What does Biophilic design have in common with forest bathing?

Nicla D Interiors
Guest blog from Nicla from Nicla D Interiors

A few days ago I drove all the way from Reading to Winchester to experience my first forest therapy guided by Sonya Dibbin who helped us, a small group of five women, to immerse our senses and connect deeply with nature, which is the essence of forest bathing.

We were invited to disconnect from everything that required our attention – first of all we switched off our mobiles – and then with our eyes closed we started activating the other senses to connect with the natural environment around us, an ancient woodland outside Winchester. The aim of this exercise was to feel at one with nature, listening to the birds chirping around, the wind rustling through the leaves and inundating our sense of smell with the different scents around us. 

According to evidence provided by the University of Derby, connecting with nature leads to an increased status of happiness, health, empathy, kindness and personal growth.

I love my daily walk in the woods with my dog Axel, however, the forest bathing guided by Sonya was an unique experience that led us into the ‘therapeutic healing zone’ of sensory immersion.

I was told by Sonya that I was already connected with nature at a deep level and I would like to explain you why.

I’m an interior designer based in Reading but I was born and raised in Italy, in a region called Puglia in the South East coast of Italy, what they call the heal of the boot. My hometown Fasano is located in a valley between the seaside and hills as you can see in the picture below.

The arrow indicates where my parent’s house is! 🙂

I grew up in this town surrounded by olive trees and amazing nature. It is not surprising that nature has always been part of my life hence my love and connection to it.

My interior’s design style is influenced by my roots and therefore, it is just my love of nature combined with my passion for interiors and bold colours that has inspired me to apply the principles of Biophilic Design and colour psychology when I design interiors spaces for my clients.

If you have never heard about Biophilic Design before, keep reading as I will introduce its concepts to you. 

How many of you feel good in nature? If I’d ask you to imagine a place where you feel happy and relaxed, I’m sure many of you would describe a warm, sandy beach or woodland walk or anything related to nature like listening to bird song or a magnificent view.

That’s what biophilia is. It’s the simple, core truth that human need a connection with nature to be content. It’s the idea that people – since the beginning of time – must feel linked to their natural environment, and the other living things in it, not only to survive but to thrive. It’s a fundamental part of who we are. 

These concepts were introduced and popularised by an American biologist, Edward Osborne Wilson in his book, Biophilia (1984) where he defined Biophilia as “an innate and genetically determined affinity of human being  with the natural world”.

This concept has been tweaked and reinterpreted ever since by disciplines as diverse as architecture, psychiatry and neuroscience. Biophilia is also an idea that’s at the heart of biophilic interior design. Indeed, from the cave paintings to classical Greek temples and the organic curves of the art nouveau, humans have always recreated nature in their built surroundings and celebrate it visually or with other senses. As nature makes us feel good, it makes perfect sense to bring natural elements into the design of our homes and buildings. 

In interior design, the principles of Biophilia are used to transform the living and working spaces into places that inspire, invigorate and enrich our life. 



Biophilic design focuses on bringing outdoor elements indoors and offers us an easy way to reconnect with natural materials, natural light and other experiences of the natural world in a modern environment. Transferring biophilic design into our living and working space can create a sanctuary of calmness and improve our overall health.

Placing nature and natural materials in our home has been shown to not only reduce stress, blood pressure levels and heart rates, but it can also improve our overall moods, making us feel happier, calmer and more relaxed.  

With stress levels on the rise and busy lifestyle, we are not giving ourselves the time to restore our energy and we spend less time outside, therefore the need to harness the healing power of nature at home through weaving elements of biophilic design into it.

It has been scientifically proven that placing plants and natural materials in working environments for example, brings a lot of positive benefits. Here’s the facts:

  • In offices productivity increases by 8%, well-being by 13%
  • In schools learning rates can rise by 20-25%, test results improve, concentration levels increase
  • In Retail, customer have said they are willing to pay 8-12% more for goods and services when in a space with biophilic elements, such as plants
  • In healthcare, the results are spectacular. Post -op recovery times can be reduced by 8.5% and the need for pain-reduction medication can be lowered by 22% Hospital in Singapore
  • Hotels? Customers are willing to pay 23% more for rooms with a view 



Bringing natural elements indoors, benefit both people’s mental health and physical wellbeing. According to the Biophilic Manifesto, there are three key ways to make a biophilic space:

  • Ensure that a space puts you in direct, physical contact with nature – whether it’s filling your house with flowers and plants, enjoying real fire or making sure your home is awash with fresh air.
  • Embrace many different things in your living space that remind you of natural things – this could be patterns, colours, material and textures.
  • Live in a way that connects to natural rhythms and outside spaces – this could be living in tune with the seasons, letting in more natural light and making the most of outdoor views. 

With the increasing time spent indoors lately, this is the perfect time for you to re-think the way you live and especially the space you live and now also work in.

I would highly recommend you to introduce biophilic elements into your home as bringing nature indoors, as much as spending time in green spaces like the forest bathing sessions organised by Sonya at  https://adoreyouroutdoors.co.uk/ benefits both your mental and physical wellbeing. 

  • Reduce stress
  • Improve mood, cognitive functions and health
  • Increase energy, creativity, productivity and feeling of safety
  • Provides a better quality of life
  • Improve anxiety and depression


I would be happy to have a free of charge, no obligation call with you. You can contact me via email info@nicladinteriors.com for arranging the call with me.

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