Wellness Kitchen | 4 Biophilic Design Strategies for a Healthier & Happier Space
By, Kate Hamblet
Biophilic design is all about bringing nature into the design of your home to create spaces that support and enhance your well-being. It aims to strengthen the connection between people and nature, promoting a sense of calm, productivity, and overall wellness.
There are so many ways to bring nature into your home! Some are very straightforward like bringing in plants and natural objects or bringing in patterns that feel like nature. Others are more obscure like when thinking about prospect and refuge, and fear and awe strategies.
If you’re designing an entire home or doing a major renovation, it can feel overwhelming to think through biophilic design strategies for the whole house. So it’s good to focus on one room at a time.
And today we’re focusing on biophilic kitchen design strategies!
A big component of creating a healthy home is to include a wellness kitchen, and a biophilic kitchen design goes hand in hand with a wellness kitchen. A wellness kitchen is a calm space that invites you in, encourages you to prepare healthy meals, promotes family time, and improves the health of the planet. (Learn more about Wellness Kitchens here.)
Here are 4 biophilic design strategies that will be a perfect accompaniment to your wellness kitchen!
Plants are certainly the most common way to bring nature into your home, and for good reason! They are literally bringing life into your house. But plants can often become overwhelming. So it’s best to start out small and just bring in a few plants.
My favorites to have in a kitchen are herbs. They are easy to grow and they provide a constant fresh food source right in your kitchen. I’ve found that having fresh herbs growing in my kitchen encourages me to prepare healthy meals.
Windows and Natural Light
When designing your kitchen, make sure there is natural light. If you have an open-plan layout, you can rely on some shared light from nearby spaces, but you also want to make sure the kitchen has its own window. A window in the kitchen will provide the light needed to grow your herbs, but it also connects you to nature in one of the easiest ways- by literally opening up to nature! We can hear the sounds of nature, feel the breeze, and even smell blossoming trees.
There’s a biophilic design element called prospect and refuge. Prospect is when we’re able to look out over a large area to observe what’s out there (fundamentally, it was how we hunted and stayed safe), and refuge is the safe zone that we are looking out from. We innately gravitate toward this scenario, and it makes us feel happy and safe. A kitchen window provides that opportunity.
Patterns and Colors
Another great design strategy is to incorporate natural patterns and colors. This can include wallpaper or backsplashes that mimic a certain natural geometric design. When choosing a color, use greens and sky blue to help awaken and calm your body. It’s important to integrate natural materials such as wood, cotton, and stone as well. These can be used in seating, counters, and floors. Include organic forms found in nature such as rounded edges on counters instead of rectangular.
It’s hard to have an inviting kitchen when it’s full of noisy gadgets and appliances. There are a few things you can do to minimize annoying sounds and encourage natural sounds when designing your kitchen.
When choosing appliances, make sure to read reviews and look for very quiet ones. Humming refrigerators and noisy dishwashers are irritants that make us want to leave the kitchen.
Try swapping out electric gadgets with human-powered ones such as egg beaters and potato mashers. That way, conversations don’t need to stop when you have to whip something up!
Choose some soft, sound-absorbing finishes within the kitchen. This can be hard because kitchen surfaces need to be easily wiped down, and because of that we usually install very hard materials like tile and stone. But you can balance those surfaces out with things like upholstered cotton seating, cork flooring, and soft wall hangings. These materials will help control the noise that comes with cooking.
And lastly, bring in natural sounds! You could do this with a small water feature, some wind chimes, or even by playing nature sounds through your speakers. It’s amazing what a calming effect natural sounds have on us.
Bringing nature into your home has so many health and wellness benefits. And there are endless ways to bring nature in. Think beyond plants, and create a calming, happy kitchen that invites you, your family, and your guests into the heart of your home.
By, Kate Hamblet, The Wellness Architect, Balanced Architecture
Kate helps health-conscious families create homes that support and promote health, happiness and longevity. You'll find her at www.balancedarchitecture.com