Where are my manors? Before we get into the nitty gritty and cover the 10 biophilic buys that I’ve put together to help you bring an element of nature into your home, I should really introduce you properly…
What is Biophilia?
Biophilia (meaning love of nature) focuses on human’s innate need to feel connected to nature, not only to survive but to thrive. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the concept of Biophilc Design in homes and office spaces has been getting a lot more airtime as of late due to the increased amount of time we’ve all been spending in our homes.
I have to be honest, I have only been familiar with the term for the last 18 months or so, I was made aware of the concept when a number of bloggers from around the world kept contacting me and asking me for images of our home to use as examples of good Biophilic Design.
I even wrote a blog post named ‘The Accidental Biophilic‘…which is not to say that the 456 million house plants and wooden clad walls, tripped over the jute rug and got themselves accidentally wedged behind the forest green sofa, but that we made all of these choices instinctively, while creating our little sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of city living.
We were not following any trends, we were just looking to make those clear connections to the outside world and let me tell you, the spaces we’ve created have been completely life changing – particularly during the recent lockdown.
Biophilic buys that won’t cost you your deposit.
I understand that cladding 70 percent of your home is not everyones cup of tea, but also that it is just not possible if you’re renting, or living somewhere for a short period of time. I’ve put together a list of 10 Biophilic buys that can transform your space using some of those all important natural materials that we have in our home, but without the need for power tools. Hurrah.
Rattan. Wicker. Webbing. Repeat.
The trend for rattan and webbed furniture is not going anywhere, which is fantastic news because it’s neutral in colour so it will go with pretty much anything, it’s not too pricey and you can take it with you when you move.
We have a foldable rattan chair in our home and it looks great everywhere. I’ve compared finding a foldable (and comfortable) chair to finding your dream dress that fits you perfectly and then discovering that it has pockets too – the dream, right? Unfortunately the one we have from Wayfair is sold out at the moment, but, I have found a similar one for my list of biophilic buys that would look great in a bedroom, living space and outdoor space too.
This chair from Cox and Cox is a dead ringer for ours, although it doesn’t fold, the webbing and stunning natural wood grain is tactile and would warm up any space. It’s versatile, excellent value and super lightweight so it can move around your home easily without damaging your back or your bank balance.
Botanical Biophilic Buys.
Images of natural landscapes and prints that remind us of nature are a great way to bring the outside in when there are no windows in a space. Add them to your home office or desk space to give you that visual respite from screen time when you’re unable to position your desk looking out to nature.
There are some amazing peel and stick wall papers around for renters that are worried about making changes to their homes that might cost them their deposit, or aren’t planning on sticking around for very long…get it, stick around…I’m here all week guys.
This peel and stick wallpaper from Etsy is a brilliant biophilic buy, as is the one seen above that we’ve used in our reading nook under the stairs. Studies have found that we find repetitive patterns such as fractals found in leaves soothing to look at, making them the perfect backdrop for a desk space.
Biophilic buys in natures colour pallet.
Colours associated with nature can help us feel better in the spaces that we live, sleep and work. We painted our Snug in a dark forest green colour, it’s a room that we retreat to in the evening when our son is in bed so it works really well in there, but we realise that not everyone is able or confident enough to commit to such a dark colour all over the walls, ceiling and woodwork. You can easily bring colour and pattern in through your soft furnishings or furniture choices though.
We’ve used the same forest green colour in our garden room, it compliments the dark blue kitchen and plant wall perfectly, but perhaps even better than that, this ingenious deign by Snug Sofa arrives in a box, and can be assembled in 2 minutes flat – making it the perfect fit for the tiniest of living spaces or narrow hallways like ours. You can add on extra sections to make a corner sofa and they also have a compact ‘Snuggler’ version for cosier spaces.
Biophilic buys using natural texture.
Cover up old inherited furniture or cosy up a space by layering them with a sheep skin. Their natural fibres mean that they are much more efficient at regulating a steady body temperature when used on furniture and in bedding. Sheepskin and leather, in particular, absorb moisture instantly and omit it back into the air up to seven times faster than synthetic materials, helping to cool you down quicker and of course keep you warm in the winter too.
