Making Biophilic Design Adaptable to the Everyday Home

What is biophilia, and how can we incorporate it into our home interiors to create a happier, calmer and healthier environment? Here, we discuss living a greener life, biophilia, and our top 7 tips on bringing biophilic design into your home.


On average, Brits spend a shocking 90% of their day indoors. How many of us are doing this and simultaneously neglecting nature? Guilty. However, this is hardly surprising. As urbanisation increases, more of us are losing our touch with nature.

Truthfully, lockdown made me appreciate the outdoors. Who else remembers when we were allowed outside only once per day? That daily walk really hit differently. However, now that lockdown restrictions have eased, I have found myself reverting to old, bad habits. Gone are my daily walks in the park, and instead, I spend my daily dedicated exercise time inside a gym. Although it’s fulfilling and gets my endorphins pumping, the gym is a dark, neon-lit, windowless space. Not exactly a place for embracing and reconnecting with nature.

Research shows that spending more time in green spaces can have a positive impact on people’s mental and physical well-being. Yet, with many of us back at work indoors or working from home, finding the time to do this and everything else can feel impossible.

Does your home truly soothe your soul and nurture your mental and physical well-being? If not, perhaps you should try to reconnect with nature by bringing the outdoors indoors. Through biophilia interior design, you can adapt your home to create a calmer, more tranquil space. What’s more, research indicates that this can support your cognitive function, physical health, and psychological well-being. Keen to learn more? Later on, we share our top tips on how you can make biophilic design adaptable to the everyday home.

Biophilic Design Room 1

(Image credit: Followtheflow/

Biophilic Design Room 2

(Image Credit: Chewy/

Biophilia Nature 1

(Image credit: Robert Haverly/

But first, what does biophilia mean?

The term Biophilia was first coined by Eric Fromm in 1964, who described it as “the passionate love of life and all that is alive”. In this respect, biophilia focuses on our natural attraction to nature and other forms of life. According to theorists, after centuries of living in agrarian settings, we have all gained a genetic connection to the natural world. Supposedly, when we are deprived of the environment we evolved to live in, we begin to show signs of stress. Extensive research suggests that spending time in nature is beneficial for our mental and physical well-being. In this sense, biophilia is essential for the human psyche.

Biophilia Nature 2

(Image credit: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/

Say hello to biophilic design

Biophilic design seeks to boost our well-being by supporting our innate desires to connect with nature. This holistic strategy to design embraces and incorporates natural elements to create a stimulating indoor environment. According to research, this can reduce stress, blood pressure and heart rate levels while boosting creativity, productivity, and well-being. Count me in!

How is biophilic design used in architecture?

Architects designing biophilic buildings may integrate nature through good natural lighting and ventilation to decrease the dependence on artificial lighting and air conditioning. In addition, architects can ensure that natural materials are used within the structure of the building, alongside views of natural landscapes and my favourite, plants. Who else loves a green living plant wall?

Biophilia Architecture 1

(Image credit: Patrick Schneide/

Biophilia Architecture 2

(Image credit: Fresh Paint/

Incorporating biophilia into interior design - a realistic approach

Not all of us are blessed with homes specially designed with biophilia in mind. Personally, I live in a small, two-bedroom flat on the second floor of an apartment block. My kitchen window even overlooks a plain red brick wall. Initially, when I researched for this blog post, I was exposed to endless images of the most stunning homes. Yet, as nice as these images are, they are not an attainable goal for most.

So, does this mean that our mental and physical well-being is doomed? Absolutely not? Does it mean that we need a large stack of cash to implement some drastic changes? Don’t be silly, of course not.

However, simply putting a few houseplants around your home isn’t going to cut it. You will need to graft a little harder than that. But don’t worry. There are simple, gradual changes you can make to reconnect with nature from inside your own home. A good piece of advice to bear in mind is that biophilic design requires repeated and sustained engagement with nature. So, be consistent with your efforts!

Biophilic Design Room 3

(Image credit: Followtheflow/

Biophilic Design Plants 1

(Image credit: Scott Webb/

7 simple ways to make biophilic design adaptable to the everyday home:

1. Plants, plants and more plants

Research shows that being in a green environment can decrease stress, while plants ​​can improve your mood and create oxygen, providing fresh air for better cognitive function.

If you have none or limited window views of natural landscapes, plants are an excellent way to reconnect with nature. ​Although a living plant wall might not exactly be viable (unless you are feeling brave), there are plenty of other ways to incorporate plant life into your home interior. Here, you want to go big and be bold. Think statement hanging plant pots, stacks of houseplants on a windowsill, plants overfilling shelves, clusters of houseplants everywhere, you get the picture.

However, strive to be strategic and to replicate nature. After all, this is biophilic interior design, and you are bringing the outdoors indoors, quite literally. Therefore, if you opt for a cluster of plants, stick to an odd number of the same type. In the wild, plants tend to cluster together and do not grow symmetrically. Another easy way to create a naturalistic feel is to mimic different plant heights found in ecosystems.

Biophilic Design Plants 2

(Image credit: Huy Phan/

Biophilic Design Plants 3

(Image credit: Brina Blum/

2. Incorporate natural materials

Investing in furnishing made from natural materials is a simple way to embrace and incorporate elements of nature into your home. Some of our favourites include mango wood, cork, bamboo, rattan, organic linen, sustainable timber and stone.

