10 Biophilic Design Ideas to Consider for Your Custom Home

May 18, 2023

Building a custom home means everything is designed and built to your specifications and needs. In some cases, you may know exactly what you want. In other cases, you may still be figuring it out. Looking at different design themes and trends can help you determine what you do and don’t like. Here’s what to know about biophilic design and some biophilic design ideas to consider for your custom home:

What is Biophilic Design?

Biophilic design is a building concept that focuses on connection to the natural environment through space, place, light, and both direct and indirect nature. The goal is to connect people and nature within built and constructed communities. Its origins are in city planning and design, but it has started popping up in interior design as a method to center nature and the natural environment in home design.

As a residential interior design theme, biophilic design focuses on creating harmony between the interior of your home and the world outside of it. Not only does this show up in natural elements, nature-inspired shapes, and greenery around the home, but it also shows up in creating a more seamless transition from indoor to outdoor spaces or even merging them.

10 Biophilic Design Ideas to Consider for Your Custom Home

Here are a few biophilic design ideas to inspire you as you think about your own custom home design:

1. Prioritize Plants in Design and Decor

One of the easiest ways to add some nature to an indoor space is to add plants. There are many ways to decorate with houseplants. However, with biophilic design, instead of figuring out where plants fit as an afterthought in designing the room, prioritize them.

Consider plants one of the integral design elements of the room and consider them as you are planning the layout and design. The end result may still have some plants as a way to style a bookshelf, but the overall look of the room including plants will feel more natural and intentional.

2. Consider an Indoor Vertical Garden

An indoor vertical garden, or living wall, is a biophilic design idea that can bring in a lot of greenery, make a statement, and even become a focal point of your room design. There are some pros and cons of indoor vertical gardens to consider.

Because of the installation, waterproofing, maintenance, and other considerations, they don’t work well in every space. There are also several mistakes to avoid with indoor vertical gardens around these considerations. But, if they are right for you and they’re done well, they can provide many benefits while elevating your space.

3. Opt For More Windows

Another one of the biophilic design ideas that also works with a variety of styles is to opt for more windows or larger windows to highlight outside views. Thinking about the views available on your lot and how much light you want can help you plan window placement in your custom home design.

The type and number of windows make a difference in this design idea. Large picture windows, bay windows, or bow windows can be a good option to connect indoor and outdoor spaces visually. You can even choose a window wall to add more natural light and get a panoramic view.

4. Merge Kitchen and Outdoor Dining Spaces

Blending and merging indoor and outdoor spaces is one of the popular home design trends and it can also be a biophilic design idea. Connecting indoor kitchens and outdoor dining spaces more seamlessly can help blur the lines between these spaces a bit.

There are many ways to connect these spaces while still being able to control how much they are connected on your own terms. Pocket doors or even window walls that slide into pockets allow you to have the flexibility of separation or more open-concept seamlessness when you want it.

Open-concept flows and plenty of light are both kitchen design trends that can help you create the beautiful and functional atmosphere you want with as much, or as little, connection to the outdoors as you wish. Sliding glass doors, window walls that can slide open like doors, and pivot doors are other ways to help you get this look and feel.

5. Include a Sunroom in Your Home Design

Natural light and plenty of greenery are classic biophilic design ideas. Including a sunroom or solarium in your custom home design is a way to get both of them. Depending on how else you want to use a sunroom, you might not want to completely fill it with plants, but creating your own greenhouse and nature reserve attached to your home is an option.

6. Choose Natural Elements

With biophilic design ideas ranging from intentional natural spaces to simple nature-inspired touches, there is a lot of variety and a ton of options. You can go all in on biophilic design or just add a few touches here and there by choosing natural elements for your design and decor. There are plenty of material trends that can help you create the look you want. 

Natural materials, or the look of natural materials, like wood, stone, leather, other natural fabrics or textures, and more can all help you add some natural elements to your home design. Exposed wooden beams are a classic element of farmhouse style that goes well with a variety of styles and themes.

Something as simple as wooden furniture or shelves can also add this look. You can also go with something interesting that mimics the look of natural elements. A pom-pom style rug in a variety of greens can mimic the look of moss and add a fun, interesting element to your decor. Something like this can be placed in a room along with real plants, wooden furniture, and other organic tones to enhance a biophilic look and feel. In the bathroom, you could even opt for a bath mat made of real moss or pebbles!

7. Incorporate a Water Feature

When they are large and unmanageable, water features can be a landscaping mistake, and definitely not one you want to make inside your home. Thankfully, when it comes to indoor water features, there are a lot of options available in the category.

You don’t have to go big with an indoor waterfall or fountain unless you want to. There are plenty of other smaller, manageable, and portable options to get you the calming, relaxing sound of water without the construction, planning, and management common to larger water features.

A small tabletop water feature that simply trickles a little water over smooth rocks, bamboo, etc. that you can turn on and off as you want makes incorporating a water feature much easier and more manageable. Some tabletop fountains even have space for plants if you want to have it double as a new planter. If you have a pet, you can get them a small fountain water dispenser as an upgrade for them and a bonus of the sound of water for you.

And, if you don’t want to deal with actual water or another piece of decor, you can also just turn on a playlist or noise machine featuring ocean waves, babbling brooks, etc. Although this doesn’t visually help you create a biophilic design, it can enhance what you already have to add to that atmosphere of nature.

8. Consider a Fireplace or Fire Pit

Plants and water may be the first things that come to mind with biophilic design, but fire has a place in it too. Fire can help create a relaxing atmosphere while also enhancing the colors of your space. Plus, it can help provide some warmth.

Including a fireplace in your custom home design in the right way can help enhance a nature-inspired look and feel. And, there are plenty of fireplace options to help you get what you want in a way that will work with the rest of your design and decor.

You can also add a fire pit to your outdoor living spaces. If your home design will include a pool, you can combine elements with a fire and water bowl that will allow you to have a fire pit near your pool with water cascading down or one that is integrated into your pool. These are both popular pool design trends that also double as biophilic design ideas.

9. Use Nature-Inspired Colors

Although biophilic design focuses on creating nature-inspired spaces, you don’t have to actually include nature to add a touch of biophilic design to a space. Nature-inspired colors, prints, and shapes can also help add a sense of biophilic design to a room.

Color palettes featuring organic tones, earth tones, and neutrals like greens, blues, beiges, browns, and more can help provide the foundation for a nature-inspired look and feel, even if you don’t end up including plants. Art featuring natural scenes, furniture with soft shapes, wallpaper with botanical print, and more can all help you add a little touch of nature.

10. Use Mirrors to Your Advantage

Greenery, plenty of light, open and airy atmospheres, and more are all classic features of biophilic design. Although mirrors themselves aren’t necessarily a biophilic design idea, you can use some home decor tips for using mirrors to enhance the biophilic look and feel you’re going for.

Not only can you choose mirror frames that feature natural materials and textures, but you can also place mirrors strategically. When placed in a way to catch and reflect light, mirrors can help make a space feel brighter, lighter, bigger, and more open. If you have plants, greenery, or other natural decor, you can use mirrors to reflect those items and double the sense of greenery without taking up extra space.

Get Your Dream Custom Home With CHG

These are just a few biophilic design ideas to consider for your custom home. Regardless of the styles you like, an experienced custom home builder, especially one with an in-house design/build process, can help you get the custom home you want. If you’re ready to get started on your own custom home, contact Custom Home Group at 717-284-4090. We can help bring your dream home to life!