Getting back to nature doesn’t mean you have to build a cabin in the woods. You can enjoy a modern home and take advantage of the benefits of biophilic design. It’s an approach that favors buildings with lots of natural light, an easy flow between indoors and out, and innovations such as green walls and vertical gardens.

What is Biophilic Design?

Most popular in modern office buildings, biophilic is a way to bring the outdoors inside. It embraces the modern understanding that 90% of our habitat is the built environment. But throughout human history, we evolved in response to the natural world.

“What’s needed,” says Yale University’s Stephen Kellert, one of the chief proponents of the design style, “is a response that brings more of the natural into our daily experience. The result is more than aesthetically pleasing.” It can increase well-being, health, and efficiency.

Biophilic Materials

It begins with materials. Natural wood is best, with natural stone another good option, particularly for bathrooms and kitchens. But biophilic design also embraces man-made materials such as old bricks and antiques that show the tarnish of time.

The emphasis on natural materials extends to decor. You want to use colors that are soothing, and reflective of the earth or the sea. Furniture should echo the curves of naturalist forms, so the best accessories are things like fine shells or beautiful stones. You also want to appeal to our sense of touch by choosing natural fibers. Framed images of nature or wallpaper with natural designs provide an indirect experience of the great outdoors.