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Biophilic Design: Creative Ways to Bring Nature into Your Home

Onda chair in office surrounded by greenery

Imagine being surrounded by lush greenery. Hearing the crash of ocean waves. Soaking up the sun in a desert landscape. Many of us feel more relaxed and refreshed after being in nature, whether it’s a stroll in a garden, a satisfying hike, or simply a break sitting on a park bench to admire the view. According to biologist Edward O. Wilson, the pull we feel toward nature is about more than just aesthetics – it’s an innate drive. Wilson’s biophilia hypothesis posits that paying attention to nature helped our human ancestors survive because nature is such a rich source of both sustenance and danger – hence, the enduring human interest in and attraction toward other living things.

By extension, biophilic design is about incorporating natural elements into human-made environments (homes, workplaces, schools, etc.) so that we feel more connected to nature and experience improved health and wellbeing. Research shows that biophilic design offers a wealth of benefits, from stress reduction and enhanced mood, to better sleep and more social engagement. Though biophilic design is often seen on a large, architectural scale in elements such as skylights, green spaces, water features, and open floorplans, it can be applied on a smaller scale to interior design as well. For instance, indoor plants not only beautify a space, they can also reduce fatigue and improve air quality.

Kim Downman, a sales associate at Copenhagen’s Austin location, can speak to the positive impact that nature has had on her home. “I’ve been growing orchids [shown right] for about 15 years,” she says. “It’s one of my hobbies and it’s incredibly rewarding. I had blooms from January to August of last year so it’s almost like having a mini garden in my house.”

If you’re looking for ways to introduce more nature into your indoor spaces, read on to learn which elements to consider – as well as Downman’s personal recommendations for biophilic furniture and accessories offered at Copenhagen.


For Downman, there’s nothing better than live plants for bringing the outdoors in. “Personally, I love plants, but I realize not everyone has a green thumb,” she says. “Fortunately, we have some really nice artificial plants that can give the same effect.” The Yucca Plant, for instance, features three spiked heads and life-size dimensions that will make it the highlight of any room, while the Birdsnest Tree has bright green leaves and a slim profile ideal for smaller spaces. Downman also recommends putting natural objects on display – “For example, bamboo reeds or feathers in a vase make a nice statement.”

Larger furniture pieces and accessories crafted from natural materials – especially wood – can create a powerful sense of atmosphere. For instance, one study showed that being in a room with a moderate amount of wooden material decreases blood pressure and increases feelings of comfort. Copenhagen offers the walnut-veneered Aristo Dining Table that features wood with an elegant grain and organic design that evokes the look of tree trunks.

Bamboo is also becoming an increasingly popular material due to its sustainability, strength, and versatility. Copenhagen’s Nani Bed is not only made of 100% Moso bamboo, it also has a curved headboard with a striking tiger accent that makes it a stylish choice for any modern bedroom.

Other natural materials you may like to experiment with include stone or marble, cotton, linen, wool, and rattan. For instance, the Mackena Lamp has a base that prominently features a slab of ivory marble with its veining left intact for a raw and eye-catching look.

Color, Pattern, & Image

Color can have a powerful influence on the energy of an interior. Blues, greens, and whites are well-loved choices that evoke the hues of natural landscapes to imbue a space with a clean, calm ambiance. Earth tones such as brown, beige, orange, and red are also popular for giving a room a warmer and more grounded feel. For example, the Evan Sofa features warm brown leather and plush seats that bring a comfortable vibe to your living room, while the Ardea Sofa is upholstered in a soft ocean blue leather that makes it an ideal spot for lounging and dreaming.

Furniture and accessories that feature floral, animal, or other natural prints can serve to bring a touch of the outdoors inside. Consider the Aimi Rug, with its design of delicate branches on an icy blue-grey background, or the Arco Rug, with its grey and gold pattern that resembles the facets of rocks and gemstones. The Atlantis Dining Table is a showstopping piece that features a Crystalart glass tabletop with a design reminiscent of water flowing over land.

Also consider accenting a room with images of your favorite natural locales for a soothing or invigorating vibe. Research has shown that even imagery of nature confers some of the same benefits as real-world exposure, namely stress reduction and boosted mood. Copenhagen offers a variety of nature-themed wall art, including Downman’s personal favorite, Bluebells – featuring an extra-large size that brings the vibrancy of the woods right into your home.


Furniture and accessories whose designs echo natural forms can add harmony and visual interest to a space. Look for pieces featuring organic curves, live edges, pleasing asymmetry, circles, spirals, or other shapes that remind you of something living. “I’m a fan of anything with an organic shape or texture,” Downman says. “People tend to gravitate towards everything square and you need rounded edges and forms found in nature to break all that up.” She loves the intricate look of the Meduse Vase, whose gently folded edges and mottled blue body are reminiscent of a sea creature.

Nature-inspired shapes on a larger scale can create a dramatic effect, as seen in the flowing, ribbon-like base of the Butterfly Dining Table or the stylish S-curve of the Sylvester Chaise Lounge, both by Cattelan Italia. Similarly, the Crystal Coffee Table by Elite Modern features three angled legs that resemble a crystal formation, plus a top and base whose dynamic, curved contours echo each other.


Touch is one of our more neglected senses, but tactile sensations can have a strong impact on feelings of comfort, interest, and stimulation. When buying nature-themed pieces, pay attention to the specific texture of an item as well as its visual qualities and comfort level. Some people enjoy a realistically uneven or rugged feel, such as the live edge of the acacia wood Copenhagen Dining Table, a favorite of Downman’s. “This table is a showpiece and conversation starter in so many ways,” she says. “Also, no two are alike, so the client is getting a one-of-a-kind item.”

Many nature-inspired accessories have highly evocative tactile qualities, such as the desert-themed Pear Vase with its slightly rough, sandy texture or the Pond Bowls with their rounded, bubble-like accents. The tree trunks of the Birch Divider, in addition to their realistic look, have an organic texture with lifelike papery layers.


As a final tip, be mindful of the way your interiors are laid out so you can receive maximal benefit from nature and biophilic elements. For instance, position furniture to give you a good view of the outdoors, as well as optimal exposure to daylight – studies have proven that light exposure can brighten our mood and improve circadian rhythms, leading to better sleep. If the weather permits, open your windows so you can enjoy fresh air, breezes, and perhaps even birdsong – shown to relieve stress. Place plants, artwork, and accessories next to seating or within your line of sight so you always have something in view to give you a boost.

Though biophilic design is a relatively new movement, it has garnered increased attention and popularity in recent years. As urbanization accelerates, proponents of biophilic design hope to unite nature, architecture, and interior design to create spaces that remind us of the vital role nature plays in our wellbeing. If you’re ready to reap the benefits of biophilic design, visit your local Copenhagen to explore our collection and chat with designers and associates – like Kim Downman – who are happy to offer tips for bringing nature home with you.