biophilic design: the many uses of plants in interiors
in biophilic design
Plants are the most commonly mentioned biophilic design element. And there are many good reasons to add plants in interiors! Plants add life to any space, can help create a connection with seasonal changes, and strengthen local identity.
Adding greenery to interiors opens a whole world of choices and possibilities. In particular, plants are not just decorative and can serve a number of functions in interior spaces.
So let’s review some of the less common – yet equally impressive – uses of plants in interiors…
partitioning the space
Creating a room divider with plants is an option that applies to homes, commercial spaces and workplaces alike. Plant partitions create privacy without closing the space up completely. Light can still pass through, which preserves an airy feel in the room and maintains prospect views. According to the specific case, plant dividers can also help to achieve a sense of mystery or create a refuge corner.
adding a layer of texture
Plants always add an interesting textural element. And when layered over a flat surface, this effect is even more marked. Textures in interiors contribute to wellbeing in that they introduce a multi-sensory feature that can be looked at, touched and smelt, making the overall design more engaging.
creating a focal point
Plants draw the eye. So they’re an ideal candidate to create impressive focal points in interiors! Living walls are a great example, but they’re not the only option. Draping or potted plants can also be styled to add a point of interest. And since this doesn’t require structural changes, it’s also a great solution for rented spaces.
highlighting distinctive features
When used wisely, plants can drive attention to a specific feature of the design. For instance, they can follow architectural lines or highlight the transition between different materials.
disguising unwanted features
On the other hand, plants can also disguise unwanted features or make sense of funky elements of the space. A column right in the middle of a room gains a whole different appeal when covered in plants. And what about disguising an ugly backsplash with a garden wall design?
changing the perceived scale
The way in which the size of a plant relates to the other elements in a room affects the overall perception of scale. A plant that goes up the ceiling will make the entire room feel taller, giving a visual clue of the actual height of the space.
Plants are a natural way to create shade. Tall and draping plants can effectively substitute (or complement) curtains and shades, improving thermal comfort both indoors and outdoors.
Edible plants come with the extra advantage of providing fresh and zero-km cooking ingredients. Herbs are the most common option, but other fruits & vegetables can also be planted in a small indoor garden.
Population growth forecasts even suggest that growing our own food (at least in part) will become a necessity going forward.
adding art + décor
Last but not least, what indoor plants are mostly used for – décor. From sculptural vessels, to hanging vases and moss artworks… There are a million and one ways to complement a design with a living finishing touch.
Adding plants to interiors has multiple advantages. But looking at greenery as a piece of décor is reductive! With the appropriate design thought behind, plants can serve many different functions, becoming decorative and practical at the same time.