When adding natural materials into your space, we advise being mindful and opting for sustainable materials. Helping to care for Earth and those who live on it will allow you to maintain a more authentic connection to nature.

At Bokel, over 90% of our products are hand-crafted using sustainably sourced mango wood. For these pieces of furniture, we use the wood from trees that have finished their commercial life producing mangoes. This means we effectively use waste material that would otherwise be burnt to make room for new saplings. Make sure to read our full commitment to sustainability here.

Biophilic Design Natural Light 1

(Image credit: Storiès /

Biophilic Design Rattan Wing Chair

(Pictured: Our handcrafted Rattan Wing Chair is perfect – click here to buy it now)

Biophilia Mango Wood

(Image credit: Jakob Owens /

3. Welcome textural contrasts

Once you have brainstormed colours and natural materials to embrace in your interior, think about how you can turn your home into a stimulating nature-inspired sensory paradise. Since nature is rich and diverse, mimic this by contrasting different colours, shapes and textures together.

Our eco-friendly, mango wood carved pieces of furniture are the perfect base to contrast other natural elements. Meanwhile, our accessories are a really cost efficient alternative. Drape one of our Diamond Twill Throws across a chair, or place one of our Rattan Mirrors on the wall.

Biophilic Design Rattan

(Image credit: Stephanie Harvey /

Biophilic Design Tile Carved Furniture

(Pictured: Our Arellano Chest of Drawers – click here to buy it now.)

Biophilic Design Diamond Twill Throw

(Pictured: Our Blue Diamond Twill Throw – click here to buy it now.)

Biophilic Design Rattan Mirror Boho

(Pictured: Our Rattan Boho Mirror Large – click here to buy it now.)

4. Maximise access to natural light

Okay, so this one is a little tricky. Not all homes are lucky to have huge windows, particularly ones south-facing. However, undeniably natural light is essential for maintaining the healthy functioning of our circadian rhythm.

Don’t worry, there are numerous things you can do to improve your access to natural light without adding a wall of steel-glazed windows and doors or removing any bricks to make way for extra windows. To increase your exposure to the sun, move your workspaces, seating, bed and other pieces of furniture closer to windows or skylights. Also, try using curtain tiebacks to pull back curtains and drapes or clearing obstructions from windows, such as dirt and plants.

If all else fails and you need artificial lighting, dimmers are a convenient solution. As technology advances, increasing numbers of biophilic-friendly lights are paving their way onto the market. Some incorporate elements of nature, whilst others are designed to look natural or to mimic the natural pattern of the sun. Pretty impressive.

Biophilic Design Natural Light 2

(Image credit: Brizmaker /

Biophilic Design Natural Light 3

(Image credit: Olena Sergienko /

5. Use a natural colour scheme

Colour has the potential to alter our mood and the feelings we experience in our homes. A great way to select a colour palette is to take inspiration from nature. Ask yourself: Which colours can you see? How do they make you feel? Do different tones of colour work well together?

Once you have curated a nature-inspired colour scheme (not just one colour), use it to create a tranquil and uplifting space. Colours to consider include watery blues, nutty browns, sunny yellow, tropical orange, Earthy terra-cotta, and many more.

Contemplate how these colours work in their natural elements. For instance, you could pair greens with wood to replicate forests or coastal blues with sandy and natural stone colours. Remember, you are recreating the perception of a landscape, so bring different elements in the room together by using various shades of a colour.

Biophilic Design Colour Scheme

(Image credit: Leeser/

Biophilic Design Colours

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6. Add images of nature

According to researchers, looking at images of nature can help improve our mental health. More specifically, research suggests it can improve productivity and concentration levels, alongside increased optimism towards life.

For those living in urban spaces or areas without a scenic view, adding images of nature to your home can replicate the harmonious feeling of being amidst nature. Some straightforward ways to accomplish this are through patterned furnishings, wallpaper, wall art, sculptures and murals.

Biophilic Design Room 5

​​(Image credit: Followtheflow/

Biophilic Design Plant Print 1

​​(Image credit: Designecologist/

Biophilic Design Leaf Resin Embossed

(Our Leafy Writing Desk is currently on sale – click here to buy it now.)

7. Embrace natural forms

In contemporary times, straight lines and right angles appear to dominate many buildings and home interiors. However, when we look at nature, it’s filled with irregular and non-perfect forms. Look at the natural shape of waves, pebbles and flowers. One of the most common shapes found in nature is hexagons. Take note of snowflakes shape or honeycomb in the beehive.

If the shape of your home has little or no natural forms, then do so decoratively. This may be through patterns on furniture, pebble-shaped mirrors and curved edgings. You name it.

Our stunning Bone Inlay Collection features a range of intricate honeycomb-patterned pieces of furniture that are a convenient and easy way to add natural forms into any room. Click here to check out the full collection.

Biophilic Design Shapes

​​(Image credit: Archi_Viz/ )

Biophilic Design Bone Inlay Honeycomb

(Pictured: Our Gilmore Bedside Table 1.0 – click here to buy it now.)

A final note

With mental health on the rise, alongside concerns over Earth’s future, more people are seeking to curate a healthier, more sustainable home. Although biophilic design has been around for over 40 years, within modern-day society it is arguably more relevant than ever.

Will you be embracing any of these biophilic design tips into your home? Let us know in the comment section below, and keep us updated on any changes you make to your own home. We would love to see it. Just send an email to:

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