What is Biophilic Design?


Biophilic design is when we connect our homes and offices (and nature), with greenery, and outdoor-indoor spaces. Using lighting that works with our circadian rhythm.

You’ll often see this in warmer climates where the collapsible glass doors open to expansive views, and the outdoor spaces you use and entertain in look similar to your indoor spaces, giving your home natural flow.

In commercial spaces, where there might be wall of live plants, wood, stone, color and light – all essential items of Biophilic design, which is where it meets up with Wellness Interior Design. Here we see this in the conference room at ASID HQ, which purposely acheived LEED Gold status – not the usual snoring boring version you’ve sat in for unecessarily long hours.

Biophilic design: Conference room with natural materials and nature-inspired patterns. Image Courtesy ASID.

The Japanese are notorious working long hours and living in tiny apartment buildings. How do they get a mental lift?

They go for walks in the forest, calling it Forest Bathing. Our version is walking in the Redwood Forest, Central park in New York, or traveling through/walking the Shenandoah trail.

The very popular NY Highline Early Summertiime

All of these gifts from nature can be used in your homes to connect you to the outdoors. This lifts your mental mood and health. Again you can see how this ties back to Wellness-Focused Design. We have more than one sensory system chugging away at any one time.

Without being aware of it, you can be communicating this information about yourself via scents or sounds – such as music or a burbling fountain. When people can again visit your homes, this will impact how they remember that experience.

How can Biophilic Design be integrated into your homes?
  • If you have a sunroom off your kitchen, turn it into a lush garden of different size plants, chaise lounges and rattan side tables – think Key West, The Caribbean, hidden away gardens in India.
  • So many homes have open areas these days. Pick a wall for your herb garden. Have an actual dining room? Install a dramatic wall of plants that integrates a self-watering feature, Add soft white noise.
  • Think about the flow of your indoor and outdoor spaces and see if you have a way to make them flow well, using similar colors in fabrics on outdoor furniture, and prettify it up with big containers of plants and flowers. Put a pretty umbrella over your dining table.

The best way to understand how to incorporate Biophilic design in your homes? This bath hits all the notes. Stone, wood, Glass, Circadian Light, Plants – heck even the circular bath looks like grass.

Admittedly, there are a LOT of plants in this bath! Still it’s calling to you, right?

Looking at most photos of interiors in a magazine, online & on Social Media sites, what will you see most often? Sterile looking rooms that don’t look cozy. Lemons and limes on a kitchen island, anyone? You won’t think about “nesting” in that room. Right?!

It might be pretty enough, but something IS missing…and that is?

Nature hasn’t been invited in. Those plants? They clean the air in your homes. Nesting? Ah you know what that feels like! Even in a restaurant, will you be more likely to choose a booth? I rest my case. What’s ironic here? We all know this, and yet “new courses” for Biophlic design and the Neuroscience of Design have popped up, because we’ve mostly been disconnected from nature due to technology.

Do you need help incorporating Biophilic design into your spaces? I’m excited to help you do this. Let’s talk. In the end it’s not about tossing one Corn Plant in the corner of a well lit-space and calling it a day.

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