7 Expert Tips on How to Incorporate Biophilic Design into your Home Decor (2024)

7 Expert Tips on How to Incorporate Biophilic Design into your Home Decor (1)

Are you craving elements of nature in your home? Well, you are not alone. As humans, it is actually in our DNA to require a consistent connection to nature.

As you look for ways to incorporate natural elements into your home, you may come across the trend of “Biophilic Design”. This architectural and interior design trend seeks to satisfy our inherent need to affiliate with nature in modern built environments.

Gaining relevancy, this trend aligns with many of the interior design trends of 2022, including popular green colour palettes, an enhanced appreciation for soothing spaces inspired by nature, and a priority towards sustainability.

At La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston, we pride ourselves on innovation. This includes staying up-to-date with emerging lifestyles and interior design trends. In turn, our expert team of interior designers is often asked about how to incorporate Biophilic Design into home decor.

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This article will define Biophilic Design by explaining the origin of the trend and the benefits it has on our health and well-being. Further, interior designer, Mary-Lee Smyth offers expert tips on how to integrate elements of Biophilic Design into your own home.

In this article ...

  1. What is Biophilic Design?
  2. Origin of Biophilic Design
  3. Benefits of Biophilic Design
  4. Specific Elements of Biophilic Design
  5. 7 Tips on How to Incorporate Biophilic Design into your Home Decor

What is Biophilic Design?

According to Stephen R. Kellert of the Metropolis Magazine, “Biophilic design is the practice of connecting people and nature within our built environments and communities”.

The fundamental goal of biophilic design is to create a nurturing habitat for people as biological organisms living in modern structures, landscapes, and communities.

Origin of Biophilic Design

The term Biophilia was first coined in 1984 by Harvard naturalist Edward Wilson. Biophilia means “love of life,” in which he described “humans’ innate connection with nature and our tendency to suffer in hermetic, urban environments where it’s largely absent.”

In the modern 21st century, our “natural habitat” is widely a manufactured environment consisting of concrete buildings and digital screens.

So much of our day-to-day life lacks the necessary exposure to elements from the natural world. Elements that are inherent to humanity and our evolution.

In fact, the human species evolved as an adaptive response to the natural world, not to artificial structures and systems. With this, we are biologically encoded to respond well to nature and suffer in manufactured settings.

As a result, we are beginning to experience a similar sensation as animals being kept in a zoo, kept away from the wild. Just like zoo animals, humans are experiencing sensory deprivation, fatigue, disease, and impaired performance.

To combat the negative effects of industrialization and technology on humanity, Biophilic Design focuses on integrating parts of nature that helped humans evolve and thrive throughout time.

Benefits of Biophilic Design

Biophilia supports human evolution, contributing positively to overall health and well-being.

Benefits of Biophilic Design include:

  • Improved Physical Health
  • Increased Mood & Feeling of Well-Being
  • Improved Productivity
  • Reduced Stress Levels
  • Mental Restoration & Reduced Fatigue

Specific Elements of Biophilic Design

Generally speaking, Biophilic Design incorporates elements of nature that have contributed to human evolution, productivity, health, and well-being.

In turn, Biophilia refers to parts of nature with flourishing vegetation and ecosystems. It does NOT refer to elements from the desert or deep-sea habitats because these have little to offer human success.

Moreover, Biophilic Design has an emphasis on the overall setting, not a single or isolated example of nature. The overall effectiveness of Biophilia relies on multiple aspects of nature that are connected and complementary to each other.

Biophilic Design must be consistent throughout space in order to be the most effective and beneficial.

More specifically, there are direct and indirect elements of Biophilic Design ...

Direct Elements of Biophilic Design

  • Light
  • Air
  • Water
  • Plants
  • Animals
  • Natural Landscapes & Ecosystems

Indirect Elements of Biophilic Design

  • Images of Nature
  • Natural Materials
  • Natural Colours
  • Naturalistic Shapes & Forms
  • Biomimicry - The design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes.

7 Tips of How to Incorporate Biophilic Design into your Home Decor ...

Mary Lee Smyth, the interior designer at La-Z-Boy Kingston, shares 7 practical tips on how to achieve Biophilic Design in your home!

1. Let There Be (Natural) Light

First and foremost, it is important to maximize natural light in your space to achieve a Biophilic Design.

Natural light has several benefits, including boosting Vitamin D, hindering seasonal depression, improving sleep, and reducing the health risks of fluorescent lighting.

The ability to let natural light radiate your space is mostly dependent on the size of windows in your home. Large windows are great for natural light exposure.

If your space does not have giant ceiling-to-wall windows, there are still ways to maximize the natural light from the windows you do have. First, take a minimalist approach with window coverings. If you are not worried about privacy, no window covering is ideal. You can also reposition furniture to avoid blocking potential sunlight.

According to Mary Lee, it is also important to identify the exposure of the natural light in your space. The exposure is important because it will dictate the hue of lighting in your space, ultimately influencing the colour palette in your home design.

