The restorative effects of Biophilic Design; Five steps to increase your wellbeing at home.
1. SEE NATURE
Biophilic design can be incorporated into any home; whether it's a new build or you're looking to retro-fit your existing home. Aesthetically speaking, plants enhance spaces, softening them while counterbalancing the increased use of technology within them. Plants actively reduce air pollution, whilst also decreasing our stress and improving our creativity and productivity, generating an overall sense of increased wellbeing.
Even if you don't have the luxury of having the forest at your doorstep, you can create your own connection to the outdoors by ensuring clear sight-lines to gardens outside, views of nature in the distance, or even create your own indoor jungle with house plants. Not only that, but being able to see images of nature (e.g. photographs and artworks) inside can have a beneficial impact on our health and wellbeing. You can also incorporate shapes, patterns, colours, forms and finishes found in nature into your home (e.g. in your furniture choices, paint colour choices and materials etc).
02 SMELL NATURE
The ritual of burning incense, aromatic plant oils, smudge sticks or even candles is one that many of us hold dear. Connecting to nature using our olfactory sense can conjure up treasured memories and evoke a sense of grounding to our environment. The ceremony of burning plants can also be cleansing for the mind, body and spirit (and home) and is recognised as a beneficial wellbeing practice across many differing cultures. Scents like lemongrass, lemon myrtle, rose or jasmine and even Palo Santo incense can be beautiful.
03 TOUCH NATURE
Using natural materials throughout a home further creates a sense of connection to nature. Texture, variety and and depth of selections that replicate those found outside are all effective. Consider incorporating timber floorboards and furniture, rattan detailing, stone bench-tops, linen curtains and bedding, cotton and bamboo clothing, even animal furs for added texture and warmth. The key is to create comfort and coyness through the layered use of plant-based fibres and natural materials - the list of ways really is endless.
04 HEAR NATURE
Surround yourself with nature by listening to the sounds that cocoon your home. This might be birds chirping or animals digging about in the garden, buzzing bees by an open window, a curtain blowing gently in the breeze or leaves rustling in the treetops. If you're lucky enough to have a real water feature nearby, the sound of running water can also be immensely calming to the nervous system; you can use small desktop ones or create landscaped versions outside. If you don't have access to a garden, you can also listen to digital pre-recorded natural soundscapes like the gentle lull of crashing waves, rain falling on a stormy night or animal sounds like the bird calls of a forest - a popular choice for good reason.
05 TASTE NATURE
There's a growing movement towards eating a plant-based diet these days, the benefits of which are well documented. Plants offer us a plethora of beneficial vitamins and minerals and it really is second nature for us to rely upon them so regularly in our daily practices when it comes to cooking and eating. When the luxury of growing vegetables outdoors isn't possible, anyone can strive to have an indoor herb garden at the very least. As well as making the kitchen smell lovely, not only are herbs great for cooking with but you can even make your own smudge sticks from their dried leaves. Tea rituals are also a wonderful practice that inspires a grounded connection to nature.
Biophilia is humankind’s innate connection with nature. It helps explain why crashing waves captivate us and why we're drawn to spend time outdoors and feel restored after doing so. By designing homes and spaces with it in mind we're improving human health and our overall wellbeing as a global collective.