How do I bring biophilic design and biophilic aesthetic into my life? What are some examples of biophilic design?


Well keep on reading, because, in addition to the ideas listed above in the 6 design principles of biophilic decor, I wanted to provide you with some easy, implementable steps, you can learn how to bring a calming, biophilic design into your home without breaking the bank and re-building your home. 

How can I make my Home Biophilic? 

5 Practical and Easy Biophilic Design + Decor examples to Create a Biophilic Home


TIP #1: Start with one room first. 

Whether you want a biophilic office design, a biophilic kitchen, a biophilic bedroom or heck even a biophilic bathroom - then be intentional about what you want in your home. Start a Pinterest board with bedroom photos that inspire you and pick out small items you can buy/DIY now. 

Tip #2: Declutter!

You don’t have to go 100% Marie Kondo, however embracing a minimalist-ish lifestyle is a GAMECHANGER!!! Biophilic interior design is about using space wisely, the more you can declutter and get rid of stuff you don’t need the happier you will be. If an item does not bring you joy and you do have not used it in over a year - donate it.  Make your home an oasis with items that light you up, versus weighing you down. 

Tip #3: Invest in Practical Storage Solutions

There is no getting around it, especially if you are parents, that you will have 'stuff' that is being used in your home. One way to implement a biophilic design with all this 'stuff' is to invest in SMART organization solutions. I live in a fairly small house with 2 young children. Our home design is a very open concept, so there are not a lot of places to ‘hide’ toys. So we invested in Smart storage solutions. You can either buy these new, or go on places like Facebook Marketplace to see if you can snatch up a deal.  
Follow along on me with Pinterest for some amazing DIY hacks for small space storage solutions!


Tip #4: Bring plants into your home 

House plants are huge right now. And for good reason. Do you know that exposure to the color green before conducting a task “facilitates creativity performance" (Lichtenfeld et al., 2012) and that "humans are also able to distinguish more variations in the color green than of any other color" (Painter, 2014).  Added bonus of having real plants, is you can connect with other plant loving parents and swap clippings. This was common practice when I grew up where my mom would always be swapping plant clippings with her friends. We have lost this connection…and it is time to bring it back!

Don’t have a green thumb? No worries. There are plenty of ways to incorporate nature into your life. Artificial plants, Art prints and biophilic patterns of nature (things like adding seashells, geometric forms, stones, etc into your decor. 


Tip #5: Let the light in! 

Natural light is soooo good for our souls. Open the windows, air out your home on nice days and keep your curtains open when you can! This is one of the simplest ways to start infusing a more biophilic interior decor aesthetic into your home today! 

Intentional living is a lifestyle choice and it aligns so much with the biophilic interior design aesthetic. As mental health continues to be a HUGE factor in our world, taking simple, easy everyday steps to surround ourselves with the healing forces of nature is one little step we can infuse into ours and our children’s lives. 

Need more ideas? Follow along with me on my social channels!  Want more biophilic decor examples? Check out the links below


How to Create a Biophilic Home - 11 Sustainable Design Ideas for your Home

Biophilic Lighting Ideas for your Biophilic Home Décor

Top 11 Plant Decor Propagation Stations for Under $40


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