7 Ways to Bring Biophilia Into Your Life

7 Ways to Bring Biophilia Into Your Life

Decoration and Design
By Alex Mikayelyan April 30, 2021

Take a look around. Regardless of where you are, you’re likely to find some elements of nature in your immediate area. Whether it’s a wooden table or flooring, potted plants on the windowsill, or the rich, vibrant green of the walls. These are all aspects of biophilic design.

The biophilia hypothesis states that people naturally gravitate towards nature. Whether it’s materials like wood and stone or colors like light greens and blues, we have this innate urge to surround ourselves with natural colors, patterns, textures, and shapes. There’s a very good reason for this too: biophilic design has been observed to reduce stress levels, elevate your mood, as well as improve results at the workplace.

One of the best examples of biophilic architecture is the Changi airport in Singapore, which combines modern structuring with luscious natural elements. You’re most likely working with a much smaller scale than this, but you can also achieve biophilic design in your home or workplace using these 10 tricks.

1. Colors

Certain colors are naturally very calm and soothing. You’ll have a hard time relaxing locked in a room with deep violets and burnt ambers. 

Soothing Colors for Biophilic Interior Design

Soothing Colors for Biophilic Interior Design

Looking at some of the modern interior design trends for homes and workplaces, you’ll see mostly muted, pale colors, that echo the hues and tones of nature. They may not catch your eye or pop out, but that’s the whole point. They’re not supposed to be dazzling or radiant. Biophilic design is all about quieter colors for more relaxed living or working conditions.

Some popular colors in this design are different shades and tints of white, from bright to eggshell. You can also implement soft blues if you have elements of water in your setup. If it’s a rocky or earthy aesthetic you’re after, some simple greys or beige work quite well. There’s green which, of course, conjures the image of natural greenery and plant life.

Consider painting your walls and other surfaces with these colors, but remember to keep them simple. Make sure surfaces feature one, a maximum of two colors each. You may want to hire a professional painter to ensure that the hues and tones aren’t mismatched or inconsistent. 

2. Lighting

Natural Lighting Inseparable from Biophilic Design

Natural Lighting Inseparable from Biophilic Design

Proper lighting is crucial to biophilic design, as with pretty much any other style. For a deeper natural aura to be present in any given space, you need a lot of lighting, preferably also natural. 

Our biggest source of natural lighting is obviously the sun, so if possible, keep as many windows open as possible; refrain from closing the curtains unless you absolutely need to block out the sun. Also, if you have the opportunity, hire professional window installers to make the windows as big as possible. Find thinner window frames, to maximize the amount of sunlight that gets through.

If you do embark on a window installation project, make sure to have skylights. They’re the horizontal windows found on ceilings that provide the room with center space lighting. This is not only a perfect element of biophilic design, but it’s also a great way to conserve energy, make your home more environmentally friendly, and increase the value of your home.

3. Space

Make the Most of Your Space to Implement Biophilia

Make the Most of Your Space to Implement Biophilia

Unless we’re talking about a dense jungle or some narrow passing through a cave, most natural formations are very generous when it comes to space. You’re not going to find a lot of tight places when walking through nature, so keeping an open layout in your biophilic interior design is tantamount to its color and lighting.

It’s highly recommended to make use of as much space as you can without cluttering the room. In the living room, for example, opt for a bigger lounging sofa with extra room instead of a smaller one and separate armchairs on the sides. If you’re considering changing the environment of your workplace, have one large, open table, as opposed to smaller desks with partitions. Also, try not to close off rooms if the walls don’t need to be there. 

Give yourself and the people around you some breathing room. Many modern offices have ditched the claustrophobic cubicles for larger, open spaces as they understand that people need to relax. Apply this same design mentality to your home and you’ll notice how much comfort biophilia can bring out. While not all of them do this for biophilic design, this space is still very important.

4. Water

The relaxing characteristics of water are widely known across the world. In Feng Shui, an ancient Chinese practice of harmonizing the space around yourself, flowing water is one of the most important elements in reaching a peaceful atmosphere.

