Welcome back to Biophilic Moodboards, the monthly column where we explore biophilic design...one moodboard at a time!
This month is the turn of seasons: what it means to keep ourselves connected to them and how it can benefit our health and wellbeing.
The whole idea behind biophilic design is that the contact with nature is beneficial to our health and wellbeing.
And being in contact with nature also means noticing how the world around us changes through seasons. This takes its roots back in the origin of human beings. There were no watches at the time, and the observation of nature was the only way to view the passing of time, from day to night and along the year.
Even though we now have other tools to know what time it is, we’re still inherently connected with nature and we look to its changes to define the passing of seasons. In winter it snows, in spring flowers bloom and so on.
Looking at nature is a way of acknowledging that we’re part of a bigger evolving whole. And it’s this feeling of belonging and connection that makes us feel better. In practice, this happens subconsciously and it's not always easy to realize it. One way to become aware of it is thinking at the opposite scenario. Imagine to spend a full year in a place where you can’t look out of any window and all you see is the furniture around you. Some people would feel anxious, others depressed or just bored, but I think we can all agree it would feel pretty sterile overall.
The last thing we want is our homes to be sterile, depressing and boring, and keeping the connection with nature alive is an invaluable strategy to avoid that.
So here are few tips on how to transition our homes across seasons and actively feel part of our beautiful world!
Enjoy the outdoor view
Yes, it's that simple! That's clearly going to be an easy game if you have a dazzling view, but even if your view is more of a regular one, you can make the most out of it by taking it into account when deciding on your space planning and furniture placement.
For instance, if your living room window looks into nature, place your sofa and chairs in a way that will allow you to take a peak outdoors. Or create a reading corner next to the window for a dedicated nature-contemplation corner (for more tips on it, I've dedicated a full post to how to create a cozy corner at home).
Every season has its specific natural features and bringing them indoors is an easy and affordable way of following the seasons in our homes.
This is something I personally do a lot. My base décor stays mostly unchanged along the year and I introduce some seasonal elements on top.
Here are some seasonal natural features that I like to use:
- Spring: flowers, blossoms.
- Summer: shells, white pebbles.
- Autumn: yellow/red leaves, acorns and pinecones.
- Winter: red berries, pine branches.
As an example, the same clear vase can be filled in with flowers in spring, shells in summer, acorns in autumn and pine branches in winter!
Surprise surprise! You were expecting this point to come, right?
Actually, adding plants indoors is beneficial for a number of reasons (indoor air purification, stress relief…). Flower plants in particular are also a great seasonal indicator. Having blooming flowers inside your home will recreate indoors the feeling of natural rebirth typical of spring. And it will also be a lovely occasion to observe the flowers as they bloom day after day!
Update your colour palette
Another way to bring a feeling of new at every season change is updating your colour palette…slightly.
Let’s be clear: it totally doesn’t mean you have to repaint your walls and purchase new décor at every season! Actually, your base palette should stay the same both across rooms and along the year. These are the colours that tie your home together and make your design cohesive.
On top of that, here are some updates you can make to follow the seasons:
Add few accessories in an accent colour reflecting the current season.
Say for instance you have a neutral base palette of beiges or greys. In this case, you may decide to add a different touch of colour at every season.
Keeping the same palette all year long, switching few pieces in more or less vibrant version of the same colours according to the season.
Let's say you have a grey and blue palette. You can for instance play with the colour of your tableware and have a vibrant teal for spring/summer and a more muted light blue for autumn/winter.
Play with materials
This is something we all do to some extent. As an example, we all take away thick woollen and fur blankets from our sofas when spring comes.
To bring this concept further, it's a good idea to update all textiles at home, preferring thick ones in the cold months and switching to lighter ones in the warm seasons. Also, you may want to cover cold surfaces (say a non-upholstered chair) with a thick fabric (say a fur blanket) when it’s cold, and leave that surface uncovered in spring and summer.
Besides connecting your home to the passing of seasons, these strategies will make your space more pleasant to live in, as it will provide warmth or freshness when mostly needed.
Here are some fabric ideas:
- Spring + Summer: linen, cotton, silk, denim.
- Autumn + Winter: felt, wool, fur, fleece, velvet.
Hope you've enjoyed this new dive in the world of biophilic design!
If so, you can take a look at the previous biophilic moodboards: