Biophilic Design, Patterns of Nature In The Space

Based on our love of nature, Biophilic Design provides a new framework for interior designers and architects, in which to create spaces where people are healthier, more satisfied and more productive when designing your home. It addresses how environments affect how well we think and perform, how we feel, and how our physical bodies respond. This is one of the tools we at Indigo Interiors, Inc. and Stacey Lapuk Interiors make use of, to ensure that your house becomes your dream home.

Stacey Lapuk, ASID

There are 3 categories into which this new science finds itself. They are Nature In The Space, Natural Analogues and Nature Of The Space. Each category is made up of a number of various Patterns. In this article we’ll explore how we incorporate the Patterns of our first category, Nature In The Space, into the interior design of your home.

The 7 Patterns in our first category reflect how actual, natural elements are felt in our living spaces. Pattern #1 is how we visually connect with nature. To contribute to a feeling of wholeness, what we see needs to grab our attention, can be stimulating or calming, but must always convey a sense of time, and the presence of life. A view to elements of nature and natural processes can accomplish that. Clustering a variety of plants around a seating area when designing the living room is one idea. Be sure there is a variety of species and sizes, just as one would see in nature.

Pattern #2 is called “Non-Visual Connection with Nature”. Your other senses need attention, too. What you hear, smell and feel with deliberate and positive references to nature, conditions that are variable yet still familiar and comfortable will have you feeling refreshed and well-balanced. Non-continuous bird songs, an herb garden perhaps designed into your kitchen, window seats in a family room design from which you can feel the heat from the sun, or a soft water feature just loud enough to be heard from the next room are all ways in which you will benefit from your environment when including them in your house plans.

Random and fleeting patterns make up Pattern #3, “Non-Rhythmic Sensory Stimuli”. Something that allows you to feel momentarily aware of a special event. Maybe a bird flying in front of you or the surprise of a color in the reflection of a pool of water. You feel fresh, and energized, even amused. Though brief and unpredictable, it is a welcome distraction. Sometimes reflective surfaces can have this effect, such as a glass table in the dining room, or the shine of a Venetian plaster wall in a bedroom design.

Pattern #4 addresses subtle changes in air temperature, humidity and the feeling of air flowing across your skin or in your hair. Mimicking natural environments, you feel comfortable and alive. Leaving doors or windows open when appropriate to feel this “Thermal and Airflow Variability” provides a positive energy as you move through your home or office.

“The Presence of Water” is Pattern #5. Seeing, hearing or even touching water enhances your experience of place. I have a swimming pool I rarely use, yet it just feels good to see it out the back door. Water views, indoor or outdoor water fountains, even the act of taking a bath or shower helps us to anchor in our environment. Consider a decorative water element in your entry design, or in the garden leading to your front door. Archie Held is an amazing sculptor who created a gorgeous bronze water piece for a client of mine in Portola Valley, CA. You can see his work at

Everchanging light and shadow, moving from a bright space through a softer one into yet another, differently lit space imitate the “Dynamic and Diffuse Light”, our Pattern #6, that occur in nature. That’s why we like candlelight, the setting or rising sun, and the play of shadows. Try placing candles inside a fireplace design, for example.

Our last pattern in this category of Nature In The Space, Pattern #7, is called “Connection with Natural Systems”. We like to be aware of natural processes such as watching a seedling sprout on our windowsill. In particular, our recognition of the changing seasons and other aspects of our environment that shift with the passage of time reflect a healthy ecosystem, a “wholesome” space in which to live and thrive.

Coming soon, a breakdown of the next Category of Biophilic Design, the 3 Patterns of Natural Analogues.

For more information about Biophilic Design, please visit Terrapin Bright Green ( a sustainability consulting and strategic planning firm; “Forging connections with nature to improve health and wellbeing in the built environment.”

For interior design services properly utilizing elements of Biophilia, please call Stacey Lapuk, ASID, at 415-493-6469, email to, or visit us at

Stacey Lapuk, ASID

Stacey Lapuk, ASID is celebrating her 30th year with her firm. Named “One of America’s Ten Designers To Watch” by Design Times Magazine, one of the “Top 100 Interior Designer in North America” by Blink Art Resources, and the winner of multiple national design awards.  Her goal is simple: To co-create with her clients the home of their dreams with responsive and comprehensive solutions, and timeless, beautiful results.

Her full service firm attracts clients desiring the finest workmanship, materials and custom design. Facets of work include partnering with architects on new construction, remodels, kitchen design and bath design, color consultation, custom furniture, flooring, area carpets, wall and window treatments, lighting design, art procurement and antique acquisition.  Service areas include but are not limited to Marin County, San Francisco, Napa, Sonoma, Ross, Kenfield, Belvedere, Tiburon, San Rafael, and Pacific Heights.