Biophilic is a new buzz word floating around the interiors world. But it’s not so new at all and dates back to the 1980s. Biophilia means “a love of nature” and biophilic design is the way in which architects and designers incorporate nature into building spaces to contribute to the health and wellbeing of occupants.

With more of us working from home than ever before, biophilia comes into its own. Our work environment impacts our mood, how we feel, how we perform and how we work and interact with others on a daily basis. So, after reading this article, I am hoping that it will give you the courage to re-examine your workspace/home office and bring the outside in. Things to consider before deciding on a workspace in the home are the following.


This can have a huge impact on our ability to work. Some people might not have a choice when it comes to a home office location, but, if possible, choose somewhere acoustically and visually separated from the rest of the house that’s not your bedroom. Having a separate room for a home office would be ideal, but if not, consider sectioning off an area in a room with vertical lats, or a planted partition to work behind. This can be a simple open shelf with potted plants on it, but will add a feeling of separation. It highlights that you don’t want to be disturbed, but it allows you to take calls or video meetings.


Once you have picked your location, think layout. Position your desk under a window, if possible, as this will maximise your exposure to natural sunlight and can add to your focus and creativity. Even better if you have greenery outside; research has shown a view out your workspace window can increase work performance by 10-25%.


Declutter your space. Having a well organised office space is key.

Cork-based interior designer Maura Mackey

Five tips on how to bring biophilic design into your office

1 Natural light: Light is your best friend. If your windows are covered up with dark blinds/curtains, pull them back or take them down and let the natural light flood your space. Artificial light can cause headaches and eye strain. If you don’t have windows in your workspace, use natural-coloured lighting and warmer hues to give you the natural sunlight effect in your space.

2 Add greenery: Plants are a great way to add greenery to a space and to purify the air in your office. I have highlighted a few options below.

  • Spathiphyllum (peace lily): Only needs watering once a week.
  • Sansevieria (snake plant): This is a low-light plant.
  • Philodendron (trailing plant): Water twice a week.
  • Kentia Palm (tropical plant): Avoid direct sun.
  • Depending on your space, you could also add moss/living wall panels. Moss is a great way to incorporate nature in a space without taking up floor space. You can buy framed living moss art online in different sizes at

    If watering plants is not your thing, then buy some artificial plants and place them around the office. Wall art is another way to bring nature in. Forest and beach scenes are options.

    3 Splashes of colour: Use colours of nature, eg add a green wall colour that gives you the impression that you are outside. You could also add a wallpaper. I love Sanderson and William Morris. They have a fabulous range of nature/forest prints.

    4 Add shapes: Shapes are used to define a space. Use soft shapes to mimic the sense of being in nature.

    5 Add texture: Nature is more than just plants and greenery. Great textures to add to an office to boost a room’s feel are water, wood, sand and rocks. You could add a water feature, as plug-in options are so readily available now. This is relaxing, but also drowns out outside noises. Granite and marble can seem cold, but when added with a plant or moss texture, it works. Wood is a great natural texture to add to your office space. This can be added in your desk, chair, shelving or a cork board wall panel. Even fabric materials can make the difference in integrating biophilic design.

    I hope this article will encourage you to make your office a nicer space for you.

    Maura Mackey is an interior designer and home staging specialist based in Ballinhassig, Co Cork. For further information, call 087-769-9714 or visit