Did you know your environment can have an impact on your well-being?

Growing up in a small miner’s cottage in South Wales I was always sitting on the doorstep or the window sill looking out at the world. I found being outdoors much more calming than sitting indoors.

It’s only now I really think about it and why I was happier outdoors. It seems strange to me that I always wanted to be an interior designer when I preferred being outside. Perhaps subconsciously I knew that my dislike for the icing like artex on the walls and ceiling which would cut your arm open with one false move and the lack of natural light had quite an impact on my well-being and I wanted to change it.

Now, there have been studies that show that our environment does impact on our well-being, influencing our levels of creativity, concentration, productivity and even has an impact on our stress levels.

Ultimately many of us, especially those of us who work in offices and factories and are indoors most of the time have lost our connection with nature. By bringing nature back into our lives can improve things.

The idea that we need to connect with nature is known as Biophilia. And designing to introduce natural influences which impacts us on a positive level is known as Biophilic design. It seems I have had an interest in Biophilic design even before I knew what it was. I have always preferred to use natural materials and snubbed the glossy white tables and bling over something more natural.

So how can we bring nature into our spaces, where we work and where we live?

There are 14 patterns of biophilic design which I’m going to go into greater detail in later blog posts but for now, here’s just a few things we can do to help improve our well-being.

Ensure you have a visual connection to nature

If you are working from home it’s better to have a view from your work-space out to nature. Move your desk so your next to a window. Also make sure your curtains and blinds are open and get as much natural light inside as possible. We all know that a bit of sunshine can improve our moods. Non-Rhythmic Sensory Stimuli is something I find very calming. This is movement, when you can see grasses or trees swaying, shadows of trees moving on your walls or even your curtains moving with the breeze.

Biophilic design. shadows
Shadows of foliage swaying in the wind during a DIY project

Open the windows.

By opening the windows, you get a non-visual connection to nature. This can be the smells of freshly cut grass, the sound of the birds and the rain. All helping you to connect with nature. Subtle changes in temperature and airflow can also help us to feel invigorated and energised and replace stale air with fresh air. Multi-sensory experiences are known to reduce stress hormones and blood pressure which is why we tend to find running water, music and natural materials in relaxing spaces such as spas.

Get some Plants

The most obvious thing to do is to bring in plants. Position them where you spend most of your time and where you look. There are hundreds of houseplants to choose from and for those who tend to kill plants, it just takes practice. I’ve killed quite a few before I got the hang of it. There are still a few plants I cannot keep alive – string of pearls I’m talking to you! So I tend to avoid those now despite how pretty they are. The action of caring for plants is also good for mindfulness and plants also help improve indoor air quality by removing toxins from the air.

If you still think plants seem too much of an effort for you…As much as I hate to say it, fake plants can also have a positive impact. “shudder.” It’s the visual connection you’ll get but obviously you’ll be missing out on the other benefits and we are all trying to avoid using single use plastics.

Surround yourself with natural materials and patterns.

According to research outlined in Interfaces’ “Human Spaces 2.0: Biophilic Design in Hospitality”. Being surrounded by natural materials and patterns improves our comfort in a space and improves our creative performance. One of my go to materials is wood. I love the patterns of the grain, all the different tones within it and the warmth it gives to a space. Also use natural fabrics like wool and organic patterns from nature in textiles or in wallpaper patterns. These are just a few things we can do to increase our connection with nature. This in turn can help reduce our stress levels, blood pressure and increase our productivity and creativity.

If you need help introducing Biophilic influences into your space, get in touch for a consultation or if you’re looking for a something more, I offer interior design services. Just email me
on yvonne@studiovonne.com for enquires.