It’s no coincidence that you feel good when you’re outdoors. There’s something about being surrounded by nature—tall trees, colorful flowers, chirping birds—that makes you less stressed and puts you in a better mood. The human craving for a connection to nature is called biophilia, and that has led to the style known as biophilic design. It aims to blur the lines between your outdoor and indoor spaces by mimicking the functions, systems, and cycles found in nature.
Read on for a few simple ways to bring this fresh style to your home:
To incorporate biophilic design in your outdoor living space, you could create a natural canopy using tree branches, says Ipek Kaynar Rohloff, an architectural-design strategist in Maplewood, New Jersey. “Or design a place to sit by using branches or leaves like a bird making a nest.”
Sometimes newly built homes lack warmth and charm—biophilic design choices can help add both. Choose reclaimed wood or natural materials such as bamboo and rattan for dining tables, headboards, and plant containers.
Incorporating the principles of biophilic design can be as simple as opening a window or door and letting a warm breeze permeate the space. A screened-in porch works well too.
If you’ve got the space for it, install a small fountain in your outdoor living space or backyard. Too much for your square footage? Go with a birdbath instead. Set it in a shady area to keep the water cool.
One of the most meaningful ways to transform your space with a biophilic design is to bring in regional habitat characteristics, says Rohloff. “For example, in dry, arid zones, cacti or succulents could be part of a rock garden.” Find out what’s native to your area and install those live plants in every room of your home. Or start a windowsill herb garden.
To maximize the light in your home, rearrange sofas and chairs to be near where the sun comes in. They’ll easily become the most inviting spots for reading, working, and socializing.