From simple potted plants to dedicated rooms for relaxation, biophilic design is gaining traction.
Focusing on fresh air, greenery, and nature-inspired colors, materials and textures, biophilic design brings the outside in while creating a serene interior and connecting people with the environment.
“Little by little, the world of design has caught on to how important it is to incorporate nature into our homes and places of work,” said designer Shoshanna Shapiro of Sho and Co. in Gaithersburg, Maryland. “Biophilic design fuels your senses and evokes positive emotions––it draws you in and captures your attention.”
We asked several design pros to share tips on adding biophilic touches to a home’s interior. Here’s what they suggested.
Use Large-Scale Elements
“Biophilic design will incorporate natural light and natural materials such as wood, stone, plants and grasses. But the big changes we are seeing are how these elements are incorporated and the scale of the elements used. Natural wood slats applied to walls, woven grasses incorporated into furnishings, and raw, natural-looking flooring throughout the home are some examples.
“Even in small spaces, consider large-scale elements such as a screen room divider made with bamboo and caning or an oversized art piece that visually mimics an element of the earth.
“Bringing in furnishings, rugs, and decor that incorporate texture and natural elements will feed the senses. This could be a wool rug with a woven texture, linen-covered seating, or natural wood furniture with soft, curved edges. Mixing materials like glass, metal, stone, grass, wood, and wool all help the sensual feel of the space.”
— Shoshanna Shapiro of Sho and Co. in Gaithersburg, Maryland
Accessorize With Ferns and Succulents
“Greenery is a key element to bring the outside in. We love utilizing real potted plants such as fiddle leaf or ferns. Succulents are easy to maintain and give a very natural ‘zen pop’ to a space. Jade and aeonium arboreum are some of our go-tos. I love planting in a ceramic Buddha head or a large, simple, low white planter with varying succulents and a full white orchid. Adding moss also helps keep the moisture in. We also understand that placement may not work for a thriving plant that needs sunlight, so we love a good fake if necessary. New Growth Designs is a great source for believable artificial plants.
“River rock tile in a bathroom can also create that zen indoor-outdoor spa aesthetic. This tile is a natural white or colored smooth stone sold on a sheet. It can be applied to the wall or even a floor for a massaging effect in a spa shower.
“Perhaps the easiest of all is utilizing ceiling fans as a fun way to create the energy we feel outdoors. I’m a huge fan of the Big Ass Fan company and Tech Lighting. They offer modern profiles that will move the air without looking dated or too technical.”
— Kellie Burke, founder and principal designer of Kellie Burke Interiors in West Hartford, Connecticut
Beyond Plants, Think Green
“Adding green to your accents through new throw pillows, other decor items, or an accent wall is a great way to change up the colors in your home and bring more natural vibes inside. Benjamin Moore’s ‘Hunter Green’ is our favorite for a rich, true green.
“Don’t forget the impact of sound and scent on your home. Adding a scent that reminds you of the ocean or the rain and similar waterscape sounds is a great way to bring more of what you love from nature into your home. We love adding scent through candles, diffusers, and pillow sprays. Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt is one of our favorites to feel like you’re lounging on the beach.”
— Lauren Lerner, founder and principal designer of Living with Lolo in Cave Creek, Arizona
Create Spaces of Refuge
“The tactile experience of natural airflow and pattern can be incredibly soothing and pleasant and may contribute to overall feelings of wellbeing. Light sheers or drapes against exterior doors or openings can create rhythmic movement, bringing attention and mindfulness to natural air patterns, and may enhance the sensory experience.
“Areas of natural refuge offer feelings of safety and separation from the surrounding environment. Creating similar experiences in the home can provide time and space for rest and rejuvenation. Meditation and wellness rooms are ideal for creating a sense of refuge, particularly if they include cozy, protective corners for comfort. When possible, having a designated space with a door can offer a sense of privacy, which may provide feelings of reassurance for relaxation. Including a natural view can offer visual opportunities for mindful reflection and peace.”
— Sarah Barnard, WELL and LEED accredited designer in Los Angeles
By: Tracy Kaler I Masion Global I July 2022