Houses flooded with natural light, living rooms overflowing with monsteras, and trendy office spaces filling walls and empty spaces with greenery are nothing new. However, you could argue that these interior design elements have seen accelerated popularity in homes and buildings globally, thanks in large part to the coronavirus pandemic that has drastically limited our already-scarce time outside. The idea that humans crave sustained interaction with certain natural elements stems from biophilia, or the hypothesis that we as human beings have an intrinsic desire to connect with living things, according to Brittanica. Over time, the biophilia hypothesis inspired what's now known as biophilic design, marrying the original hypothesis's principles with the design of spaces humans spend a majority of their time in.
As early as 1973, social psychologist Erich Fromm defined biophilia as "the passionate love of life and of all that is alive," according to Erich Fromm Online. In 1984, biologist Edward O. Wilson published Biophilia, in which he proposed that humans' predilection for nature and living things is something we're born with. Studies repeatedly finding that spending time in nature boasts measurable health benefits — not to mention the heaps of additional research surrounding the benefits of indoor plants or natural light — have only further supported the tenets of biophilia. This, along with the fact that humans spend an average of 90 percent of their time indoors — where concentrations of some pollutants are higher, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — has helped give way to a steady surge in biophilic interior designs in commercial buildings, offices, and even residential spaces.
Biophilic interior designs exist on a spectrum, but their most basic principle is bringing nature (think: natural sunlight, plants and greenery, air, water, animals, and ecosystems) indoors, so that humans and nature can coexist in the same space regularly. (Things adjacent to nature, however, like photos, colors, or materials, don't necessarily count.) On a grand scale, biophilic interior design could look like a house with expansive floor-to-ceiling windows that face the sun and slide open to a sprawling patio. It could also look like an office building with large planters, lush foliage, an interior fish pond, and moss-covered walls. Unfortunately, not many people have the luxury of living or working in those kinds of spaces. Adopting a biophilic design for your bedroom, however, is one way you can reap the benefits of this nature-focused aesthetic on a smaller scale.
A biophilic bedroom may not be able to fit a full-on fish pond, but it can certainly fit shelves of house plants, terrariums, and airy curtains that let natural light flood in. Swaths of people, from interior designers to your average plant-lover, have transformed their bedrooms into biophilic oases with towering plants, hanging vines, propagation walls, and more, inviting nature and its myriad benefits inside. Find prime inspiration for your own biophilic bedroom from the designers, artists, creators, and plant-lovers ahead.