What is Biophilia and why should you care?
Humans have a natural attraction to nature; it’s part of our well-being. Studies have also shown that connecting to nature by adding natural elements to our indoor environments increases creativity and productivity while reducing stress, blood pressure levels, and heart rates.
- Patient post-op recovery times decrease in hospitals
- Student school attendance rates and test results improve
- Retail store customers will pay more for products and services
- Hotel guests will spend more money on hotel rooms
Biophilia is, “the passionate love of life and all that is alive”.
Erich Fromm, 1964
Edward O. Wison’s 1984 book, Biophilia (love of nature), best describes our affinity for nature. Wilson defines Biophilia as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life. Unfortunately, urbanization and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic have increasingly threatened this desire. However, biophilic design elements such as plants, environmental features, light, windows, natural materials, shapes, and patterns can help combat these concerns.
Human beings now spend about 90% of their lives indoors
How to bring the outdoors in with Biophilia:
Connecting to Nature with Plants
Adding plants is an easy way to bring biophilic design elements into your home.
You can cautiously choose hearty options like succulents and air plants or be bold and dare to invest in a living wall. NASA even has a list of plants best at removing common indoor air pollutants like ammonia and VOCs, including Florist’s Chrysanthemum, Peace Lily. English Ivy, Boston Fern, Golden Pothos, Dracaena, Bamboo Palm, Snake Plant, Spider Plant, and Dragon Tree.
Even though plants are natural air purifiers, you’ll need to have at least one plant per 100 square feet to reap the purifying benefits.
Connecting to Nature with Wallpaper
Wallpaper made from natural fibers including jute, hemp, seagrass, bamboo, and raffia or beautiful botanical prints is another solution.
Organoid Technologies GmbH (organoid.com) likewise has flax wallpaper made of hand-cut hay and flowers picked in Tyrol, Austria, that is truly amazing. (And yes, the wallpapers are almost emissions-free, and they smell like fresh-cut hay!)
Connecting to Nature with Artwork
Paintings and photographs can help to immerse our interiors in nature.
It’s best to take color cues from the sky, oceans, plants and earth, and, for example, use colors like red sparingly whatever canvas you choose.
Connecting to Nature with by Adding in More Natural Materials
Natural materials from flowers and wood to clay and rattan add texture and character to interiors.
You can additionally swap out materials with the season, but remember to choose shapes that mimic nature rather than sharp, straight lines of various design styles.
Connecting to Nature with Light
Throw open the windows or curtains (depending on the season) for a quick biophilic fix.
Choose a white or light color palette, hang mirrors across from windows, select blinds over curtains, avoid cluttering the spaces in front of or on windows to enhance the natural light in a room. You can also opt for lighting systems that change to mimic circadian rhythms throughout the day.
Connecting to Nature with Fresh Air
“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder
There’s nothing like fresh air to re-energize our senses, improve our well-being and increase productivity.
And it’s quick and easy way a to improve our shut-in experiences by bringing a little of the outside in.
There are many ways to create a biophilic-inspired space, no matter your budget. I’ve shared a few examples, but let me know your suggestions.
How do you connect to nature?