The biophilic ingredients of indoor-outdoor spaces

in Biophilic Design

I don’t know one single person that doesn’t love indoor-outdoor spaces.
That’s surely because they feel very high-end and their design always looks so curated and intentional.
But there might be another reason as well.
By creating a seamless connection between home and patio, indoor-outdoor spaces are inherently biophilic and have features that work in favour of our wellbeing. Which is a good reason to like a design, isn’t it?

So here is a roundup of the biophilic features that make indoor-outdoor spaces so good for wellbeing.

The many advantages of full-height windows

Full-height windows are probably THE most important ingredient of indoor-outdoor spaces and they contribute to their biophilic score in more than one way.
First, they provide plenty of natural light to the interior, which is always an asset. Big windows also open the view to the surroundings, creating a strong visual connection with nature, its shapes (remember when we talked about fractal patterns in interior design?) as well as its movements. It’s a bit like having a giant living artwork to look at! Over the year, this artwork will also evolve, giving a chance to fully appreciate the changes that happen in nature through seasons.

Big indoor-outdoor living room with fully glazed wall looking into trees.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: HW Studio (opened in a new window/tab)

But that’s not everything. Floor-to-ceiling windows (preferably if they have slim profiles) seem to disappear, literally blurring the line between indoor and outdoor. This is what biophilic design would call prospect: a long uninterrupted view over a distance. And it's exactly this that makes indoor-outdoor spaces so breathtaking!

Indoor-outdoor living space seen from outdoors.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Pitsou Kedem Architects (opened in a new window/tab). Photo by Amit Geron.
Full-height pivoting door that almost seamlessly connects the interior to a terrace with a wide view.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Studio KO (opened in a new window/tab) (via Yellowtrace) (opened in a new window/tab)

Indoor-outdoor materials

Natural materials are always preferred in a biophilic design. They introduce a variety of textures that make the space more engaging for the senses. And they are also ideal for indoor-outdoor spaces. Elements like wood, rattan, vienna straw and bamboo can be found in both interior and patio furniture. Using them throughout the space will help create a consistent style that will make the indoor-outdoor connection even more effective.

Outdoor seating area with a rattan armchair.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Marie Flanigan (opened in a new window/tab)

The biophilic design essential: greenery

Greenery is another obvious element that makes indoor-outdoor spaces biophilic. But it’s not just the greenery outdoors that counts. Having lush greenery indoors (like a garden wall design) can really merge the home with its surroundings, making indoor and outdoor feel like one unique space. Not to mention the air-cleaning properties that plants can bring indoors!

Bathroom facing a huge window with plenty of plants down the bathtub.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: NhaDan Co. (opened in a new window/tab)

Lighting for wellbeing

It might seem strange, but the strong connection with nature that indoor-outdoor spaces create also impacts the way we use artificial lighting. When the sun sets, it will feel more natural to slightly dim the lights indoors. This is a little move but it can make a giant impact on our wellbeing! (more about it on the post about Human Centric Lighting.)

Indoor-outdoor space at sunset.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Spasm Design (opened in a new window/tab). Photo by Photographix.

For an indoor-outdoor space to be fully effective, it’s important that the outdoor is just as inviting as the interior. In this respect, indoor-outdoor spaces are having a moment these days. With outdoor furniture being more beautiful than ever before, it’s becoming easier to create an equally cozy atmosphere both indoors and outdoors.
In fact, outdoor furniture can easily be used inside the home as well! And now that I think about it, this would be a great idea to solve the always actual extra chairs dilemma!

Indoor-outdoor seating area.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Hyatt (opened in a new window/tab)
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