Make sure you choose a reputable company where these products are sustainably and ethically sourced as a bi-product of the meat industry such as The Wool Company, but if this still makes you feel uncomfortable then you can of course always go faux.
Leafy biophilic buys.
I couldn’t do a biophilic buy shopping list without mentioning plants. I think it’s fair to say that judging from our vast collection of house plants I am a firm believer of the benefits of having a lush green house plant in your line of sight at all times. Start from the floor and work your way all the way up to the ceiling to give that impression of being completely immersed in nature. I did a previous blog post listing 5 indestructible house plants for those of us that are limited with time and perhaps don’t have much natural light in their homes. You can read all about that here.
For those of us that are completely lacking in the green thumb department, I have included these amazing faux plants from Dowsing and Reynolds in my round up of biophilic buys. We have them in our desk space as we don’t get much natural light on the landing, and sometimes watering a plant above electrical equipment can feel a bit precarious, so this is a great option.
We have a lot of ferns in our home and honestly the quality of these are so incredible that you would be hard pushed to tell if they are real or faux. They even have a couple of dry leaves mixed in, just like a real plant to make them even more realistic.
Timber biophilic buys.
We love cladding. We have it in four of the rooms in our home and are already planning a fifth. After living with it in our home for the last two years I can confirm that the natural texture, grain and colour is so calming and welcoming.
Biophilic beddy buys.
You don’t have to clad the entire wall to achieve the same effect though. Wooden bed frames and home accessories have been shown to benefit your health even while you are asleep. Sleeping in solid wooden beds not only reduces blood pressure and anxiety but also improves a person’s emotional state and relaxation levels.
This headboard from Tika Moon ticks all the boxes, and even includes some handy little selves for your book, a glass of water and of course more plants.
This side table from French Connection is another great biophilic buy as it can be used as a bedside table or a handy little stool for extra seating, bagging you extra points for multi functionality.
Have you ever noticed that you feel energised and drowsy at the same times every day? Well this is all thanks to our circadian rhythm. Put simply, it’s our sleep/wake cycle. We all have a 24 hour internal clock running in the background of our brains, that cycles between sleepiness and alertness. It’s the reason we annoyingly end up wide awake at 7.00 am even on a Sunday, when we’ve been looking forward to a lie-in all week.
We can recreate the cool blue light similar to natural daylight and the warmer, red light as seen at dusk with cleaver dynamic lighting.
This Lumie Alarm Clock is an effective way to reset your internal clock and the daily cycle of hormones, metabolism and sleep. It gently brightens 30 minutes before your alarm time, waking you naturally as it reaches full brightness.
Philips Hue also sell some amazing bulbs and lamps enabling you to adjust the hue and the intensity of your lighting via your mobile phone, creating the perfect atmosphere whether you need to unwind and relax, getting you ready for a good nights sleep or marking you spring out of bed in the morning, alert and ready for the day.
Biophilic buys to keep you grounded.
Finally, one of the biggest investments that you can make in your home is the flooring. Using natural materials on the floor such as wood are warm to the touch and when walked on bare foot, can really ground us.
When changing the flooring is not possible, use a rug in a natural material such as sisal, jute or wool. There are some really cost affective ones on the market. As you can see we have used this one from H&M in our hallway to protect the wooden flooring from muddy footprints but it would also do a great job of hiding a grubby laminate or Lino flooring that isn’t quite to your taste.
This one comes in 2 colours and various size options to suit your space. I always use a rug grip underneath to avoid slipping.
Finish off any room with some useful storage that is guaranteed to add texture and character where there is currently non. Belly baskets come in all sorts of designs so you can bring in some pattern too – they also make an excellent oversized plant pot and are lightweight, making them the perfect biophilic buy for your shelves.
This one from Dunelm would look great in a bathroom filled with rolled up linen towels, or, you could use it to store your toilet rolls. Use it in your home office to store poster rolls, fill it with throws in your living space or you could even place it next to a wood burner and stack it with chopped up fire wood for that cosy rustic feel.
So there you have it, 10 biophilic buys and some really simple ways to bring nature into your home – I hope you found it useful.
For more tips on how to introduce biophilic design principles into your home or workspace, you can read Marianna’s new book ‘At Home with Nature‘.