Welcome back to Biophilic Moodboards, the monthly column where we explore biophilic design...one moodboard at a time!
In this month’s episode, we’re looking into the importance of seasons in interior design: what it means to keep ourselves connected to them and how this can benefit our health and wellbeing.
Biophilic design and changing nature
The whole idea behind biophilic design is that the connection with nature is beneficial to our health and wellbeing.
Being connected with nature also means noticing how the world around us changes through seasons.
This goes back to 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 throughout 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 changes in 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.
This happens subconsciously and it's not always easy to realize it. But one way to become aware of it is by thinking about the opposite scenario. Imagine spending one entire 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 an interior space across seasons and actively feel part of our beautiful world!
Enjoy the outdoor view
The benefits of enjoying the outdoor view are clear when speaking of a dazzling view. But even if your view is more of a regular one, you can make the most of it by taking it into account when designing your space layout.
For instance, if your living room window looks into nature, place your sofa in a way that will allow you to take a peak outdoors. Or create a cozy corner next to the window for an area dedicated to nature-contemplation.
Every season has its specific natural features and bringing them indoors is an easy and affordable way of following the seasons in our homes.
Here are some seasonal natural features to use as accessories:
- 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!
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 that's typical of spring. And it will also be the 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 by updating the colour palette…slightly.
Let’s be clear: this doesn’t mean repainting all walls and purchasing new décor at every season! Actually, the base colour palette should stay the same – both across rooms and throughout the year!
Here are some colour-related updates to follow the seasons:
- Add a few accessories in an accent colour reflecting the current season.
- Keeping the same palette all year long, alternate 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
Playing with textures is something we all do to some extent. We all take away thick woolen and fur blankets when spring comes!
To bring this concept further, it's a good idea to update all textiles in the space – preferring natural textures.
Choose thicker textures in the cold months and lighter ones in the warm seasons.
Here are some fabric ideas:
- Spring + Summer: linen, cotton, silk, denim.
- Autumn + Winter: felt, wool, fur, fleece, velvet.
Speaking of materials, you may also want to cover cold surfaces (say a non-upholstered chair) with a thick fabric when it’s cold, and leave it uncovered during spring and summer. This is also a way to play with temperature variations, which will make the space feel more engaging.
Connecting an interior design with seasons is a precious strategy to reconnect its occupants with the natural world, inviting them to observe and appreciate the changes and feel again part of something bigger.
- Kellert S.F., Heerwagen J.H., Mador Eds. M.L. (2008). Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science & Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life (opened in a new window/tab). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
- The 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design is a framework conceptualized by Terrapin Bright Green