How SMEs Can (Affordably) Incorporate Biophilic Design Into Their Offices

According to Metropolis Magazine, biophilic design is the concept of bringing aspects of nature into modern design. “Since today’s ‘natural habitat’ is largely the built environment, where we now spend 90% of our time,” says writer, Stephen Kellert, “biophilic design seeks to satisfy our innate need to affiliate with nature in modern buildings and cities.”

Biophilic Design - Living plant wall photo from
Living plant wall photo from

Large organizations such as universities and hotels are increasingly incorporating a design that uses natural materials (like wood) and natural decor (like plants) to make guests, students, and employees feel more comfortable. For example, Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, has a living plant wall in their facility to improve air quality and boost spirits, and this piece of live art is colorful and changes with the seasons.

This living piece of art is very inspiring for SMEs who want to incorporate biophilic design into their offices but is perhaps not attainable. Purchasing a piece of art like this, not to mention maintaining it, is very expensive, and can break the bank for SMEs who are trying to sustain their business. So, how can SMEs bring their offices to life with biophilic design concepts affordably, helping their employees be more productive and comfortable in the workplace? Houseplants are a great place to start, and new technology is helping office and building managers keep these plants alive without dedicating too much time to office maintenance.


Taking Advantage of Natural Light

When possible, you should always let natural light shine through! Natural light is proven to improve employee productivity and satisfaction, and it also makes for a more beautiful, calming office environment. Natural light prevents employees from experiencing eye strains and headaches, and also helps employees experience a better sleep at night. When you take care of your employees and invest in their health, you’re setting your business up for more productivity and more success.

Using Natural Materials to Create Ambiance

Sitting down all day doesn’t sound tiring, but when you’re stuck between four beige walls, it’s can feel exhausting! With studies showing that employees experience a 15% increase in their sense of well-being with biophilic design, it’s definitely worth looking into incorporating natural materials like wood or stone into your office.

Purchasing desks, tables, shelves, and other furnishings in wood is a smart idea in the long-run, as real wood products are sustainable and built-to-last. Perhaps purchasing all new furnishings isn’t in the cards for your SME at this point. There’s always the option to incorporate office decor like pencil holders, chairs, small floating shelves, and other small items that are made of natural materials.

Colors from Nature Boost Happiness in the Office

Biophilic Design
Croton plant from

From lush greenery to yellow and red leaves, colors from nature are proven to boost employee enthusiasm and productivity. When people think of office plants, they often veer toward easy-to-care-for trees and houseplants that are strictly green. Greenery is a great way to incorporate biophilic design principles into your office, and we also encourage the use of other colors from nature to make your space more comfortable and positive for employees.

An example of a colorful plant that can be easy-to-care-for is the Croton plant, a plant with multi-colored leaves that can grow very large and fill your office with a burst of red and yellow. The Croton plant originates from a tropical environment, so it’s a little picky when it comes to humidity and warmth, but is still easy to maintain. Tropical, colorful plants like the Croton plant can benefit from smart technology to help ensure its being watered appropriately.


Technology to Maintain Biophilic Design Principles in Your Office

Biophilic design principles, like incorporating plants, certainly have their benefits, but some office managers worry about the time it will take to maintain their aesthetic. Luckily, there is now technology designed specifically for office and building managers to take tasks like “plant watering” off their plates.

The Goldoon is a plant watering device that’s attractive, but more importantly, ensures your plants are well-cared-for in the office. This smart device is a perfect way to ensure your plants stay healthy and growing. The Goldoon, smart self-watering planter, sends you notifications via your iPhone or Android device, or desktop computer, on how your plant is doing, as well as tips and tricks for caring for your plants.

If you’re an office or building manager and want to learn more about how easy the Goldoon makes it to care for office plants and maintain your biophilic design principles, click here!

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