There’s nothing like fresh air, warm sunlight, and a gorgeous, sprawling backdrop to make you feel relaxed and at ease. Spending some time among natural elements is a great way to maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle, but, between long days at work and inclement weather, it can be difficult to spend quality time in the great outdoors.
This season, bring a bit of Mother Nature inside and incorporate biophilic design into your office space.
Biophilic designs use elements of the natural world to create an environment that doesn’t feel so cold and detached. Ideally, we would all be able to live in a space where we can step outside and be minutes away from hiking trails, beaches, lakes, and other natural wonders. Since this lifestyle isn’t always feasible, the next best thing is to design a space that recreates a fraction of this natural energy.
As urban sprawl continues and people work longer and longer hours in the office, concrete, plain walls, and artificial elements are becoming the norm. Break out of this synthetic environment and improve your wellbeing with a biophilic office design.
Office environments can be stressful. Whether it’s a remote work situation or a traditional setup, these spaces can feel impersonal, cold, and uninspiring. While actually taking a stroll through a park or admiring ocean views is a great way to reduce stress, incorporating landscape imagery, natural white noise (like the sound of rain or a flowing riverbed), and plenty of plants can still induce gentle, pleasant feelings, even at work.
With an improved mood, you’ll find yourself being more productive throughout the day and experiencing less burnout after you log off in the evening.
Multi-sensory stimulation aids brain activity
While seeing natural elements is a crucial part of this design, creating a multi-sensory experience really takes it to the next level. For example, a miniature desk water fountain is appealing to look at and provides calming, bubbling background noise. Be sure to also open any windows to let in some fresh air and natural light. By creating a more immersive environment, you can better simulate the feeling of being in your outdoor happy place.
Open the blinds or windows
The easiest way to include biophilic design into your office is to open the blinds or windows. Letting natural light into your space, displaying a view of trees and greenery (if you have such a view), and allowing a gentle breeze to enter the room invites nature inside. Even just exposing yourself to natural light can do a lot for your health, and can even help you sleep better.
Decorate with plants
Plants are an obvious boon to your space since they add color and a taste of the outdoors, but they can also be hugely beneficial to your mental health. Taking care of a living thing and interacting with your plants imparts a sense of calm and serenity, which can mitigate the effects of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.
Not only do they provide a sense of calm, but plants, especially aloe vera, snake plants, dragon trees, and peace lilies, are also natural air purifiers. Through the process of photosynthesis, these plants can take in carbon dioxide and other toxins in the air and release clean oxygen.
Decorate with raw, natural materials
Whenever possible, use raw or natural materials. Opt for a solid wood desk, a shiplap statement wall, wicker lounge chairs, and rattan baskets. Don’t forget to add texture and softness into your space with wool rugs and blankets — you never know when you’ll need to sneak in a quick nap during the day. As you decorate, opt for more vegetation and water features, or add a personal touch and display shells, stones, or flowers you picked yourself. Also, consider choosing organic shapes instead of rectangular boxes and straight lines. Find pieces with rough edges, globular aspects, and other unrefined elements.
Incorporating biophilic design into your home doesn’t mean sacrificing your existing aesthetic in favor of a rustic, log cabin-style space. Instead, it just asks you to reconnect with nature a little bit every day, caring for plants, rubbing your hands across hardwood, or breathing in the crisp, fall air. By filling your home with a handful of natural elements, you can boost your mental and physical health, leading to happier and more productive workdays.