3 ways to create a happy, healthy home with nature-connected design

3 ways to create a happy, healthy home with nature-connected design

    By Rachael Ridley  September 24th, 2020

    Humans are innately connected to nature, but with most of us spending 90% of our time indoors this relationship has diminished. Biophilic design or nature-connected design posits humans are happier in built environments that replicate or draw inspiration from nature. Amazingly, research shows this theory is correct: integrating nature into our offices, hospitals, schools and houses has a range of health benefits. Here are some easy ways you can incorporate nature into your home to reap the health benefits for you and your family.


    1. Bring the outdoors in

    The easiest and cheapest way to incorporate nature into your home is by decorating it with plants. They are not only beautiful to look at but are also good for your health. Research shows the presence of plants has been linked to improved cognitive function, and even lowered blood pressure and heart rates! If you’re new to gardening, Gardening Australia has some great tips on how to care for indoor plants.

    House plants

    2. Buy furniture made of wood

    A simple way to incorporate natural materials in your home is to select furniture made out of them. According to Planet Ark research, Australians appear to be innately drawn towards wood. The results indicate that wood elicits feelings of warmth, comfort and relaxation and creates a link to nature. 

    The same report also shows natural looking wooden surfaces are strongly associated with increased wellbeing and satisfaction. Additionally, using nature-connected design in work areas can increase rates of learning and improve test results and concentration levels. So, if you want to see improvements in performance at work or on your teenager’s test results, consider buying desks made out of wood (responsibly sourced, if possible) and decorating your home office with plants.

    Wooden furniture

    3. Build with responsibly sourced wood

    If you’re planning a build or looking for a new home, consider a house made out of wood. Multiple physiological and psychological benefits have been identified for wooden interiors including:

    • improvements to a person’s emotional state and level of self-expression

    • reduced blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels

    • and improved air quality through humidity moderation

    Using responsibly sourced wood as a building material also has a suite of environmental benefits and can actually be used to tackle climate change. Wood stores C02 from the atmosphere for the long-term (about 50% of the dry weight of wood is carbon) and the production and processing of wood uses much less energy than most other building materials, meaning it has a significantly lower carbon footprint. 

    Wood is also a natural insulator. In fact, it’s 15 times better than masonry and concrete, 400 times better than steel, and 1,770 times better than aluminium. This helps to reduce the cost of heating and cooling the building, which also reduces the household’s carbon footprint.

    Wooden houses


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    Rachael Ridley

    Rachael joined Planet Ark in early 2019 after eight years working in media and publishing as a producer, editor and writer. Rachael loves using her skills in content creation and communication to instigate positive environmental behaviour change. Outside of work, Rachael enjoys spending time in nature, listening to music and patting dogs.

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