How to Use Biophilic Design in the Bathroom
Over the past few years, we have seen a rise in the trend for bringing nature into our homes. From the colours, to the materials and textures that we are choosing right through to the simple act of bringing more plants and greenery into our homes, nature is growing in popularity.
This is really no surprise. As human beings we have an innate need to connect with nature and it has been proven that spending more time in nature has a very positive effect on our mental health and wellbeing.
The act of bringing nature into the built environment even has a name. Biophilic design comes from the Greek words ‘Bios’ meaning life and ‘Philia’ meaning love. So biophilia literally means a love of life or living things. Bringing nature into the home creates restorative and recuperative spaces that are designed for the senses.
Oliver Heath is an architectural and interior designer and a specialist in biophilic design. In his recent white paper for bathroom brand Geberit, he says: “The once humble bathroom is increasingly becoming the key to delivering richer multisensory experiences – elemental experiences that will benefit you no matter where you are.”
Our fast-paced, always-on society has led to an increased awareness of the benefits of relaxation and self-care and nowhere is better suited to the job that the bathroom. Creating a space designed for well-being can be made infinitely easier when taking the principles of biophilic design into account.
The main considerations here are materials, textures, colours and patterns. Let’s take a look at these in turn:
Natural and sustainable materials are what you are looking for here. Think wood, cork, bamboo, terracotta, rattan, linen and cotton for the accessories that you may bring in. Many of these are perfect for the bathroom as they are water resistant and can easily withstand the damp and humid atmosphere of the bathroom.
You can easily warm up the space and bring in even more depth by opting for ceramic or porcelain tiles that mimic natural materials like wood, such as the Aspenwood tiles from CTD
There are a lot of innovative new materials on the market now which not only meet the criteria for biophilic design but also have great eco- and sustainability credentials. Woodio
, for example, is an award-winning Finnish design brand that has created a range of 100% waterproof wood composite sanitaryware. The material is made from real wood chips from locally sourced aspen and resin-based adhesives and has a lesser carbon footprint than traditional ceramic products and it can be burned at the end of its lifecycle.
Incorporating natural materials will add texture to the bathroom automatically but you can add even more texture by choosing shower screens that feature fluted glass, storage solutions or planters that are perhaps ribbed, or wall tiles that have a 3D effect like the Buxy Antracita Hexagon Tiles from CTD
. Tactile textures provide a more haptic experience and create a much more sensory space.
Plants can also be used to bring texture into the bathroom. Choose plants that do well in a moist environment. If you lack surface space for plants, you can easily hang them from the ceiling in hanging planters made from cork or seagrass. If real plants are your nemesis, faux plants provide many of the same benefits.
When it comes to choosing colours for the bathroom, the overwhelming inclination is to opt for white. Connotations of hygiene and cleanliness make white the obvious choice. However, brilliant white, that we often associate with bathrooms, is the only colour that does not appear in nature. Coloured sanitaryware is becoming much more popular and widely available now and we may well see a return of the avocado suite.
If this is too adventurous for you, opt for coloured wall tiles instead, like the Poitiers Green Gloss tiles from CTD
, or paint the walls. Earthy, muted colour palettes that take inspiration from the natural environment are what you should be looking for. Think forest greens, sage greens, moss greens, pebble, sand, stone or other shades that are grounding and feel safe and cocooning.
The final aspect I want to talk about today is pattern. Straight lines and right angles very rarely appear in nature and it has been proven that as humans, we have a visual preference for organic and biomorphic forms and patterns. When used correctly these patterns create a more visually preferred environment that helps to reduce stress.
Things to consider incorporating include decorative elements inspired by trees, bones, wings and seashells and patterns based on leaves, flowers, and animal skins. Many living things are based on numerical sequences such as the Fibonacci Series and the Golden Mean, so look for patterns based on these sequences for maximum effect.