• Jenny Whittingham

You need Biophilic Design in your life!


What is it?


Biophilic design is the use of natural features and finishes, such as the presence of natural light and the presence of plants. It's proved in studies that incorporating a natural environment to your space naturally boosts your mental and physical wellbeing and since we’ve all been spending a lot more time indoors and in the same environment it’s more important than ever that it’s integrated as part of your next interior design project.



Origins


It’s not a new concept, it’s just that it wasn’t until the later part of the 20th Century it’s been given its new name. It dates back to the late Renaissance with people bringing greenery indoors. It was a way to reconnect with nature and step away from the urban cities.


Interior Wellbeing


Studies have shown that there is a positive impact between biophilic elements. Theory suggests that in part it is a physical response but it’s mostly the psychological effect – nature just makes us feel good and more relaxed. Moods are boosted, people are generally happier and less stressed.


It’s not just a theory though, I have personally implemented this approach on previous design schemes for health care and mental health projects where wellbeing is of the utmost importance so imagine the effects on people who do generally feel well in themselves! We all have good days and bad days wouldn’t it be lovely if your interior carried such wonderful subliminal feel good vibes also?



How to implement it?


In its purest form the finishes should include the use of natural stone, real planting, real wood.


In reality some of the natural elements can prove costly or near impossible (not everyone can have a window seat!), however your design theory can still remain the same. I could go to every single detail but I will name just a few areas as an example…


A good quality wood vinyl can have the same visual effect, keep flooring dark, think woodland in nature, in particular for dementia patients it provides mental security and visual distinction from softer wall colours. If wood flooring just won’t cut it and you have to use carpets in certain areas Shaw Contracts have just launched their ‘Living Systems’ range which provides the patterns found in nature and offers a warm holistic approach. You don’t even need to have entire area carpeted, an inset carpet works wonders as a reduced hazard fixed rug. An alternative could be Forbos Cloud Scape’, it comes in a range of colour combinations and doesn’t have a batch code so if a tile needed to be replaced in the future you can simple swap it without worrying about pattern or colour match issues.



Don’t forget your details too, we are after all sensory creatures. Choose sustainable furniture in natural finishes. For fabrics chose different textures, piles and thicknesses, perhaps the same tonal range of fabric in e.g. autumnal colours from nature to inspire your surroundings. Things in nature are never identical or perfect, mix and match shapes and sizes, see beauty in irregular and imperfect. Keep 1 element consistent to tie everything together beautifully. Add artwork to walls, find inspiration in Gaudi’s natural forms and hang items in sets of 3, 5 or 7 for a collection of art.



Conclusion


Everything in your interior, walls, ceilings, flooring, furniture, lighting and accessories count towards creating a biophilic environment, it’s about getting the visual balance and sensory feel right not to mention cost. Jenny Whittingham Design has proven expertise in this area and would be more than happy to discuss your project needs with a free initial consultation in person or via skype. We are passionate about interiors and the people who occupy these spaces and would love to hear from you today. Get in touch at whittinghamjenny@gmail.com or on 07487 576 815

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