The idea that humans have an innate need to connect with the natural world is by no means new, but it has definitely become more palpable over the past year and a half. After multiple lockdowns, we all know what it feels like to crave the great outdoors.
This idea is called biophilia, and supporting research goes so far as to say that a disconnect from nature negatively impacts our wellbeing. Mood disorders and increased stress levels have both been linked to lack of exposure to nature, which is frightful news considering the ongoing urbanization of the planet.
Thankfully, humans have always found a way to adapt, and in this case, that means turning toward biophilic design.
Put simply, biophilic design means bringing the outdoors indoors. It’s a way of designing interior spaces to mimic natural landscapes, utilizing neutral tones and textures, natural light, lush greenery, natural materials, and organic shapes. This embrace of nature is a part of a larger trend toward wellness design, which aims to comfort, calm, and counteract the negative impacts of spending time indoors.
Adopting a biophilic design ideology is a great way to reclaim your home as a place of refuge, where you can truly relax, clear your mind, and feel at ease. This article will show you 10 ways to achieve that using 100% renter-friendly methods.
1. Introduce natural textures with tile stickers
Because tiles are made of materials drawn from the earth, they are a great option for a biophilic design scheme. Just make sure to choose tiles in soothing, neutral tones. Zellige tiles and marble are interesting options because they introduce texture and a sense of irregularity.
However, if you’re a renter unable to install tiles, or if real tiles are out of your budget, you can achieve the same soothing effect with tile stickers! In fact, the most recent collection of Quadrostyle stickers was conceived with biophilia in mind!
In Pavement & Quarry, you’ll find classic tile patterns reimagined in natural wood and marble. Together, these textures evoke peaceful environments and a sense of nature and add understated elegance to your home.
2. Pick a neutral color scheme with warm undertones
A biophilic color scheme prioritizes neutral colors, especially those with warm undertones, such as ivory, eggshell, mushroom, and tan. These hues are milky enough to reflect and radiate natural light, but earthy enough to comfort and ground.
Image Source: Sherwin Williams
Cozy essentials like these are key to bringing balance and harmony to your space. For color inspiration, the Sherwin Williams Warm Neutrals collection is a great place to start!
3. Ditch your curtains
Natural lighting is one of the central tenets of biophilic design. So, make sure that your space receives as much natural lighting as possible! Get rid of curtains, blinds, and shutters to let the light flow in.
Image Source: Marcia Moore Design
Studies show that people who are exposed to more natural light in their homes are happier, less stressed, and more productive than those who rely on artificial light. Plus, you’ll probably save a ton on your energy bill!
If you have limited privacy due to facing windows or sidewalk traffic, and you must have some kind of dressing on your window, opt for something light. Bamboo shades or thin linen curtains are a good compromise.
4. Use houseplants to build your own indoor forest
In a biophilic home, plants aren’t just decoration, they are an integral part of your spatial design. Imagine plants in their natural setting and try to recreate that indoors. For example, you can mimic a jungle canopy by hanging trailing plants overhead.
Create a living wall with pocket plant hangers or moss. If you have a bathroom that gets good light exposure, this could be a good location, since the plants will love the natural humidity!
Another idea is to use bamboo plants as a room divider. This is a great tip for studio dwellers, as the bamboo not only adds a natural element to your home, but it also helps designate different zones in your open space.
5. Decorate with pottery in organic shapes
Unglazed or matte glazed pottery is a fantastic way to channel rocky landscapes like caves and caverns. In this case, handbuilt pottery is preferential, as it is more likely to feature organic shapes that evoke the movement of the elements in nature. Think: amorphous clouds, the movement of the wind, or the winding of rivers.
From planters to vases and dining sets to decorative pieces, all kinds of ceramics add wonderful texture that enriches your interior and connects it to the earth.
6. Dress your digs in unfinished wood, and a lot of it!
Wood is your best friend when it comes to biophilic decorating. It reminds us of the forest and the power of trees around us. Seeing the grain in the wood is the most direct way to evoke trees and their natural texture, so, as much as possible, make sure that the wood you use is unfinished.
Vertical elements like wooden room dividers or wall paneling directly channel the feeling of standing amongst trees. For an even more encompassing experience, install raw wood parquet floors or use one of the wood-inspired floor stickers from Pavement & Quarry. Our favorites are Salon in wood and Campagne in wood.
Other ways to incorporate wood into your decor include furniture, shelving, frames, and cabinetry.
7. Get an area rug that mimics natural topography
Add more texture into your space with a biophilic area rug. A moss-inspired landscape rug would be perfect, especially one with an organic shape.
A green shag rug could be used to evoke grass, while a woven jute rug evokes either the dried brush of the plains or a jungle environment.
Image Source: Etsy
8. Hang nature prints
There’s no better way to inspire a sense of nature than to directly show nature! Landscape prints or photographs of animals in nature can serve to tie together the biophilic theme and make it more salient. Paintings of nature are also a welcome addition to your biophilic decor.
Image Source: Society6
9. Get an aquarium
There are two aspects of biophilic design that we have yet to touch on. The first is water. A water element incorporates the nourishing and life-giving source that is water, and the sound of running water can help to soothe you. Unfortunately, adding a water element to your interior isn’t always practical, especially for renters.
Image Source: OASE
However, a notable exception is an aquarium, which also conveniently incorporates the final aspect of biophilic design—animals. A fish tank brings life into your home in a very palpable way. But do take time to think about it before committing to a fish tank. Only install an aquarium if you can commit to cleaning it and caring for any plants or animals inside.
10. Burn a nature-inspired candle
Finally, make sure you tap into as many senses as possible by burning a candle with a nature-inspired scent. Lavender, rose, and sandalwood scents are all ultra comforting and make you feel like you’re relaxing at a spa.
Image Source: Lemons Limes Boutique
Your turn to heal your home with nature
Disconnecting from nature comes with real repercussions on our mental and even physical health. Incorporating nature into your home by using biophilic design can help rectify the gap between the indoors and the outdoors so that we may experience our home in a more comforting and gratifying way.
Using the renter-friendly decor ideas listed in this article, you can make positive changes to your home that you will feel in your mind, body, and soul. To keep exploring the biophilic vibe, be sure to browse the nature-inspired designs of Pavement & Quarry!