Merje Shaw is founder of Scandiscapes, a new dedicated online platform for Scandi design lovers seeking to reconnect with nature through stylish biophilic decor products. Here she shares advice on how to incorporate biophilic interior design into your home.
Background of biophilia
In today’s fast paced world humans are beginning to lose their connection to the natural world, especially in urban areas. More and more urban architects, city planners and wellness specialists are becoming to understand this and counteract this by incorporating nature into our cities. This is a phenomenon called biophilic design; drawing what defines nature such as plants, sunlight, natural materials and fresh air into the design of our spaces. Great examples of this are the Bosco Verticale in Milan and the entire city of Singapore which has rebranded itself as a garden city.
Now, it may take a while for London to catch up with these urban design trends but there are ways to ensure you don’t miss out on the insights whilst we await greater enlightenment. One way to feel more connected to nature is to be inspired by the great outdoors in your home decor. When biophilic design is incorporated into your living space, it not only looks stylish but it also makes your home emotionally healthier.
Bring the outside in
Houseplants undeniably add an element of Scandi-cool into your home, but they actually go much further than just decor. Introducing plants into your home is one of the easiest ways to counteract the negative effects of city-living by improving air quality and giving us a greater sense of wellbeing. If you have never looked after a plant baby, start out with ones that are easy to care for such as succulents, cacti and air plants. Once you feel more confident, build up your collection into an indoor garden and adopt more adventurous plants such as calatheas, prayer plants or even members of the fig family like rubber plants or fiddle leaf figs. If you are already a plant parenting pro, why not consider making a living wall (a vertical garden of living plants) which can vastly improve the air quality in your home. Always make sure to research how to care for your plant – for example if the plant likes direct sunlight, if it prefers to be in a well lit room out of direct sunlight, how often it needs to be watered and what humidity it likes. The easiest way to work this out is to understand where it naturally grows – the forest floor-dwelling ferns that usually grow by streams will not be happy on a brightly lit window sill, just like cacti will not thank you for putting them in a dark, damp spot.
Nature inspired interiors
Studies show that the artwork of nature reduces anxiety, so forget abstract art and source beautiful prints that pay homage to mother nature. In addition to this, beautiful soft furnishings with plant motifs can help incorporate biophilic design into your interior.
Use natural materials
Using natural materials like wood, clay, cork, rattan and wool is a simple way of bringing nature into your home. Not only does it add depth and character through all different textures, it’s also a timeless and stylish interiors look. You can take this one step further and reuse natural materials – for example reclaimed wooden floor or furniture – which is even more eco-friendly.
Exposure to natural light is essential for our health and helps balance the hormones linked to sleep regulation and mood. Maximise the natural light coming into your home by having blinds instead of curtains, not obstructing your windows with too many objects on the sills and keeping your windows clean. If you are lucky enough to look out over a garden, why not create a cosy little snug area which looks out at the view; this would be the perfect place to work or to read or to just sit and think.
Our homes should allow us to have plenty of fresh air, so open those windows – yes, even in winter for a couple of minutes! Not only will this freshen your home, it will also connect you to the seasons and the weather. What’s better than listening to rain on a cosy evening?
About the expert
Merje Shaw is founder of Scandiscapes, a new dedicated online platform for Scandi design lovers seeking to reconnect with nature through stylish biophilic decor products.