Connect with nature through your decor with biophilic design

Home Sweet Home is presented by the Washington State Housing Finance Commission

Have you ever dreamed of having a sanctuary where you could focus on your work and embrace your inner creativity? If your answer is “yes”, you might want to look into biophilic design.

This design technique taps into one of our deepest and oldest longings as humans. It helps us discover inner peace by forging natural connections with plants.

What is biophilic design?

“Biophilia” is defined by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) as “the innate human instinct to connect with nature and other living things”. Put simply: it’s a fancy word for nature lovers. The term itself derives from the Greek words for “life” and “love”, which creates the translation: “love of life”.

Biophilic Design turns this concept into art by using natural materials, patterns, and colors found in nature (eg, bamboo, natural light, houseplants, rattan, etc.). Urban environments are often prime locations for biophilic design. Even so, this design technique is ubiquitous.

Photo: victor zastolski via 123RF

Benefits of biophilic design

Biophilic design isn’t just a trend; It’s a way of life. According to research conducted by the Healthy Building Program at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, biophilic design can help improve your vital cognitive functions, reduce stress and relieve anxiety. Biophilic design is also good for the environment! This 2021 study shows that living wall systems (a wall or vertical structure covered in greenery) reduce heat loss and also act as electric blinds against direct sunlight. (A win-win for cold winters and hot, humid summers.)

Moreover, biophilic design is an investment. According to The Economics of Biophilia: Why Designing with Nature in Mind Makes Financial Sense, a report created by sustainability consultancy Terrapin Bright Green, biophilic design has saved money through reduced energy costs. and higher employee satisfaction (less turnover costs). Biophilic design has also increased profits for many business owners, through increased worker productivity.

Bringing biophilic design into your home

Some studies suggest that the average American spends 93% of their life indoors, 87% in buildings, and 6% in a vehicle. These conditions mean that most people spend barely 7% of their entire life outdoors, or about half a day a week. It’s quite dark. What’s worse? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), air quality can be up to five times worse indoors than outdoors.

Poor air quality combined with daily stress sounds like a recipe for disaster, but the good news is that there are things you can do to introduce biophilic design into your home, no matter how big or small you are. geographic location.

Here are some ways to get started:

Natural light: If you have large windows and/or glass doors in your home, clean the windows and draw aside curtains or blinds. If your home lacks large windows, you can create the illusion of natural light by using mirrors. You can also make strategic paint color choices (light grays) and minimize your decor. Rule of thumb: Keep it bright and airy.
Greenery: You don’t have to be a horticulturist to add some greenery to your home. Something as simple as an herb garden or a faux plant can help bring your living space to life. However, if you choose to use houseplants, you might want to start with something hard to kill, like Pothos or a snake plant.
Natural Colors: Consider using soothing blues, warm yellow hues, or vibrant greens throughout your home. Natural wood grains (eg flooring, trim, furniture, etc.) also help add texture.
Biophilic design is about connecting with nature in your home, workplace, or other indoor environment. This connection could involve decorating your office with indoor plants, hanging pictures of trees or the ocean in your bedroom, or installing a water feature in your living room.

Home Sweet Home is brought to you by the Washington Homeowner Assistance Fund of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. The Homeowners Relief Fund helps homeowners who have fallen on hard times due to the pandemic. Call 1-877-894-4663 for more information on how they can help you.

About Gertrude H. Kerr

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