Biophilic interior design featuring shelves with vases of greenery next to SlatWall Mini Smoked Oak and CorkWall Lagos White.

Get the Look at Home: Biophilic Interior Design

Biophilic design is the ultimate nature-inspired interior aesthetic. Discover how to bring the outside inside with the style's key features.

5 minute read

If there's one concept that's transcended 'trend' status and become a way of living, it's biophilic interior design. Whether you're a city dweller or countryside inhabitant, incorporating this philosophy into your home is the easiest way to add nature to your space – literally or symbolically.

Here, we're breaking down what biophilic design is, its main principles and how to implement it in your home.

 

The origins of biophilia

 

The social psychologist Erich Fromm coined the term 'biophilia' in 1964. A combination of the Greek 'bio' meaning 'life and 'philia' meaning 'love', the word was defined by Fromm as 'the passionate love of life and of all that is alive.'

The concept was expanded further in 1984 by the biologist Edward O. Wilson, who extended the meaning to 'the rich, natural pleasure that comes from being surrounded by living organisms.' Furthermore, he believed that our need to spend time in nature is an intrinsic part of our genetics simply because it makes us feel good.

Over the past few decades, biophilia has taken over architectural and interior design. And its popularity shows no signs of slowing down. As it taps into our instinctual need to spend time outdoors, the philosophy fosters our responsibility for the environment. Plus, it connects with our desire to make more sustainable choices on where and how we live.

 

SlatWall Natural Oak panels behind landscape paintings and a white and silver chair next to a window in a biophilic interior.

 

What is biophilic interior design?

 

Biophilic interior design seeks to optimise the connection between people and nature by making you feel as though you're outdoors when you're indoors. Its purpose is to maximise physical and mental well-being by creating a space incorporating natural elements such as light, materials and greenery. This results in a tranquil atmosphere that calms and relaxes. Indeed, it's said that biophilic design has multiple health benefits, from reducing stress to inspiring creativity.

While interiors are most often associated with a room's look, biophilic design encourages a multi-sensory approach, with texture, sound and scent also playing a role. From the pitter-patter of rain on windows to the feeling of wood beneath your fingertips, it's essential to consider your sensory preferences when planning your biophilic interior.

 

Biophilic design hallway featuring SlatWall Midi Natural Oak and Top Trim behind a black table with decorative accessories.

 

Biophilic interior design principles

 

Part of biophilic design's beauty is how easy it is to incorporate into your space. These five principles are simple interior updates you can make that will improve your connection to the outside when you're inside.

 

Natural light

A key element of biophilic design is letting natural light flood the space as much as possible, allowing you to minimise the use of artificial light sources. As well as creating a bright and airy feel, natural light and your exposure to its hourly changes help to regulate your circadian rhythm, which is beneficial to maintaining a regular sleep pattern.

To achieve this at home, we recommend placing your furniture near windows and skylights, ensuring that even when spending a long time indoors, you're still close to the outdoors. Simple changes like rearranging seating to move it closer to a natural light source or switching around your home office setup so it isn't tucked away in a dark corner will give your space a biophilic refresh.

If you have a garden, patio or balcony, you can create a seamless transition from inside to outside. Epitomise the indoor-outdoor living concept by extending your interior scheme to your exterior.

 

Biophilic design bedroom featuring SlatWall Midi Walnut panelling and Top Trim behind a white bed and marble bedside table. 

 

Greenery

Perhaps the most well-known method of implementing biophilic design in your interior is an abundance of greenery. Grand designs usually feature indoor landscaping, which you can achieve with plants here, there and everywhere. Play around with placing pots at various heights from floor to ceiling to recreate the lushness of the wild. If you don't have green fingers, you can easily add a touch of foliage to your décor with low-maintenance houseplants, such as cacti and succulents.

Optimal ventilation of fresh air is also integral to biophilic interiors. Houseplants are beneficial for air purification as they absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Additionally, herbal and woody scents, whether from candles, essential oils or diffusers, offer an aromatic take on biophilia.

 

Greenery in a large round vase, wine glasses and oranges on a dining table next to two chairs, positioned by two windows.

 

Natural materials

Nature is rich with rough and smooth surfaces that please the senses. Let the outdoor environment inspire your room's composition by layering different natural textures. Wood, cork and stone are minimally processed and showcase organic characteristics that vary from piece to piece. Even better, they can be used throughout your design, from wall panels and flooring to furniture and decorative accessories.

When styling your room, favour pieces made with natural textiles. Woven fabrics, such as hemp and linen, offer tactility, making them a great choice for everything from rugs and upholstery to cushions and blankets. They'll help you bring your biophilic room to life by enhancing the sensory appeal. Choosing materials associated with the outdoors, like rattan, bamboo and jute, will aid in blurring the lines between outside and inside.

 

Biophilic design utility room featuring a dog lying in a bed next to SlatWall Mini Grey Oak panels and large black windows.

 

Earthy colours

Naturally, a concept that champions nature also champions the rich variation of tones in the great outdoors. When picking colours for your room, we suggest looking at the landscape. From beaches to forests, natural environments showcase soothing shades that evoke comfort and tranquillity.

Earthy hues like sand beige, tan brown and terracotta will ground biophilic schemes. Warm tones such as these beautifully complement each other – as well as bright pops of green and yellow – to create a harmonious atmosphere. On the other hand, cool tones, such as blue and grey, call the sea and sky to mind and evoke a calming ambience.

 

SlatWall Walnut panels in a biophilic design hallway featuring blue and beige wall art and a cushion and blanket on a bench.

 

Organic shapes

Organic shapes – known as 'biomorphic forms' – are another way to introduce biophilic design to your interior. Natural forms often combine simplicity and complexity in equal measures. Asymmetric and curved lines are everywhere, from tree trunks and leaves to rocks and shells. Meanwhile, intricate patterns with infinite variations can be seen when you take a closer look. Including rounded shapes in your scheme lets you subtly reference nature and celebrate its beautiful characteristics.

You can also introduce natural forms to your room with wall art. Whether realistic or abstract, prints and paintings that pay homage to the environment will add shape and colour to your space.

 

Two green cushions next to SlatWall Mini panelling, a dining table, a curved brown chair and windows on the wall and ceiling.

 

Ready to create your own biophilic interior design? Explore our wide range of wall panels to help you get started. From SlatWall wood veneer panels and highly sustainable planks to CorkWall tiles, you'll find the ideal style to bring your dream room to life, whether it be panels for you living room or bedroom wall panelling. And to make installation and maintenance as easy as possible, we have a range of easy-to-use accessories, including Top Trims, adhesives and protective treatments.

 

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