Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Connect with nature indoors

Have you heard of the word Biophilia?

Biophilia means love of life or living things

According to botanist James Wong —The concept of Biophilia Design is creating a pocket of calm and tranquility in urban spaces.

Essentially, humans are born with an instinct of always wanting to be one with nature, which is exactly how the world was created and meant to be. 

With evolution and urbanization, the trend to live in apartments versus houses has left people deprived of the environment and the mental and physical health benefits that come for free. 


Do you that, knowingly or unknowingly humans seek a connect with nature at all times?

When humans are deprived of nature around them, stress levels increase. There is a sense of mystery, joy or refuge in plants, which we see as really calming, they break from the intensity and anxiety of regular day to day life. 

With the current pandemic situation, where lockdowns, work from home or a hybrid situation is the norm, people in the confines of their small apartments are experiencing symptoms of withdrawal from nature. Depression, break downs, anxiety, loneliness are at the doorstep of millions of people. Biophilic design has never felt more important than in these times. Plants help create a feeling of tranquility and warmth in a home.

A few years ago, I refurbished my home, after the civil work was complete (I couldn’t wait for that part of the work to be done with) The interior decorator came in with the standard requirements of furniture, lighting, art and artifacts. It was a beautifully done up home but every time I looked around, I felt the need for warmth to be added to my space, this warmth came in only but only when I added plants. 

My plants are the showstoppers

My plants brought in the warmth of a home

My plants set a mood of calmness

Every morning it is my pleasure to walk up to my plants, feed them, talk to them and nurture them. The delight to see new sprouts or blossoms keeps me wanting more time with them each morning. 

It sets my mood for the day

Kick starts my day with joy.


Did you know that one of the most important constituents of our habitat is the colour GREEN?

The colour green is all-important; it has been linked to almost everything positive from lowering crime rates to increasing birth rates. A walk in the park can change the mood of the most stressed, angry human within minutes. It represents growth and renewal and taking action (green light is a go ahead light) when you are surrounded by green your personality gets refreshed, you relax, your health improves and it adds strength to your life. 


So why not introduce Biophilic Design into your home space?

You can create your own view with houseplants for all seasons.

– On a windowsill, in multiple corners, corners where you spend the most time.

– A statement large stand-alone plant or clusters of small pots a mix and match of both would be nice.

– Choose plants that change over time —flowering seasonally, sprouting new leaves quickly.

– Think about how you want to feel in a space or corner and then build plants around that space. For example— your lazy boy chair is your reading spot, you sit on it with your early morning tea and to wind down the day at night. This space should definitely have plants around it. Or your kitchen windowsill could have a row of hanging plants, a treat for the eyes and warm company each time you enter to cook a meal for one. 

– Create an atmosphere by replicating nature, in nature plants tend to cluster together, go for odd numbers of the same type or family of plants (cacti, succulents) You will get the feel like a corner of nature versus a potted plant.

Remember — Things in nature don’t grow symmetrically.


Plants that thrive indoors, clean the air and bring a sense of inner peace —

Jasmine — A member of the olive family, needs plenty of sunlight, the white flowers suffuse the air with its pleasant scent bringing calmness. 

Lavender — A shrub with bright purple flowers and famously floral fragrance is known to bring tranquility. (Think; baby oils, soaps, aroma candles)

Aloe Vera — Though difficult to work around because of its sticky gel, it cleanses the air and the gel is great for burns and insect bites. Best placed on a windowsill.

Snake Plant — Also known as the mother in laws tongue or St. George’s sword. This unusual-looking plant has spear-shaped leaves that grow upwards with distinctive yellow borders. One of the top air purifying plants, producing high amounts of oxygen throughout the night.

Peace Lily — A forest green plant with elegant white flowers makes for a soothing look and a top-rated air cleanser.

Cacti and Succulents — A wide variety to choose from, simple care and easy to look after.

With the world going in and out of lockdowns, travel has never been more difficult, with any number of RC-PTR tests, lengthy check-in and security procedures one really thinks twice before making that booking.


Houseplants can make you feel like you are on holiday —

Choose houseplants that match your holiday destination —

Moroccian Raid: Banana Palm, Papyrus Plant, Colocasia, Date Palm, Bougainvillea, Oleander, Agave.

Mediterranean Cruise: Lavender, Opuntia Cacti, Eucalyptus, Olive tree, 

Australian Rainforest: Kentia Palm, Staghorn Fern, Hoya Australis, Umbrella Tree.

South African Safari: Strelitzia Nicolai, Kalanchoe, Zamioculcas, String of Pearls, Haworthia, Protea.

Japanese garden: Azalea, Japanese Spindle, Bonsai Trees, Mini Zen Gardens, Japanese painted Fern, Moss Balls.

Amazonian Jungle: Orchids, Air Plants, Heliconia, Philodendrons, Dieffenbachia.

Make interacting with plants like repotting, polishing their leaves, spraying them with water for that early morning dew effect, talking to them, and admiring them your daily fix.

Become a Biophilia Design Geek by creating pockets of love, calm and life in your apartment.

All this mindfulness training is seen as signs for personal growth and serenity.

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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