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Life in Private Spaces: Designing a Biophilic Bathroom

The bathroom is often the most used yet underappreciated part of the home. By remodeling your bathroom after spotting signs of wear and tear, you can transform the space into a luxurious and modern sanctuary. Not only can you use your bathroom to get ready for the day, but you can also energize and recharge in this private space.

With the many design trends for bathrooms, how do you choose one that best suits your space? Consider turning your functional bathroom into a private sanctuary by applying the principles of biophilia.

The Need to Connect with Nature

Biophilia is a term popularized by psychologist Edward O. Wilson from his book of the same title. It means “love of nature” and refers to the desire to reconnect with nature and natural systems.

The concept of introducing biophilia into the home is not new. Cultures around the world have long brought nature into their homes through garden courtyards, houseplants, ponds, and aquariums.

But, biophilia is increasing in popularity in recent years. With more people living in urban areas, there is an increased need for us to connect with nature and the outdoors to maintain a sense of wellness.

And, with most of our lives spent indoors, the home becomes more than just a place to fulfill our basic needs. Biophilia helps us connect with the environment while helping us relax by stimulating our senses in a way technology and the built environment cannot.

The thrust toward sustainability has also increased the number of homes incorporating biophilic design. Architects, designers, engineers, and property owners now create properties while considering the health and wellbeing of the occupants. Certifications like LEED, the WELL Being Standard, and the Living Building Challenge encourage the industry to build sustainable homes in exchange for incentives.

Biophilic Design Improves Health and Well-Being

Incorporating biophilic design in your home improves several aspects of your health and wellbeing:

  • Physical Health

Introducing plants improves air quality, since they absorb bacteria, mold, pollutants, and toxins. Plants return water vapor in the air, making you less susceptible to allergens and respiratory ailments. Biophilic elements also trigger the relaxation of muscles and lower blood pressure.

  • Mental Health

Being surrounded by natural elements reduces anger and stress levels, making you feel calm and relaxed. A visual connection with nature also leads to a more positive attitude compared to exposure to non-natural elements.

  • Productivity

Natural light regulates your sleep cycles, making you more energetic and productive to start the day. Biophilic features also improve creativity and clarity of thought. Exposure to natural elements provides opportunities for a mental break, enhancing memory and our ability to think and learn.

Using the 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design

To guide you in designing a biophilic bathroom, take note of the 14 patterns of biophilic design as laid out by Terrapin Bright Green, a sustainability consulting firm. These patterns have been used by a variety of homes and commercial spaces incorporating biophilia in their design:

Nature in the Space

Nature in the Space addresses the direct and physical appearance of natural elements in an area, including plants, animals, water, sounds, and scents. This includes seven biophilic patterns:

  1. Visual Connection with Nature: A direct view of natural elements like plants, animals, and natural textures
  2. Non-Visual Connection with Nature: Using the five senses (sight, smell, touch, hearing, taste) to evoke a connection with nature
  3. Non-Rhythmic Sensory Stimuli: Stimuli in consistent yet unpredictable motion that evoke a connection with nature, like the shimmering of water features and swaying of grass
  4. Thermal and Airflow Variability: Changes in the air temperature, airflow across the skin, relative humidity, and surface temperatures that mirror the natural environment
  5. Presence of Water: Elements that let you see, hear, or touch water, like fountains
  6. Dynamic and Diffuse Light: Allowing natural light into the space using windows, skylights, and mirrors
  7. Connection with Natural Systems: Awareness of natural processes like changes in the season and a view of the outdoors

Natural Analogs

These three elements address indirect recreations of nature, from nature-inspired artwork to furniture and décor made with natural materials.

