interior design Japan

What is biophilic interior design? and how to incorporate it in your home

You may have heard this term popping up recently and as someone who cares about the environment and where materials come from and where they can end up ( recycling and not in the dump) this may be something you can include when creating your home or working environment. Architect and designers are thinking more biophilic as a reaction to the modern convenient world we live in and I am here for it!

So what is biophilic design?

Biophilic design is an approach to architecture and interiors that try’s to cohere nature and modern day living. We live in a world of convenience and immediacy that is as unhealthy as it is unsustainable. We want and demand things all the time. We rarely have the patience to wait for a piece of furniture to be made or to pay for a pricey handmade item when we can find it cheaper on Amazon. It’s just wrong but more shops are trying to fit the next day time scale that we are missing out on the beauty of patience and learning.

Biophilic design comes in the shape of buildings, incorporating as many natural materials and air flows rather than relying on technology and man made materials.It is not just a design aesthetic but a way of creating is inspired by nature and actually incorporates it.

Even though this is a fairly new term for me it is an approach to design and living that is totally inspiring me. I am reading a few books on it at the moment so my research is evolving and developing, I hope you don’t mind me taking you on this journey with me.

Design by nature by Erica Tanov

Biophilic designed buildings incorporate natural lighting and ventilation. We live in a Victorian/ Edwardian villa terrace house. Under all the windows used to be vents to let the house breath. Modern times have covered and painted these natural vents and then homes like mine suffer from mold or other ventilation issues. My garden is also south facing, this means that in the height of summer my living room is cool and the place we retire to. Biophilic designs have always happened but with housing booms lots of biophilic design ideas that help your home breath have being surpassed.

With the world focusing on mental health our surroundings and dwellings have never been more important. Surrounding your home with plants not only is proven to ameliorate your mental health. Creating natural landscape features also formulates a healthy environment for people.

So how can you fuse Biophilic design in your home and life?

  • Using environmentally sustainable materials is the best place to start
  • Animals, any type of pet in your home is definitely bringing nature in ( think I need kittens!)
  • Fresh air is key, open those vents and windows, go for a walk, let your environment breath
  • Whilst the windows are open let in the natural light, reflect natural light around your home with mirrors
  • Plants, plants and more plants ( yay)
  • Think organic shapes and textures, cottons and linens anything that can breath and allow your home to breath
  • Wood, stone incorporate natural materials over man made concrete is not a good fit
  • Buy with consideration trends are not welcome unless they are here to stay
  • Water features and sounds are important think Feng shui
  • The colours of nature are calming to your home

‘The “shizen” philosophy is a principle that recognises the harmony between people and nature and is core to many Japanese furniture design methods which often use bamboo and light woods. Owing to this philosophy, many designers also use nature to honour the world that they live in.’ Helen White, Lead Designer and Co-Founder of

I found in Japan that they tried to incorporate nature everywhere. Wether it was outside a shop, squeezed into a courtyard, a vertical garden. There was lots of wood bamboo everywhere. You could be in the heart of Tokyo and would see that rooftops and private gardens were filled with plants and trees. Everywhere in Japan they are trying to find the perfect balance between nature and city living.

Japanese harmony between city and nature

The photo selection above is Gavin posing outside a coffee shop, the door was tiny he had to duck to get inside, but we loved how many plants were framed at the front. Then we have a wall garden in Osaka, vertical gardens have been popular for years. Then a water feature under a cherry tree in a tiny courtyard in Kyoto where we queued for bone broth ramen and then the final picture is a traditional Japanese building with courtyard gardens. All beautiful and all incorporating the biophilic ethos.

Biophilic design makes sense to me. I said this year that I wanted to invest more, by second hand especially with furniture and pieces for my home. I have always preferred wood and natural materials in my home but there appears to be a lot more philosophy to this way of life.

About DP

Hi, I am Dana. I am dyspraxic trying to function and get organised in my dysfunctional world. I don’t shy away from technology but I do have a preference for all things paper and analog. I am trying to organise our lives through my bullet journal, travel around the globe and save money!!! Impossible I know. I have a hard time believing that you should spend a fortune on one day. So, with my creative skills and frugality I will hopefully create my dream wedding without getting into debt. My bullet journal has been a life saver, so much that I now have 3. One for life, one for wedding planning and my last for this blog. I am lost without them. I have a wonderful partner, two fur babies ( Manhattan and Frank) a full time job that I love and my love of blogging. Please bear with me with my spelling and grammar I do proof read about 4 times but I still miss things. I won’t be offended if you correct me. So that’s me, I draw and teach art to both kids and adults and I believe anyone can create anything you just have to practice. I have had to try and try at organising, that is why I am the Dysfunctional Planner.

7 comments on “What is biophilic interior design? and how to incorporate it in your home

  1. Excessive use of woods is harmful to the environment, isn’t it? The use of woods in homes and building furniture need more trees to be cut and it results in deforestation which causes landslides, floods, climate change, etc., and affects biodiversity.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it depends on the wood and where it comes from. Most houses in the UK are made from brick as it made here the clay and the bricks breath.
    My sister lives in New Zealand where trees grow super fast so they replant as much as they cut down. Biophilic design is about finding a harmony with nature. In Europe we search for the FSC which is a more sustainably sourced wood. Biophilia is about bringing more nature into our modern world rather than ripping out what’s there and replacing it with sustainable replacements.


  3. It really feels we are more closer to the nature. What can be more amazing than this.


    • Exactly, it definitely lifts my mood being outside but also filling my home with plants and natural materials.


  4. Very interesting! Thank you for sharing!


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