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Biophilic Design in the Home: 5 Ideas to Bring the Outside In

Biophilic Design in the Home: 5 Ideas to Bring the Outside In

Incorporating biophilic design in the home is a trend that’s been gaining significant traction over the past few years, especially as more and more evidence shows a healthy dose of nature can have many benefits for the average person. In short, biophilia is the “love of life” or the natural world; biophilic design is the practice of incorporating natural elements into a space to improve its inhabitants’ well-being. Utilizing these elements of biophilia can help improve mood, reduce stress, and increase productivity, making it an attractive choice for homeowners looking to strengthen their connection with the natural world. Here are five ideas anyone can use to bring biophilic design into the home:

Make the Most of Natural Light

Maximizing natural light is the first way to bring biophilic design into the home and can drastically affect your space. Natural light isn’t just great for taking photos; it also boosts vitamin D production and can help save on electricity bills by decreasing the amount of artificial light used. Upgrading older fenestrations to energy-efficient windows can help reduce utility bills even more. If planning a renovation project, talk to your designer or contractor about opportunities to add more windows or skylights to your home.

Natural light floods into this home in Tiverton, Rhode Island
Natural light floods into this Tiverton home’s new mudroom. Photo by Aaron Usher III.

Use Natural Materials

New hardwood floors and polished stone countertops don’t have to be the only way to include natural materials in your home (though it’s a great start!). Other materials like cork, bamboo, linen, wool, and reclaimed wood are great options to strengthen your connection to the natural world and have various applications. Leaning into natural materials isn’t just a design choice that will stand the test of time; many of these materials can be sustainably harvested from renewable sources too!

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A whole-home renovation in Providence, RI with lots of natural materials. Photography by Aaron Usher III. Styling by Site Styling.

Cultivate your Green Thumb

Not everyone is adept at keeping plants alive (cough cough–me), but adding a few easy-to-care-for plants in your home is a great way to bring the outside in. Not only do plants improve air quality, but they can also help reduce stress and anxiety. If you’ve got a knack for interior design, picking out stylish planters and leafy friends can be a fun weekend design project too!

living room renovation east side of providence rhode island
Photography by Aaron Usher III. Styling by Site Styling. Houseplants are a great opportunity to include a bit of interest to a space. Just remember to water them!

Develop your Color Palette

Using color in interior design is obviously a massive part of creating an atmosphere in a space, and specific colors can elicit different feelings. Maybe you’ve heard of restaurants being painted red to encourage diners to eat more. Or doctor’s offices typically have white or neutral walls to create a sense of calm and cleanliness. Similar principles apply to natural color tones too. Incorporating colors often found in nature, like greens, browns, and blues, can help create a calming and tranquil atmosphere—definitely, an easy biophilic principle to use in the home.

Powder room with biophilic wallpaper.
This powder room incorporates natural hues and floral motifs–a biophilic double-whammy!

Create a Connection to the Outdoors

Creating a seamless transition between the indoors and outdoors is an essential aspect of biophilic design, especially in the context of “prospect and refuge,” a significant tenet of biophilia. Observing your surrounding environment (prospect) from a more private area (refuge) is critical in creating a safe and secure space. Again, maximizing window real estate is a great way to achieve this. But also consider sliding doors, sunrooms, balconies, decks, and patios when looking to strengthen the connection between the inside and out.

Renovated Sunroom in Tiverton, Rhode Island
Sunrooms are a fantastic way to strengthen the connection between the outdoors and in. Photo by Aaron Usher III.

And there you have it–5 ways to get your love of the natural world on! If you’re ready to take the next step in incorporating biophilic design into your home remodeling project, give us a shout–our expert team of designers and builders is here to help.


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