  1. Biomorphic Forms and Patterns: Symbols that refer to patterns and textures found in nature
  2. Material Connection with Nature: Materials made from natural materials like wood, straw, and stone
  3. Complexity and Order: Recreating the natural environment based on symmetries and spatial hierarchies, like curves and arches

Nature of the Space

Nature of the Space addresses the innate desire to see beyond immediate surroundings. It includes four biophilic design patterns:

  1. Prospect: An unobstructed view over a distance, for planning and surveillance
  2. Refuge: A space to withdraw from daily activities and that protects you from behind and overhead
  3. Mystery: Partially obscured views that entice you to delve deeper into the environment
  4. Risk/Peril: A recognizable threat combined with a trustworthy safeguard

Introducing Biophilic Elements to Your Bathroom

Biophilia gives you exciting opportunities to turn your bathroom from a harsh and sterile space into a tranquil and relaxing getaway that allows you to energize and recharge at the beginning and end of each day. Here is how you can introduce biophilic elements to your bathroom and turn it into a luxurious space:

Let in Natural Light

Improve the overall sense of tranquility and let in natural light by widening your windows. Having an expansive view of the outdoors lets you look out at the trees, your pool, or the backyard without stepping out of the house. If you’re concerned about privacy, use privacy window films so you can enjoy the view outside without worrying about curious neighbors or passersby.

Other ways to let in natural light are by installing roof windows and skylights. If your bathroom doesn’t have windows, use mirrors and glass walls to give the illusion of more light.

Add Greenery

Decorate your bathroom with houseplants. Choose plant types that are low-maintenance and thrive in high humidity, like bamboo, orchids, and spider plants. Add large potted plants on the floor and smaller succulents in spare spaces. You can also add hanging baskets if you have room for them.

Choose Natural Tones

Skip the usual white or flashy colors and choose colors that complement nature. Clay, blue, green, and flaxen yellow work well with textiles and walls. For your bathroom floor, choose dark earthy or light colors, or opt for stone or wood flooring.

If you don’t have the budget to replace your walls or flooring with natural materials, consider creating a natural look with tiles and washable wallpaper.

Incorporating Natural Materials

Use natural materials in your flooring, vanity, walls, and other bathroom components to get a feel of nature. Look for bamboo, cork, stone, and wood to bring the outdoors inside your bathroom. When decorating, look for objects that incorporate natural fibers (like rattan and wicker) or elements (like sand and shells).

Mirror Natural Looks

Avoid clean lines related to modern bathroom designs. Install an oval sink, a curvy bathtub, or patterned wallpaper with botanical motifs.

Improving the Look of Your Biophilic Bathroom

It’s not enough to incorporate natural elements in your bathroom. Enhance your bathroom experience with the following tips:

Focus on One to Two Key Materials

Just because you want to bring nature to your bathroom doesn’t mean you have to add all the natural elements you can find. Choose a couple of materials to focus on, such as a combination of stone and wood. These key materials will dictate the overall look of your bathroom, from the walling and flooring to the accessories.

Less is More with Bathroom Products

Instead of stocking your bathroom with an excessive number of products, choose just the right amount of items for your space. When applying the biophilic approach to design, surfaces should remain uninterrupted and uncluttered to give you a good feel of the natural world. Store toiletries and cleaning products when not in use, and store items you regularly need on wall cabinets or in wire wall baskets.

The bathroom isn’t just a space where you can get ready for the day; it’s also a private space where you can energize yourself or relax after a busy day. By adding natural elements, you can design a bathroom that you’ll love walking into every time.

Bring New Life to Your Bathroom with Total Home Remodeling

Want to connect with nature in the comforts of your own home? It’s possible with a bathroom remodel.

Connect with Total Home Remodeling for premium bathroom remodeling services in Kansas City. Our fully customized designs, excellent customer service, and remarkable craftsmanship have made us the top choice for renovation needs in the city.

Don’t settle for cookie-cutter remodeling projects. At Total Home Remodeling, we make sure that your vision for a nature-inspired bathroom comes to life. Our team of designers sits down with you to discuss your ideas, goals, and budget. We get back to you quickly with a custom design that fits your needs and expectations.

Once you sign the contract, our expert contractors will get to work. Enjoy incredible results thanks to our expert craftsmen who make sure that we get your bathroom remodeling project right the first time.

Start and end each day in a refreshing and relaxing bathroom renovated by Total Home Remodeling. To get a quote or learn more about our services, fill out our form or call us at (913) 270-8570.


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