Biophilic Design: Why Do We Find A Room With A View So Appealing?

Biophilic Design - a room with a view

If I was to ask you to list the main criteria you would like for your dream home, what would they be?

I’m guessing that high up on your wish list might be for your home to be situated in a location with a breathtaking view. (Perhaps by the sea, in the mountains, countryside or in a forest.) And to be able to enjoy the scenery with a panoramic vista of it through your windows.

Biophilic design - bedroom with a view of the sea

We are all attracted to rooms that have an amazing view.

Hotel rooms with the best view are usually the most desired ones. And when it comes to buying a home, it’s that old story – location, location, location. A house by the sea or one located in open green surroundings will cost more than an a identical sized house situated on a nondescript suburban street. In fact, one report found that a house in England with a water view could attract a premium of up to 66%!

So why do we find a room with a view so appealing? What makes it so irresistible that we’re happy to spend more for the hotel room with the stunning view, rather than the one overlooking the back alley?

Mediterranean style living room with sea view

It comes down to prospect and refuge, one of the principle elements of Biophilic Design.

The theory was first proposed by Jay Appleton, a British geographer. He discovered that we instinctively prefer places where we can see a wide view of our surroundings. While at the same time, has partial concealment that gives us a feeling of safety and retreat.

Scandinavian design cabin - Biophilic Design - Prospect and Refuge

A few years back I was trying to figure out and define my interior style. And I realised that one of the themes I kept coming back to was the intersection of nature with architecture and interiors.

Eventually, I discovered that there was a name for this combination of nature and design: biophilia.

Living room with a view of nature - Biophilic Design

Nature is beautiful. It can be captivating and awe-inspiring. But sometimes it can be overwhelming and make us feel a bit vulnerable or lost. While a view of a built up area, with no greenery can feel oppressive – and rather depressing.

But combine the two together and something amazing happens!

Room with a view - prospect and refuge - biophilia

And I think that’s why we are instinctively drawn to a room with a view.  Our attraction is both to the view and the interior. It’s the combination that makes it so compelling and appealing.

And in particular, that element of prospect and refuge.

When we’re able to look out into the open it makes us feel free. We can see opportunities coming. Views into the distance helps lift our spirits.

While at the same time, to be ensconced in room that has an aesthetically pleasing interior gives us a sense of comfort. It makes us feel secure and protected.

A room with a view of the sea

There’s something cosy about sitting at the window watching a storm while you’re warm and dry inside. Looking out at the crashing waves of the sea. Or at a grove of trees swaying in a gentle breeze. And there’s a magic in watching the sun rise over the hills, or on the horizon across the water.

What do you think?

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[Image credits: 1 – Lischer Partner Architekten via gblog | 2 – Hurwitz James Company |  3 – Nuevo Estilo | 4 – Remodelista | 5 – C Home – Photography: Matthew Millman  | 6 – Vipp | 7 – Freshome ]


  1. These views are so breathtaking. This post explains why I love the view from my apartment in the summer and fall where I see the Ottawa River and Gatineau hills so clearly