It’s Albert Einstein who famously said: “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”.
As a society, we’re embracing and being inspired by the great outdoors more than ever before – none more so than in our homes. We’ve taken Einstein’s philosophical thought and applied it to how we design and live in our spaces – the want for nature-inspired touches is now an integral aspect of modern-day living, the want for the outdoors inside is now key.
Adjoining the inner and outer worlds through biophilic design can create a space that adds interest to our interiors and bolsters our health and wellbeing. Unsuburbia has taken a look at ho w we can welcome the influences of mother nature into our homes and how it can impact our everyday lives.
The aesthetic appeal
Floral-inspired patterns have been making movements within interior design over the last year, with the bloomy bravura giving an ambience of being at one with nature whilst having the comfort of our homes. Through leafy prints or horticulturally-led accessories, our décor mentality wants the greenery – yet when it comes to houseplants themselves, people are looking toward plastic alternatives.
But while fake foliage brings the appeal of the outdoors in, the interior aesthetics of striking patterns, eclectic hues and floral bursts that comes with living plants is unparalleled.
It’s the never-ending choice of plants you can bring to your home’s décor that can turn an insipid space into an inspired one. Through cultivated creativity, a plant can change the entire character of a room in an instance for the better. It’s the perfect décor accessory to manipulate your interior style to how you want it.
And using houseplants isn’t just a case of sticking a flower in a vase and popping it on the windowsill, like in bygone eras. In homes today, we make floral the focal point. Indoor fern and bamboo trees can become the centrepiece of any living space – the appearance of these can add a unique design angle.
Hanging leafy greens such as indoor ivies from your ceilings brings a rainforest-inspired vibe to your décor. Large-leafed indoor plants can fill an empty corner, with overhanging leaves giving the feel of a tropical oasis. It’s about a vibrant mix of colours and textures in an interior through using houseplants to create a different by design aesthetic.
For the grandest of grandiose, real-life floral feature walls are now being brought into home interiors to give that feel of nature – it’s a slice of green space in your living quarters. It might seem extravagant, but this greenery is the true pinnacle of biophilic décor.
The importance of design
To make the most of floral features and bring the outdoors in, design is imperative. To create a seamless extension and integration between the two spaces, we need a space that allows for it to happen.
A home’s blueprint must dictate that natural light can effortlessly flow through and give a path of ease to join the inside with the outdoors. Many are now choosing a more open-plan way of living, joining together lounge, dining and kitchen spaces, and this movement brings the opportunity of connecting out and in. The use of high ceilings too can remove that boxed-in claustrophobic feeling and allow light to roam just as outside – a heightened open-plan room with tall leafy greenery brings together the ideologies of home and biophilic designs.
Bi-folding doors separating a living space with a terrace, patio or decking are the must-haves in home design at the moment, letting nature entwine itself with indoors through a glass-panelled façade. This new thinking towards home design is key to optimising light and transforming a space with greenery, foliage and plantation.
Bolstering our home’s health and wellbeing through biophilic design
This bringing the outdoors in isn’t just about making your home look great. The impact of opting for biophilic design can have resounding results on the health and wellbeing of those living within that space. At the end of the day, who wouldn’t feel better being in and around a space that breathes the ethos of the outdoors and living among nature?
These floral organisms interact with our minds, body and homes in way that only enhances our everyday lives. Just the impact of houseplants on the air that we breathe makes this a design movement worth following. Not only will your space benefit from more oxygen thanks to photosynthesis, but plants will also remove up to 87 per cent of all volatile organic compounds every 24 hours, research by NASA revealed. In short, you’ll be breathing in better air.
It also boosts our overall health. Research by the Kansas State University found that by having plants in a hospital room, patients reacted more positively, required less pain relief, had a lower heart rate, experience minimal anxiety and fatigue and were released at an earlier date, than those who didn’t have botanicals. Indoor plants were highlighted as a key way of reducing common ailments such as colds, headaches and flu-like symptoms. Who would have thought a few bits of foliage could help stave off illness?
The vapour released by plants also helps keep moisture in the air, which reduces the risk of respiratory problems, dry skin and ‘tickly’ coughs. The Royal College of Agriculture’s study into concentration revealed that students were 70 per cent more attentive in a classroom filled with leafy greenery. The proof is there – indoor plants are imperative. We only react positively to having these usually-outdoor elements within our interior, so allowing this extension of natural beauty not only brings astounding aesthetics but also improves our wellbeing.
Getting the right houseplant for your space
A natural ambience can help us live healthier within our home, however we have to let nature live healthily in our spaces. Some leafy greenery needs to bask within sunlight to grow prosperously, whereas other types of houseplants are happy to live sitting cloaked in shade. Temperature too plays a huge factor when bringing a biophilic ideology to your home – if a space is too cold, your houseplants won’t last the winter.
To find the plant for your space that effortlessly brings the outdoors inside and can live healthily, the RHS has given the below recommendations on choosing the right florals:
Plants for high light levels
For south-facing windows or conservatories, plants which crave light are perfect. The lance-shaped leaves of the variegated spider ivy brings evergreen foliage in abundance, whilst the Brazilian coleus’ trailing effect can create an extension of nature-inspired design in a smaller space. For more of a statement floral, the humorously named mother-in-law’s tongue brings beautiful patterns through its marble-effect leathery leaves and small fragrant tubular greenish-white flowers.
Plants for shaded spots
For subtle foliage in your space, opt for the simple, succulent leaves of an American rubber plant or compact ivy Duckfoot, coming with clusters of small yellow-green flowers to add small pops of colour. With its central creamy-white stripes and sprays of small white flowers, the classic spider ivy ‘Vittatum’ is also a must-have for areas which lack in a constant stream of natural light. In a bigger space, the slender-pointed ovate leaves of the Benjamin tree bring swathes of glorious greenery.
The growing trend
The want for an outdoors-influenced indoors space is more apparent than ever before. And to enable a stylish interior and an improved health and wellbeing, we say let this trend continue for eras to come.