Let nature nourish you with sustainable, biophilic home design
By Margarita Bravo, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Margarita Bravo
Nature-inspired biophilia is the hottest interior design trend for 2022, and it marries perfectly with your sustainable home. Biophilic design incorporates wellness, color psychology, environmentalism, and much more to take green one step further in beautiful, healthy homes.
What is biophilic design, you ask? Let me break it down. As a luxury interior designer, I’ve seen it all when it comes to green design trends. But I have to say that I love that biophilia is trending. This design strategy focuses on connecting humans to nature. And so much of sustainability is truly connecting our lives and actions with the natural world around us.
To achieve the biophilia design ethos, you have to bring the outdoors inside. Embracing this trend goes beyond creating a beautiful and inviting living space, it also supports your overall wellbeing. Studies show that spending time outdoors is associated with health, wellness, and stress reduction. Further, images of nature, natural colors, and organic materials, shapes, and patterns can stimulate that same sense of connection.
Biophilic design embraces sustainability
Know this: you can’t separate biophilia from sustainability. The two really do work hand in hand. Authentic biophilic design sources local, natural, and raw materials, which is the pinnacle of sustainability. Sustainable materials like bamboo or salvaged stone are great examples of sustainable designs that also soothe the soul. I always look to incorporate sustainable resources wherever possible, never compromising the luxury look and feel that my clients are looking for.
I tend to use antiques and reclaimed wood materials, whether for a kitchen refacing or creating a focal point in a living room. Using reclaimed wood pieces and antiques infuses immense character into the design. So living a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle does not have to comprise the luxury and wellness you want in your home and life.
It is definitely possible to achieve sustainable biophilic design without breaking the bank. I advise a little research and resourcefulness. Reach out to your community. There are endless possibilities to incorporate beautiful and unique sustainable materials into a nourishing biophilic decor.
It’s a jungle in here
One of the most joyous and easy ways to unlock the biophilia trend is to simply add living florals and greenery in abundance. Layer oversized potted plants such as fiddle palms, bamboo palms, sansevieria, and money trees with medium and smaller-sized plants in rich and bright containers to add drama and depth. Terracotta is eminently sustainable, and there are some recycled-plastic pots out there. But look for vintage pots for something truly interesting.
Sourcing indigenous foliage is crucial to really nailing biophilia, as you want the design and space to truly reflect the natural world surrounding it. Look to local, organic growers or swap with other plant-lovers in your community. Overall, you’re reducing the carbon footprint of your decor. For the ultimate drama you can add a living wall. This can be tricky to execute, but when done properly it is absolutely worth it.
You will also want to bring plenty of natural textures into your home. Natural wood, grasses, and textured accents are a design must. Don’t be afraid to really reflect the world around you with your accent elements, including luxurious textiles in bold organic prints, to achieve the biophilia ethos. I love the Rocco Coffee Table from my Sorella line to add a sleek and modern take on biophilic design. Handcrafted from natural walnut, this table has a concave core that can be filled with locally sourced natural elements and accessories. Think seed pods, a bird’s nest, driftwood, shells, river rocks, etc. But make sure they’re collected ethically and sustainably.
For new construction, biophilic designs source plenty of local materials and focus on space efficiency, incorporating cross ventilation to avoid hot rooms. Research the best orientation to build your home, and take advantage of sunlight. Usually, north facing is the most effective way to flood the space with natural light, because you can never have enough connection to the natural cycle of the day.
When it comes to architecture, focus on adaptable spaces for indoor-outdoor living. You could have a huge window wall that slides or folds open onto a landscape vista; or choose comfy furniture and a writing table for a screened-in porch near a bird feeder. In any case, you’ll want to have an abundance of windows. Oversized skylights and unexpected tubular skylights are another great way to bring in natural light. This can also be a sustainable option, as “sun tunnels” save energy: during the day they light up darker interiors like bathrooms, hallways, and pantries.
Water features are another versatile way to home in on the trend. Not only do water features bring a visual, kinetic biophilic cue into your space, the sound of running water is relaxing and sensorial. Indoor water features naturally humidify and clean the air in your home. Indeed, an intentionally designed indoor water feature can stop visitors in their tracks.
Don’t be afraid of wallpaper. Incorporating a beautiful and natural wallpaper design into your home can achieve the biophilia vibe. Plus there are lots of nontoxic, sustainable options. You don’t want the pattern to be too busy, but don’t shy away from patterns, textures, and floral illustrations. A linen or grasscloth textured wallpaper will be somewhat irregular. Embrace it!
Every day we are becoming more conscious of how our lives impact the environment, and how the environment impacts our lives in return. Don’t just conserve the resources that the good Earth has provided. Cherish them, celebrate them, and let nature nurture you in your own sustainable, biophilic home design. It’s the perfect time to get started.
Luxury interior designer and decorator Margarita Bravo has locations in Denver, Aspen, Montecito, and most recently in Miami. She offers full-service design and interior designs that serve a discerning clientele of residential and commercial clients. With a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and interior design studies, Margarita brings a technical, creative yet down-to-earth approach. She focuses on the client’s ambitions and then weaves in her own creativity and convictions along the way.
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