Ways to Implement Principle of Biophilia In Your Home

Ways to Implement Principle of Biophilia In Your Home

For most people, it may be a bit of a stretch to install a fountain, but if you find the right fountain installation service smaller ones are surprisingly accessible these days. Even a small water fountain that you can put on your home office desk or in the living room would be a pleasant addition. If you have the resources and the space to install a bigger one, definitely go for it.

Bigger fountains or water features like ponds, streams, and humble waterfalls take a bit more planning, though. Their placement is a lot more permanent and much harder to change in the future. Look around your room or office and try to find a central location that could house the piping or wiring required for the water feature to work — preferably a solid wall. 

Finding a good spot for the fountain can be tricky. You want everyone in the room to hear the water trickling. It would be even more pleasing to the senses to place it in plain sight so that it’s also visible.

If you can’t find space where it’s visible to everyone, then prioritize putting it near the room where you relax or take some time off, like near the study or rec room.

In case you don’t have access to a fountain or enough room to install one, you can always simply use the sound of water. Many modern libraries, airports, and other public spaces play the sound of flowing water through their speakers, as it helps people relax or focus.

5. Plants

How Plants Can Change Your Life

How Plants Can Change Your Life

Even if you don’t have much interest in growing plants, having a few around can really give your space a more natural atmosphere. Plants are very forgiving of space, most of them don’t require much maintenance, and unless you’ve got a pot of Juliet Roses ($5000 per stem), they’re generally very cheap to grow.

You can find tons of plant stores that sell seeds or stems of your choice. What you grow them in is also up to your imagination and can echo the existing style of the room. You can use traditional clay pots, hanging pots from the ceiling, grow them on a living wall, or if you wish to reduce your carbon footprint, reuse some (redesigned) plastic bottles. The only maintenance most of them require is watering once every two days and the very occasional trimming if they get too long and unkempt. 

If you have a bigger garden, like the previously mentioned living wall, you could even bring in an indoor landscaper every now and then to fix up and maintain the more sensitive and specialized indoor plants.

6. Terrariums

Create Miniature Jungles In Your Living Room with Terrariums

Create Miniature Jungles In Your Living Room with Terrariums

Having a little pocket of nature close by is a great way to take a break from the stress of everyday life and terrariums are a beautiful way to do it. A terrarium is a slightly more complex project, but you’ll have tons of fun making them and watching them grow.

First, you’ll need an air-tight containment unit to house them in. They also need a solid foundation, like a few layers of stone, and certain kinds of soil depending on the species of plants you’re growing inside. For example, a succulent terrarium will require different ingredients from a moss terrarium. They can also be stored in a large variety of containers, like a glass terrarium, hanging terrarium, mini terrarium, and so on.

You can make a few really large ones for your home or office if you have space for it. Try to get your hands on some exotic seeds too and grow a little jungle in your own home that requires no watering or maintenance. A closed terrarium has its own naturally cycling water supply as long as the air inside has no means of getting out. If you use a proper containment unit, your terrarium plants will stay green and healthy for a very long time.

7. Adapting to Your Surroundings

Patios, decks, and gardens are the perfect opportunity to incorporate natural formations into architecture and create a more biophilic home design. Don’t separate the two; find ways for both to work together. Ask your landscape designers and contractors to work around and with the natural shapes around you. 

Hardscaping Around Nature Instead of On Top of It

Hardscaping Around Nature Instead of On Top of It

For example, if there’s a large tree stump in your backyard that’s blocking the area you wish to have a patio on, then just pave around it and turn it into a makeshift table. If there’s a large boulder that’s hard to move, just make it an exotic part of your landscape. You can chisel it out and turn it into a little shelf for your outdoor decor. Putting up furniture on the patio or deck? Make them from reclaimed wood. These ideas can work really well with your exterior design and lighting layout to create some gorgeous outdoor living spaces.

There are endless ways to create a more biophilic environment in and around your home, and often they can serve as more cost-effective solutions for your decor and design needs. It’s just a matter of how much effort you’re willing to put into implementing biophilic design in your life.


Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan