How To Use Biophilic Design In Your Home To Increase Happiness And Well-Being

Biophilic design in the home

Biophilic design is far more than just another passing trend.

Designers and architects increasingly recognise both the importance and benefits of combining nature with design. And biophilia is fast becoming an integral element of interior design, architecture and planning.

As well as improving the look and feel of your home, biophilia can also increase your feelings of happiness and well-being. Research has shown that exposure to nature can lower stress, elevate your mood, make you feel more relaxed and improve cognitive functions.

And the good news is that it is easy to introduce some biophilic design into your home. You don’t need to give it a full makeover or hire a specialist. Just a few changes can make a big difference.

Here’s a short introduction to a few of the guiding principles of biophilic design. Along with some ideas of how to add these nature-based design elements into your home.

Natural light and air

Exposure to natural daylight is essential for our health. It helps balance our hormonal levels of serotonin and melatonin. (The hormones linked to our mood and sleep regulation.)

So maximise the natural light coming into your home. Don’t obstruct your windows with too many objects on the sills, or have fussy curtains. And keep your windows clean 😉

If you’ve got small windows, think about different ways you could increase the amount of natural light. Consider adding mirrors or reflective surfaces around your home to bounce more light around.

And whenever possible, open your windows for fresh air and natural air flow.

Biophilic Design - views of nature

Views of nature

If your home looks out onto a beautiful vista, make the most of it. Especially if overlooks open spaces or trees. Views of nature reduce stress and anxiety.

Design the layout of your interior with some seating facing the view so you can relax and enjoy it.

Alternatively, if the view isn’t appealing, but you have some outdoor space. Think about planting some greenery to obscure it. You’ll then have a view of nature outside your window instead. 

Pictures of nature

Research has shown that even looking at pictures of nature makes us feel better. In a study conducted in a Swedish hospital in 1990, patients recovering from surgery experienced less anxiety when looking at pictures of nature compared with pictures of abstract art.

So if there isn’t a good view from your window, make up for it with some stunning artwork.

Brighten up your walls with beautiful landscapes, botanic prints, and other nature images. What about that beautiful holiday photo you took of the sun setting over sea? Have it enlarged and turn it into a print for your wall.

Biophilic design plants


Bring nature into your home and with plants.

Plants create calmer more tranquil spaces. They bring your rooms to life. And can improve air quality.

You could display some succulents on a side table, brighten up a boring corner with a palm, or grow fresh herbs in your kitchen. You could even hang some plant pots on your wall.

(And for more plant inspiration, check out the Urban Jungle Bloggers series.)

Biophilic design - nature

Prospect and Refuge 

We naturally like seeing wide views from a point of ‘refuge’ – a smaller, darker enclosed area for protection. We like to feel cocooned while viewing the outside world.

A window seat makes the perfect place for prospect and refuge. You could also think about creating a cosy reading nook in a little corner of your home. Or even a strategically placed armchair to enjoy the scene beyond your window.

I hope these ideas have given you some inspiration. How are you going to bring some biophilic design into your home?

[Image credits: 1 – Femina |  2 – Abaton | 3 – Fantastic Frank | 4 – Safdie Rabines Architects ]


  1. What a great article, Sarah! Totally agree with all your points and I am working hard on making my tiny downtown rooftop apartment as biophilic as possible. Many many more people should consider this principles!

    • Thanks so much for your kind comments, Igor. From the images I’ve seen on your blog, your apartment is so beautifully styled. And I look forward to seeing any new biophilic styling elements.