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By Emma Hooton

Biophilic Interior Design:
Creating spaces that connect with nature 

How often do you ask for a table by the window? Or book an airplane seat with a view? Humans are naturally attracted to natural elements such as plants, sunlight and organic materials, not least for their role in maintaining our health and wellbeing. Bringing these elements into your home is what’s known as biophilic interior design – a space which not only looks exquisite but one that benefits both you and the world around you.

What is biophilic interior design?

Biophilic interior design is about acknowledging our need to connect to the natural environment and bringing the outdoors inside. It involves creating spaces that improve the home dwellers health and sense of belonging through natural elements such as:

  • Natural Light: Sunlight, for instance, plays a crucial role in regulating our circadian rhythm and sleep-wake pattern

“Our bodies depend on exposure to sunrise and sunsets to help us know when to stay awake and when to sleep. When mimicking the way natural light is cast think in terms of warm, less intense first thing in the morning, becoming slightly cooler and stronger as the day unfolds. In much the same way as the sun lowers in the sky, you want to reduce blue light elements in your home lighting scheme. A warm sunset effect can be achieve using lighting with a colour temperature of 2200k or lower.” James Poore, JPLD

  • Indoor Plants: Integrating living plants into the interior to improve air quality and provide a sense of nature. In the right space this can include verdant indoor trees.

Example of biophilic design - Our Port House Scheme blurs the boundaries between the outdoors and indoors by incorporating a flush threshold, similar flooring materials, structural planting and a large exterior opening.Example of biophilic design – Our Port House Scheme blurs the boundaries between the outdoors and indoors by incorporating a flush threshold, similar flooring materials, structural planting and a large exterior opening.

  • Natural Materials: Using materials like wood, stone, and other organic elements to evoke a connection to the natural world. Other organic materials such as wool can help to remove pollutants and purify the air.
  • Views of Nature: Designing spaces that maximise outdoor views, whether through windows, skylights or other architectural features.

“Creating vistas and views through the house is a great way to bring the outside in and bring extra light into the home. If you’re renovating, this can be a good time to add more glazing such as windows, skylights or perhaps exterior French or sliding doors. A glass extension with minimal framing that connects the indoor and outdoor spaces can also be a way to achieve uninterrupted, year-round enjoyment of your garden. In all cases, the glazing needs to line up with vistas and views and work with the architecture of the house.”

  • Water Features: Incorporating elements such as indoor water fountains or aquariums to evoke the calming and soothing effects of water.
  • Natural Colours: Choosing colour schemes inspired by nature, such as earth tones and greens, to create a calming and harmonious atmosphere. Discover the trending colours for this year in our guide to 2024 interior colour trends.
  • Green walls: Adding living walls or vertical gardens to your interior to add a lush aesthetic, while improving air quality, energy efficiency, and even sound proofing. Plants, including green walls, also have a positive impact on wellbeing and mood, making them suitable for a wide range of domestic and commercial settings.

A biophliic green wall in an indoor space. Two walls full of luscious green plants are separated by pine coloured wooden cladding. In the top right is a large circular white light bulb.

  • Biophilic Patterns: Using nature-inspired designs and patterns in furnishings, fabrics, and decor to help the house ‘communicate’ with its surroundings.

What are the benefits of biophilic design?

Biophilic design promotes well-being, reduces stress, and increases overall satisfaction by fostering a stronger connection to the natural world. Studies show that biophilic design helps to:

  • Improve mental and physical wellbeing
  • Reduce stress levels and promote relaxation
  • Increase productivity by creating a more conducive work or study environment
  • Stimulate creativity and innovation by providing an inspiring and natural setting
  • Improve indoor air quality and overall respiratory health (where plants are involved)

Incorporating natural light and ventilation through biophilic interior design can also contribute to improved energy efficiency, which in turn can increase the value of your home.

George Clarendon of Knight Frank Winchester says: “Buyers are becoming more environmentally conscious and anything that improves a property’s energy efficiency rating (EPC) will probably add value to a home. Try and make home energy improvements with achieving net zero in mind, whether that’s by adding air source heat pumps, solar panels, high performance doors and windows, or more efficient lighting”.

Integrating biophilic design into your home requires careful consideration to get right. Studio Hooton has delivered exquisite interior projects with careful consideration for the world around us with our Planet Hooton ethos. So, to discuss a potential project please contact us to see how we can work together.

Image credits:

Port House:

Green Wall: © Growing Revolution

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