Biophilic design is a way of incorporating your love of nature with your interior space
Do you love being outdoors or immersed in nature but feel like your lifestyle doesn’t allow you to do it as much as you’d like?
An increasingly popular design concept is creating spaces in our homes that promote health and wellbeing. Biophilia – which translates to a love for living things and nature – does exactly that.
Sarah Twigg Doyle is a Wicklow-based interior and visual stylist and believes that, although biophilia is not a new concept, it has never been so relevant.
“Modern living means most of spend 90% of our lives indoors,” she explains, “whether that’s our homes, workplaces, cars or public transport, the gym, or cafés and restaurants. Add in technology and the constant state of distraction and disruption to our natural circadian rhythms, and it is all having a dramatic effect on our physical and mental wellbeing.”
Sarah says that biophilic design puts the physical and mental wellbeing of the person at the heart of any design choices and offers practical solutions to help soothe and restore us to a better frame of mind.
The health benefits of being in nature are widely researched. They include a reduction in stress levels and irritability, lower heart rate and blood pressure, better sleep and increased creativity, productivity and concentration.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways you can bring this concept to life in your home. From working with plants, air flow, natural light or using organic textures, here are Sarah’s favourite ways to embrace biophilic design:
Plants are a wonderful way of adding a direct connection to nature. To make them work harder for you, look for plants with good air purifying qualities such as Peace Lilies or ferns. Consider grouping them together for a more dramatic effect or to add interest to your window if you don’t have a view.
If you’re lucky enough to have a room with good natural light, make the most of it. Position a chair to face and soak up as much daylight as possible when time allows. If you work from home, place your desk near the window to maximise your light and connection to nature.
Open windows to hear the birdsong or try playing nature sounds through a speaker. Consider adding an indoor water feature if the sound of water soothes you.
Use a mix of tactile natural textures and surfaces in your home such as wood, wool, sheepskin and velvet to replicate the variety of textures found in nature.
Use nature-inspired diffusers or candles, taking care to use only 100% natural waxes and essential oil fragrances (synthetic fragranced oils and candles release harmful toxins). Cut a posy of flowers from the garden or use fragranced plants like jasmine or lavender near a window. Add fresh potted herbs on a kitchen windowsill.
You can read the full article, compiled by Niamh Devereux, in the current issue of Irish Country Magazine – available nationwide.