Biophilic interior design: what is it and how to get the look?

Like most millennials, my plants are my children. I have an inordinate amount of flora for someone who lives in a studio flat. Partially, it is for the aesthetic, but the main purpose is to ensure my space is healthy and airy.

Biophilic interior design can sometimes be dismissed as some silly fad, but it is rooted in science. The basic principles are improving indoor air quality, using eco-friendly materials, and increasing natural light. The benefits include reducing stress, connecting people to nature, and making them feel more grounded.

Now, when you Google “biophilic interior design”, the images that pop up look more like a futuristic city. Picture vast open-plan rooms with trees in the centre of the space, and giant floor-to-ceiling plant walls.

Obviously, few can achieve that level of biophilic interior design. But you can take inspiration from these ideas and recreate the look with your own twist.

There are several elements which can help you achieve biophilic kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms, so let’s explore them together…

Free standing bath and walk-in shower with plant wall Showerwall panels
Plant Wall bathroom wall panels, Showerwall.

The more house plants, the better

The easiest way to cheat biophilic interior design is to include many house plants and create an urban jungle. Immediately, the indoor greenery helps create a tranquil space.

As a plant mum myself, my main advice is to look for the ones which work well for particular rooms rather than picking the ones that just look good. For example, there is no point in filling a dark, plain bathroom corner with a plant that needs direct sunlight.

Also, remember there is no shame in purchasing artificial solutions as they can sometimes be the best option.

When it comes to their placement, Anna Elkington from Melody Maison recommends choosing both indoor hanging baskets and standing pots for added diversity.

Plants are one of the most common biophilic design elements. They can be placed in a range of different rooms from kitchens to bathrooms and easily personalised with various pots and stands, placed on different levels. And if you’re a low-maintenance homeowner, then try using faux plants as they can create the same effect with little to no effort needed,” she says.

We have a helpful guide on low-maintenance plants if you are worried about killing yours.

Electric blinds, Thomas Sanderson.
Caro grey velvet bed, £329.99, Furniture and Choice.
Biophilic interior design: Four poster bed with floral bedsheets
Floreana floral bedding duvet by Harlequin in Leaf Coral, from £85, The Rug Seller.

Sometimes, less is more

Take away the green from most biophilic interior design projects and you are often left with something that looks fairly minimalistic. Soft neutral colour palettes and exposed wood are ideal for that stripped-back aesthetic.

This trend highlights the importance of self-reflection through serenity, muted tones and raw materials.

Ruth Lavender, design expert at Benchmarx Kitchens

“Biophilic kitchens are perfect for those who prefer a slower pace of life,” explains Ruth Lavender, design expert at Benchmarx Kitchens. “It’s a ‘less is more’ approach which draws on influence from nature, bringing a sense of calm into the home amidst so much external uncertainty.”

Green kitchen with brass details
Pick wall light in black and brass, from £110, Pooky.

Nature-inspired shades

The colour palette is pretty straightforward: anything nature-inspired. However, don’t be confined to just those earthy shades. You can add pops of pink, yellow or blue to make the design your own and blend in some of your favourite colours.

Natural materials, a fresh colour palette and plenty of natural light beaming through your windows are vital to emulating this easy-breezy trend.

Jo Trotman, marketing manager at The Residence Collection

Biophilic interior design is also all about textures. Lee Frost, director at Waters Baths of Ashbourne, suggests bringing the outdoors into the home with the help of tactile, organic materials and an elemental colour palette.

“Wood, minerals, and foliage all have pride of place in a bathroom design where the focal point might be a luxurious, freestanding bath made entirely from stone, and sculpted to form smooth organic curves,” says Lee.

Biophilic interior design: Botanical bathroom with orange storage solution and patterned tiles
Oasis tiles, price on application, Realonda.
Pink bed with floral sheets and plants
Primrose super king size bed frame, £1045, Button & Sprung.

Biophilic interior design ideas for kitchens

So, what are some other ways of embracing this trend in your kitchen, I hear you ask? Start by incorporating a combination herb box.

“It’s perfect for injecting the natural world into an urban environment, as it is both sustainable and aesthetically pleasing,” advises Matt Phillips, head of UK operations at Rotpunkt UK. This way, you will always have healthy ingredients to cook with.

“This unique kitchen element is ideal for growing fresh herbs that you can tend daily or cultivating fragrant flowers to add natural aroma and beauty to the space.”

When it comes to the overall look, embrace the botanical shades of nature. How? “With furniture in gentle grey, fresh white, and green-blue colour palettes combined with different species of solid and veneered wood in varying degrees of texture – from rough sawn and brushed through to fine grain and grooved surfaces,” continues Matt.

“In fact, oak is the wood of choice this year, able to take on virtually any hue like light beige, dark brown and even whitewashed to replicate the look and feel of mother nature.”

Dark oat panelling in modern kitchen
Dark split oak panelling, Rotpunkt.
Self-watering planters, £84.99, Lechuza.
Dark kitchen with plants
Pantograph pendant, Arteriors.

Biophilic interior design ideas for bathrooms

In the past few years, we’ve seen a shift towards creating sanctuary spaces where you can rest and recharge.

People value their spaces more than ever, and incorporating plants and calming natural tones brings about a sense of well-being and a spa-like feel.

James Roberts, director at Sanctuary Bathrooms

“Pairing green hues with natural wood-textured fittings and furniture, such as vanities or storage units, ties together the natural tones of the outdoors and can completely change the feel of a typical white, modern-looking bathroom,” says James Roberts, director at Sanctuary Bathrooms.

“Deep green shades with a porcelain finish offer the feel of being immersed in greenery and have the ‘wet’ look of the outdoors,” he adds.

Lastly, patterned tiles with botanical shapes are also perfect for recreating this nature-inspired feel in your space.

biophilic interior design ideas with green freestanding bath with grey patterned tiles
Riverlands Melange porcelain tiles, £68.32 per box, Ca’ Pietra.
biophilic interior design ideas in a modern bathroom with natural tiles and freestanding bath
Almande Greige metro tiles, £48.06 per box, CTD Tiles.
biophilic interior design ideas with natural stone bathroom with tree
Allure bathroom range, Grohe.

Enjoyed this post about biophilic interior design? Then check out more tips on bringing the outside in

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