She says, natural light from southern exposure creates a spectrum of warm colours throughout the day. “You will get a clear white light in the morning, a warm yellow light at lunch, and an orangey-red light in the evening”. In turn, Mary Lee would suggest a warmer furniture and decor colour palette.

Alternatively, northern light is a shadowless light. Northern exposed rooms tend to have a cooler and slightly dark light. Mary Lee says “artists tend to seek out northern exposure for a consistent natural light source”. Mary Lee would suggest cooler tones for furniture and decor in a northern exposed space.

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2. Find a View of the Great Outdoors

If you have large windows and a source of natural light, you likely also have a view of the outdoors. Those who are lucky enough to live close to nature may have a gorgeous view of greenery or water. If you live in a city high-rise, you will have an up-close view of the blue sky and clouds.

Having a direct view of the outdoors is an obvious way of achieving Biophilic Design, making you feel close to nature.

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3. Create a Natural Colour Palette

Another way of achieving a Biophilic home design is to create a natural colour palette. Choose paint colours and upholstery that resembles colours found in nature.

Biophilic Design favours the colour green in all of its forms. In fact, Mary Lee says “green and blue are the two most favourite colours of humans”. Green reminds us of plants and blue reminds us of the sky.

When creating your own colour palette for your room, Mary Lee suggests taking inspiration from the beach. “Soft sandy brown, pale blue, creamy white, driftwood grey, and a hunt of buttercup yellow sets the perfect beach scene”.

A natural colour palette as such creates a calming space that recreates the benefits of being outdoors.

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4. Invite Plants into your Home

A very popular way of achieving Biophilic Design is by bringing plants into your home.

Plants, artificial or authentic, represent a living piece of nature right within your home, known to reduce feelings of anger, fear, and stress while amplifying more pleasant feelings.

Further, it has been found that caring for authentic greenery and watching them grow in your home can contribute to a deep sense of joy and fulfillment.

If you plan to have real plants in your home, Mary Lee reminds homeowners to be aware of sun exposure. Southern exposure is optimal for authentic greenery that needs sunlight to thrive. If your space has northern exposure, you should incorporate low-light plants, says Mary Lee.

Popular plants taking root in current home design are the sweetheart plant, fiddle leaf fig tree, monstera, palm, and snake plant.

There are a variety of ways to showcase these plants in your home. You can put them in a stylish floor pot. They can also rest in small pots on occasional tables. Some homeowners even hang plants in crochet hanging planters.

You may even get creative by creating a “plant wall” by using wall-mounted planters.

If you live in an apartment or condo building, consider installing an astro turf on your balcony to recreate the look and feel of grass.

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5. Incorporate Natural Elements

Aside from plants and greenery, bring the benefits of Biophilic Design into your home by incorporating more natural materials.

Mary Lee suggests choosing furniture and decor that are made of natural elements such as stone, wood, wicker, leather, and organic textiles.

With this being said, Mary Lee advises homeowners to steer away from using natural materials for their upholstery covers. “Incorporating natural materials is excellent but you do not want to sacrifice the quality and durability of the cover of your upholstery furniture”.

Leather upholstery is a great upholstery with a natural material but leather tends to fade when exposed to natural light, which is not an ideal option for Biophilic Design focused on incorporating maximum natural light, says Mary Lee.

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6. Imitate Natural Forms

Nature is all about curves, soft edges, and imperfections. To create a look that resembles nature, Mary Lee says your furniture and home decor should imitate these natural forms and irregular shapes.

Bring Biophilic Design to life in your home with curved surfaces, arch-shaped doors & windows, and patterned upholstery. Don’t forget about the details! Scalloped carvings and botanical leaves can also create a natural look.

Mary Lee says that these natural forms can be as obvious as a coffee table with rootstock base or as minimal as a lamp made of round pottery clay.

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7 Expert Tips on How to Incorporate Biophilic Design into your Home Decor (9)

7. Bring in Water

Finally, water is very effective in creating Biophilic Design in your home. Generally speaking, the sound and appearance of water is peaceful and helps to establish a deep sense of relaxation in your body and mind.

There are several ways to incorporate water into your home. Mary Lee suggests using a fountain, big or small, for decor. She says fish tanks are another great way to bring water, and other living beings, into your home design.

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What's Next?

Are you ready to get in touch with nature and experience the benefits of Biophilic Design?

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At La-Z-Boy, we offer a large selection of furniture for every room in the home. Amongst this wide range of furniture, we offer many pieces and upholstery options that give off a natural look and feel. Further, furniture at La-Z-Boy can be customized to more closely achieve your Biophilic Design vision.

Our team of interior designers at La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston would be happy to help you achieve this design style in a way that suits your unique tastes and preferences. By taking advantage of our complimentary design services, an interior designer will walk you through a step-by-step process in creating the Biophilic room of your dreams.

For more information, take a look at The La-Z-Boy In-Home Design Appointment: What to Expect.

To get started, visit us at a local Ottawa or Kingston location, or if you prefer to plan ahead, schedule a visit online.

Related Links:

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7 Expert Tips on How to Incorporate Biophilic Design into your Home Decor (2024)
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