Over the last few years, an increasing number of designers, architects and homeowners have embraced the approach of blurring the indoors with the out, also known as biophilic design. The term “biophilia” refers to the innate human connection with nature and living things, and biophilic home design aims to bring this connection into the built environment. This swift shift towards a more natural approach to interior design is likely a result of the increased amount of time many of us have spent at home due to the pandemic, resulting in a deeper awareness of the impacts our immediate surroundings can have on our physical and mental well-being. Not to mention, the growing concern for our climate and an increased awareness of the importance of sustainability in our daily lives.

If you are interested in learning about biophilic home design and the many benefits it can offer, you’ve come to the perfect place. Today, we discuss why biophilic home design is the future of urban living, and explore the many advantages that this movement can bring to our daily lives. Read on to find out more.

What Is Biophilic Home Design?

Biophilic design is an approach to architecture and interior design that seeks to incorporate natural elements and patterns into the built environment in order to improve human health and well-being.

Biophilic home design can include the addition of a range of features, such as:

Natural Materials: Biophilic design often incorporates natural materials such as wood, rattan, wicker, bamboo, stone, and organic fabrics.

Alfresco Kitchens: When it comes to blurring the indoors with the out, alfresco kitchen ideas take top place in biophilic home design trends. Outdoor dining areas that incorporate natural elements such as plants, water features, and trees can create a stronger connection to nature.

Natral Light: Biophilic spaces maximise the use of natural light by incorporating large windows, skylights, and other openings to allow sunlight to enter the space. Exposure to natural light has also been shown to increase productivity by improving concentration, focus, and cognitive performance. This is particularly important in work-from-home environments, where productivity and performance are key.

Indoor Plants: Biophilic design incorporates indoor plants and greenery into the space in order to create an aesthetically pleasing, calming and rejuvenating environment. Additionally, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen through photosynthesis, which can help to improve indoor air quality.

Water Features: Water features such as fountains, ponds, and waterfalls are often incorporated into biophilic design. They add a natural element to a space, create a calming atmosphere, and provide a source of white noise which can aid in concentration and sleep.

Natural Ventilation: Biophilic spaces often use natural ventilation systems to reduce the need for artificial cooling or heating. This not only reduces energy consumption, but can also have numerous positive benefits on indoor air quality, mental health and well-being.

The Role That Biophilic Design Plays In Urban Megacities

As the world’s population continues to grow, urbanisation is becoming increasingly prevalent. This has led to the rise of megacities – cities with populations of over 10 million people. Some examples of megacities include Tokyo, Shanghai, Delhi, São Paulo and Beijing, all of which have a population ranging from 20-30 million residents. As more and more people move into these urban environments, there is a growing desire and need for sustainable and healthy living spaces. Biophilic interior design, which incorporates natural elements into the built environment, is likely to play an important role in creating liveable and sustainable megacities.

One of the main challenges of living in a highly urbanised environment is, obviously, the lack of access to nature. Cities are often characterised by concrete and steel structures, with little green space or natural elements for us to enjoy. Unfortunately, this can have negative impacts on our mental and physical health, as studies have shown that exposure to nature can improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote well-being. Biophilic interior design addresses these challenges by incorporating natural elements into the built environment. By bringing the outdoors in, a shift towards biophilic design in urban living settings can create a calming and rejuvenating space that promotes a connection to nature and the natural world.

Case Study: Singapore

Singapore is often cited as a leader in biophilia because of its commitment to incorporating nature into the urban environment. Despite being one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Singapore has made a concerted effort to create green spaces and incorporate biophilic design into its architecture and infrastructure. Some of the country’s notable green-centred projects include the 250-acre Gardens By The Bay nature park and Jewel Changi Airport which features a 40-metre-tall indoor waterfall surrounded by a lush forest, creating a natural oasis in the heart of the Singapore airport.

In residential settings, this island city has also promoted urban agriculture, including rooftop gardens and community gardens. The Pinnacle@Duxton is a public housing development in Singapore that features a sky garden on the 26th floor. The garden includes walking paths, seating areas, and greenery, providing residents with access to nature and promoting community engagement. There are also numerous hotels and schools around the island that feature living walls and rooftop gardens, such as the School Of The Arts and The Oasia Hotel Downtown.

Benefits Of Biophilic Home Design

1. Improved Mental Health

Biophilic home design has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health. Exposure to natural elements such as plants and sunlight has been linked to reduced stress levels, improved mood, and increased feelings of calm and relaxation. In addition, biophilic design can create a sense of connection to the natural world, which can be beneficial for many of us who spend the majority of our days indoors due to work.

2. Better Air Quality

Biophilic home design is a fantastic way to refresh the air in your home. Firstly, plants are known to absorb pollutants such as benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde, all of which can be found in common household and cleaning products. Secondly, by avoiding synthetic materials that emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other harmful chemicals in favour of more natural materials in furniture and fixtures, homeowners can help to significantly improve indoor air quality for the better.

3. Increased Productivity

Did you know that biophilic home design can also contribute to increased productivity levels?. A series of studies from Exeter University revealed that individuals were 15% more productive when their environments were filled with just a few houseplants. In addition, incorporating natural light into a home can help to regulate the body’s circadian rhythms, which can improve sleep quality and energy levels — both essential contributors to positive mental and physical health.

4. Reduced Noise Pollution

Biophilic home design can play a major role in reducing the noise pollution in your immediate surroundings. For example, incorporating natural elements such as a green roof, indoor plants and water features can help to absorb sound, creating a more peaceful and serene environment. In addition, biophilic design can help to create a buffer between a home and external noise sources, such as traffic which is often a problem in urban settings.

5. Energy Efficiency

Biophilic home design can also contribute to energy efficiency. By incorporating natural light and ventilation, homeowners can reduce their reliance on artificial lighting and HVAC systems. Moreover, biophilic home design promotes the use of sustainable materials, which can help to reduce the environmental impact of your home. For example, using recycled or reclaimed materials in construction can reduce the amount of energy needed to produce new materials. In addition, using materials that are locally sourced can help to reduce transportation costs and emissions. Not only can these elements lead to lower energy bills but it can also play a significant role in helping you reduce your carbon footprint.

6. Aesthetic Appeal

Last but not least, biophilic home design is a fantastic way to instantly add aesthetic appeal to a home. Incorporating natural elements such as plants, wood, and stone can create a sense of warmth and texture, making a space more inviting and comfortable. The use of natural elements can also create a connection to the outdoors, making a home feel more harmonious with its surroundings.

In A Nutshell

As more and more people living in urban settings seek out homes that promote well-being and a connection to nature, biophilic design is likely to become even more popular in the years to come. On top of providing gorgeous visual appeal, incorporating biophilic designs into architecture, furnishings and decor is also fantastic for our mental and physical health, indicating that we’re very much “hardwired” for nature.

We hope that this article has provided you with some valuable insight into why biophilic design is the future of urban living, just as much as we hope that it has inspired you to incorporate some elements of biophilia into your home design.


Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.