Biophilic Design is the practice of taking cues from nature to inspire an interior scheme to improve health and wellbeing. It can be applied to homes and workspaces to help inhabitants feel more relaxed.
Seeing nature is only part of the process when applying biophilic design principles. Taking a more holistic approach and introducing the sounds, smells and textures of nature will create a multi-sensory space more akin to being outside, which will lead to a more productive, creative and restorative space.
You might consider including a variety of natural textures, from wood and stone to more tactile fur, linen and wool. There are plenty of ways in which to do this – by considering floor and wall treatments, furniture, upholstery and soft furnishings.
Perhaps a wood textured wall, underfloor heating under a lava stone floor, leather and bamboo office accessories, a felted wool rug on a nursery floor or sheepskins draped over dining chairs.
When outside, think about what you can smell and try and replicate this inside – cut grass, blossom, pine needles. You might use fresh flowers, soy candles or dried herbs. Be careful to steer clear of anything with a fragrance that is manufactured and opt for natural essential oils which contain no toxins.
Think about the seasonality of nature and the time of day when natural scents are at their most potent – just after rain or during the spring and autumn months – and introduce natural smells into your space in tune with this. Not just at home but in your work space too.
If you live or work in an urban area, you may need to think about ways to reduce noise pollution; an important first stage to creating a more biophilic home or workspace.
Depending on the level of external noise, wall insulation, double-glazing or adding noise reducing surfaces to your space might be good options. Wool carpets, felt wall panels, lined curtains and textural fabrics will all help. Once you have any outside noise reduced to an acceptable level, you can let nature in with ambient music such as birdsong, trickling water or the sound of the sea.