Bring the outdoors in

Bringing the outdoors inside (aka Biophilic Interior Design) is a hot interior design trend. It's also a great Go Green initiative. Since it's been more than two years since COVID-19 made us isolate ourselves at home, kids and adults yearn for outdoor adventures. But remote workers have deadlines looming. There's no time to smell the roses. So, if you're one of the millions of people suffering from a nature deficiency, here's 10 ways to invite Mother Nature inside your home.

Outdoor trends affecting interior design

According to Houzz, searches for artificial plants and trees as well as gazebos and fire pits have increased. However, the Environmental Protection Agency said that the average American spends “93% of their life indoors.” That time is either attracting or detracting from your health. Sustainable interior design seeks to reduce the negative impacts for the health and well-being of people and the environment.

10 ways to incorporate biophilic design interiors

1. Get your hands dirty

Gardening is a trending hobby. According to statistics conducted by Terrarium Tribe, plant sales generate $15.23 billion in the U.S. Millennials were some of the largest group of buyers in 2021.

Plants release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide. Almost 60% of plant buyers believe plants are important for health and well-being.

Start with low-maintenance varieties for your residential biophilic interior design. In North Carolina and the Southeast, a peace lily, snake plant and philodendron are popular. Cacti and succulents are classic choices.

The ficus plant is the iconic office plant. However, most people don't know that it removes toxins like Formaldehyde and Toluene and improves air quality. African violet, orchids and bromeliads complete your selections and add a tropical flair.  

2. Maximize color

Color psychologists say that warm colors like red, yellow and orange evoke feelings of love and happiness. Cool colors like blue and green can be soothing and inspire calm. Black is associated with authority. In academia, a doctorial graduate's gown is black. A judge's robe is also black.  

Pantone’s 2022 Color of the Year is Very Peri. It's described as “vivifying violet with electrifying red undertones.” If this color doesn't stir your heart, nothing will.

As a green certified interior designer, I have clients in Wilmington, N.C. who like neutral colors. I enjoy working with nontoxic paints from Sherwin-Williams. Their popular colors include Agreeable Gray, Alabaster and Accessible Beige. I also like Benjamin Moore's colors. My favorite ones are Chantilly Lace, Cloud White and Edgecomb Gray.  

3. Add water

Who doesn't dream of a beach vacation with crystal clear blue water? But if that’s more of a fantasy than a reality, use your imagination. Include some H20 into your biophilic interior office design theme.

Maybe it's a solar-powered ceramic fountain or a koi fountain. Perhaps you could display a picture of marine life or a tropical island. Maybe a wall-mounted clock in the shape of an anchor would set it off. Complete the nautical or beachy look with driftwood, polished stone and seashells.  

4. Turn up the volume

When was the last time you heard the sound of a rhythmic jazz trio, relaxing rainfall or riveting movie track featuring surround sound? Well, these simple pleasures can be yours with a home theater system.

A green certified interior designer can collaborate with an audio-visual specialist to create a customized theater. Recycled materials, engineered woods and nontoxic finishes ensure a high-quality product that uses the space efficiently.

5. Get a nature-inspired home

The next time you're in your backyard, pick up a rock from your outdoor landscape and bring it inside. Select the perfect fallen branch from trees like red maple, river birch or dogwood. Assemble them to create a masterful centerpiece.

Similarly, use citrus fruits and vegetables. Garnish them with Brazil nuts, pecans and walnuts.

6. Use natural materials

Whether it's cotton, jute, or ramie, you must experience the feel and function of these natural fabrics. Sisal and hemp can be woven to make a decorative wall hanging or rug. Seagrass is durable and resists stains. It can even be used as wallpaper.

Texture and patterns provide eye appeal. Imperfections are the hallmarks of green interior design. Don’t be afraid to experiment with sustainable fabrics applied in new or unusual ways.

7. Watch your step

Today’s modern flooring is a nontoxic, high-quality product. They fit perfectly with the vision of a biophilic designer. Jorden Swart, owner, Green Flooring Supply, said, “The COREtec brand of flooring is the most popular brand we sell. Customers like Calypso Oak, Grand Makkah and Cyril Oak.”

Also, engineered wood and stone floors reduce environmental impact. Flooring with cork backing is comfortable and resists scratches. See my photo.

Flooring Interior Design Services

LVP with cork backing

8. Let there be light

Lighting is available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Thanks to solar power, lighting is lightweight and portable. As pendants, they can hang from the ceiling. Lamps can offer varying levels of light and are controlled with a remote unit.

The Department of Energy says that a light-emitting diode (LED) saves at least 75%. So an LED bulb may be more expensive ($5 versus $1 for incandescent lighting), but it can last 20 times longer.

9. It's child's play

Most parents don't consider the plastic packaging covering their child's furniture and accessories. Yet, The Children's Health and Environmental Study said, “…prenatal exposure to common chemicals called phthalates in our diets and homes may affect the reproductive development of boys…”  So, buy refurbished items or do business with a green retailer.

10. Reduce noise pollution

Consider an upgrade of your doors and windows as an investment. Optimal efficiency means lower energy bills.

Furthermore, install insulation made from sheep's wool, cotton or denim. It stabilizes room temperature. The chances of catching a cold are reduced. 

Insulation cuts noise pollution by 30%–40%. It promotes a quiet environment that's good for studying and sleeping.  

Biophilic interior design is so popular now because not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it's based on facts. Science proves the health benefits of humans communing with nature. Researchers said, “Green exposure is associated with health benefits…”  Create your own green spaces and enjoy good clean living in your home.

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