Sometimes nature is all we need
Our homes are arguably the most important space in our lives. Home should also be the place to relax and heal our body, mind and soul especially in a stressful situation, as in recent times when we were confined to our homes. So where better to harness the power of nature and its benefits on our mental health and physical well-being?
What is Biophilic Design?
Rather than a style, Biophilic Design is a major design element that can be used with any interior design style
Biophilia translates as “love of nature”. The Biophilia Hypothesis suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.
An American biologist, Edward Osborne Wilson, introduced and popularised the hypothesis in his book, Biophilia (1984) defining it as “an innate and genetically determined affinity of human being with the natural world”. The Biophilic Design approach incorporates nature into interiors either by including natural elements or simulating a natural environment indoors.
Why is Biophilic design important?
Over the years we have become indoor, urban creatures. Stress levels are on the rise, technology has changed our habits and we are heavily exposed to the blue light of our computers and mobiles, which over-stimulate our brains. So it’s important to give our bodies and minds time to recuperate energy and relax.
The Biophilic Design’s aim is to restore the bond between human beings and nature, bringing benefits such as reduced stress, improved mood and cognitive functions, increased energy and creativity, and a positive impact on mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
How can we incorporate nature into our homes?
1. Bring plants into your space
Placing plants in our home is the easiest way to reconnect with nature. Live plants not only purify the air, they also promote a happy, peaceful atmosphere. A pop of greenery should especially be incorporated into relaxation areas. Furthermore, according to research by the University of Melbourne one medium-sized plant per 2.2 square metres will remove most indoor pollution.
2. Use natural materials
Research studies show that using natural materials in our home, such as timber, stone, bamboo, rattan and cork can reduce heart rates and increase productivity and wellbeing. Be mindful of the toxic substances products have been treated with such as glues, pesticides and finishes. Instead, look for natural finishes such as tung oil, beeswax and shellac.
3. Vary the air
It may sound simple but opening up all our windows now that we have to stay indoors for longer hours, will give us access to fresh air and allow us to experience the outdoors whilst being inside. It’s time to feel that cool breeze and hear the birds tweeting away!
4. Let there be light
Natural light is good for our circadian rhythms – our internal clock – helping us to feel more energised by day and sleep better at night.
We can bring the light into our home with skylights or by installing specific lights, translucent curtains and venetian blinds in light colours that let more light in.
To sleep better we need natural dark to encourage the production of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that regulates sleep). Lights in our bedrooms should be warm reds because they contain less of the blue-light spectrum associated with daylight and waking.
Have you ever noticed that in guided meditation tapes, there is always the sound of water? That’s because the calming sound of water is good for reducing stress and has restorative effects. Installing a water feature or playing a track of nature sounds can mask the unpleasant noises of traffic, technology and appliances.
So, what is not to love about bringing more nature into our homes?
My design style is influenced by my Italian roots. Having grown up in a small town by the seaside, surrounded by olive trees it is not surprising that I love nature and spending time outside connecting with it.
It is my love of nature, combined with my passion for interiors and bold colours that has inspired me to define my mission: to help people create healthier and greener homes applying the principles of Biophilic Design and colour psychology.
Nicla Diceglie, Interior Designer