What is Biophilic Design?

What is Biophilic Design?

Have you ever felt the calming power of a room full of wood features? Or noticed how good a slab of real stone makes you feel compared to its faux counterparts? Then you might be into biophilic design - an interior design philosophy that centers around bringing nature indoors. Naturally, we’re obsessed. 

What is biophilic design? 

Biophilic design is an approach to architecture and interior design that incorporates elements of nature into the built environment. It aims to create spaces that support human health and wellbeing by connecting people with the natural world.

Elements such as natural light, indoor plants, water features, and biomorphic shapes (patterns found in nature), are used in biophilic design to improve mood and promote a sense of calm. And natural surfaces are a must. Biophilic design embraces mother nature’s beautiful imperfection. That means choosing real marble over man made quartz, cotton textiles over polyester, and - of course - wood over vinyl. 

How do natural surfaces connect us to nature? 

Touching natural surfaces evokes a sense of grounding and connection to the earth. This can be especially powerful in natural environments like forests, beaches, and mountains, where the natural surfaces are abundant.

Connecting with natural surfaces can have numerous benefits, including reducing stress, boosting brain function, and improving overall wellbeing. When you walk barefoot on natural surfaces, for example, you can experience a phenomenon known as "earthing," which involves connecting to the earth’s electrical charge.

Natural surfaces also help to ignite your senses. For instance, walking on hardwood floors stimulates your sense of touch, while the sight of the woodgrain’s biomorphic shape and the soft sound underfoot enhance your mood.

Natural benefits of wood

Research suggests that wood offers many of the same benefits as the trees from which it originates. Here are a few ways that wood brings the restorative power of trees indoors. 

Biophilic effect

Wood has a calming effect on people and creates a sense of connection with nature. This is known as the biophilic effect and has been shown to have numerous mental health benefits.

Reduced stress

Similar to spending time in the forest, being in the presence of wood has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Wood can also improve mood and overall feelings of wellbeing. 

Natural humidity regulation

Wood balances humidity by absorbing excess moisture during humid times and releasing it during dryer periods. 

Increased creativity & cognitive function

Incredibly, just being in the presence of wood can stimulate your creativity and problem-solving capacity. A 2012 Japanese study found that wooden surroundings increased social engagement and self-expression among participants.

How to incorporate biophilic design at home

Ready to bring all of nature’s goodness indoors? Here’s where to start:

Bring on the natural light

Natural light is an important element of connecting interiors to nature. You can maximize natural light by using window treatments that allow light to filter in, and consider adding skylights or light tubes. 

Create your own jungalow

When it comes to bringing nature inside, adding houseplants is a no-brainer. Choose plants that thrive in indoor conditions and suit your aesthetic. And don’t forget to protect your wood floors from the water associated with thriving indoor plants. 

Use natural materials

Incorporate natural materials like wood in furniture, flooring, and decor. Stone counters add a tactile connection to nature. Natural hardwood flooring creates a feeling of being grounded and connected to the earth.

Incorporate water features

Water features such as fountains, ponds, or aquariums can have a calming effect on people and improve air quality through the process of natural evaporation. A small tabletop fountain or a wall-mounted water feature can create a sense of calm and tranquility in your home.

Create views of nature

Use windows, glass doors, or skylights to maximize views of nature. Consider using furniture that faces views of your outdoor space or placing a reading nook near the window to encourage relaxation and contemplation.

Embrace mother nature’s color palette

Using earth tones in your design helps to create a sense of calm and relaxation. You can use these colors in your wall paint, furniture, and decor. Add a floral pattern to up the nature vibes even more.

Use natural textures

Natural textures such as linen or wool create a tactile connection to nature. You can use these textures in your furniture, curtains, and pillows. A natural fiber rug can add warmth and texture to your flooring.


Want to get a taste of the biophilic effect in person? Easily browse and order free samples of our premium hardwood floors. Because you deserve nothing less than nature’s goodness underfoot.


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