Biophilic design room-by-room: the living room

in biophilic room-by-room

As its name suggests, the living room is the beating heart of the home, the room where many daytime activities take place.
But with so much happening in one single space, living rooms risk to end up feeling restless and confused rather than joyful and nurturing.

So let’s look through the lenses of biophilic design and explore how to design a truly restorative living room!

Cozy corner in a living room, created next to a window with a soft armchair and a tall tree.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Pampa (opened in a new window/tab)

A space for others, and for the self

When designing living rooms, the accent is often put on making sure there’s enough extra seating for entertaining.
While for some people this is a regular necessity, for many others entertaining is something that happens only a few times a year. In other words, it's like designing for the just in case rather than for the must have!

On a daily basis, the living room should feel like a warm hug, embrace us in a moment of comfort, and give us a chance to feel truly at home.
In practice, feeling truly at home goes in two directions.
One is connecting with the other members of the family, listening to each other and sharing thoughts and ideas.

The other is finding some quiet time for the self.
In fact, carving a personal cozy corner at home is essential for wellbeing. And the living room can be the perfect space to host one!
Essentially, a personal cozy corner is a space to reconnect with oneself while disconnecting from everything else. From a biophilic design perspective, it’s the quintessential example of refuge.

Soft sofa in a bright living room with wooden back wall.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Globewest (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)

The elements of a biophilic living room

With the role of living rooms being clarified, let’s look at how biophilic design helps to achieve that.

Natural outdoor views, rich textures, sensory stimulations, appropriate lighting, a water feature are all biophilic elements that create a calm and restorative atmosphere.

This soothing ambiance will facilitate recuperation after a long day, make it more enjoyable to interact with others short it will create that comfortable sensation that turns a house into a home.
When entertaining, this welcoming base can be made more energizing with an uplifting scent and a change in lighting.

Earthy living room with a stunning view of a lakeside.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Marmol Radziner (opened in a new window/tab)
Biophilic living room flooded with natural light, with a curved wall giving a sense of calm.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: MIM Design (opened in a new window/tab)
Biophilic living room with wooden built-in bookshelf with draping plants.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Hueb Ferreira Arquitetos (opened in a new window/tab)

A note on outdoor views.
Having a vista over a dazzling landscape or a lush garden is certainly a plus. And if this is the case, furniture should be placed accordingly.
But if your view is not nearly as impressive, you can still create your own natural view on a balcony – if you have one – or even indoors, creating a garden room moment.

Greenery and juxtaposed textures also create interest, catching the eye and engaging all senses.
Speaking of greenery, oversized branches might be the easiest way to create a biophilic vignette bringing a forgotten corner to life! If foraged outdoors, they'll also reference the surrounding environment, creating a connection with it.

Biophilic living room with plenty of soft juxtaposed textures and an oversized branch decorating the space.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: EyeSwoon (opened in a new window/tab)
A tonal juxtaposition of textures: rough stone vase over a wooden stool next to a soft armchair.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Cereal (opened in a new window/tab)
Oversized branch styled over a wooden stool in the corner of a room.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Colin King (opened in a new window/tab)

Organizing for real life

Being the theatre of so many activities, the living room will need to be organized accordingly.

Appropriate storage for books and magazines, baskets for kids' toys etc. will make it easy to keep the room neat at all times.
And there’s nothing like a cluttered space to make the mind restless and uncomfortable! So yes, finding the organization system that works for you and your needs is a step towards wellbeing in itself!

Storage can also be an additional occasion to introduce texture and interest, making the act of tidying a little more enjoyable.

Wooden side table with hidden storage containing a blanket.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Bolia (opened in a new window/tab)

To summarize, the living room is – at the same time – the space to gather with friends, spend time with family and connect with oneself.
A design incorporating nurturing biophilic elements is a good base for this space to respond to such varied needs, while setting an authentic home ambiance.

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