Natural elements

Bring the outdoors into your home.
Plants purify the air by absorbing toxins and releasing oxygen. Courtesy Via Design

The concept of biophilic design has been flourishing over the past several years, emerging from the rapid growth of technology and the amount of time spent indoors. When we spend most of our time inside and in front of screens, we miss out on the benefits the outdoors provides. Biophilic elements reconnect us with nature, reducing stress and anxiety, restoring energy and physical well-being, and boosting motivation.

A trend often used in commercial design, the benefits of biophilic and sustainable design are not limited to offices but can (and should!) be created in residential spaces. The human desire to connect to nature is, well, natural. If we’re going to spend more time indoors, then the interior of our homes should be designed to make us feel good.

Create a visual connection

Our senses need to be stimulated by nature, and sight is our most developed sense. Viewing elements of the outdoors inside our homes can reduce stress and generate positive emotional behavior. These visual details can be found in a natural color palette, an artwork depicting outdoor imagery, or in the simplest and most effective form: live plants.

Stepping into nature releases an immediate calming response. When we add live plants to our living spaces, we recreate that environment. Plants purify the air by absorbing toxins and releasing oxygen. When our air quality is good, we feel good.

The plants you choose can be as small as succulents or a few herbs growing on your windowsill. If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry. Dracaenas, snake plants and peace lilies are just a few of the low-maintenance options you can choose to decorate your home.

Choose natural materials
Nature is rarely smooth, straight or proportional. Nonlinear furniture and décor pieces, such as a live-edge dining table or a curvy armchair, provide natural shape to a room. Textural details in wood, stone, clay and fabric materials can provide a tactile connection to nature. An organic woven pillow and throw blanket provide soft, natural textures to a living space, as well as lounge furniture upholstered with organic fabrics.

Maximize natural light
The variations of light we receive can influence serotonin levels and sleep cycles, so it’s important to have the right balance of daylight in the spaces where we spend our time. Maximize the natural light you have in your home, even if it’s a small amount. Remove any obstructions from the windows and rotate your furniture so you’re receiving the fullest amount of light. If you’re not satisfied with the brightness of the room, add a few accent lamps to manipulate the lighting.

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