Wellness Design

Bridging the Gap Between Outdoors and Indoors

Biophilic design brings a necessary connectivity to buyers and their homes to-be

By Eve Lowey

Interior design is first and foremost an art in the knowledge of humans and what they desire in their everyday environments. This art form would not exist if our environments did not have such a pivotal impact on our moods and behaviors, and as such, this art form is a privilege and of course, in its own right, a challenge. Given the cyclical nature of design trends and the impact of technology, what people desire in their daily lives is ever-changing. However, in our 31 years of award-winning design work, we have noted one thing of the utmost significance. While the indoor environment is a beautiful necessity that functions as a safe haven, people will always crave the liberation of being outdoors. 

Why is this? Well, we could discuss events of years past, or the technological surge and the impact of “screen living.” But the fact of the matter is that people have always had an innate love and connectedness to nature. So, as experts in the art of humans and their environments, more specifically within one’s own walls, what do we do to ensure homeowners get that same tranquility at home? We add in natural components in thoughtful, strategic and aesthetic ways. 

The use of natural materials in our built environment, whether direct like a houseplant or indirect, such as an art piece depicting a beach scene, has more recently been coined biophilic design. Research has shown us that sustained exposure to biophilic elements has improved mood, improved cognitive performance and even reduced stress in home occupants. While they say that good design cannot truly be measured, an interior that makes you feel in such a way is undoubtedly a winner.

At Chameleon Design, given the variety of our work, we utilize many different elements.

Research has shown us that sustained exposure to biophilic elements has improved mood, improved cognitive performance and even reduced stress in home occupants.”

Natural light

Debatably one of the most powerful elements, natural light could involve a home’s orientation, window placement and size and anything that helps blend the boundary between the inside and outside. If natural light is minimal, we opt for utilizing large-scale paintings or photographs of nature as a method to create this same effect while working with the given architecture.

Biomorphic Design

With our model homes, we often have the opportunity to play with furnishings that imitate objects and forms found in nature, like curves, rounded shapes, waves, leaves and rocks. As a plus, rounded, undulating forms are trending in furniture, and have been key in some of our more contemporary spaces.

Natural Materials

Using natural materials, such as wood, rattan, stone and leather, reinforces that outdoor connection. Given this can be done in so many ways, be it furnishings, wall treatments, or even small-scale accessorizing, this is one of our favorites to utilize in our model home designs, regardless of design style. Often these same materials look exceedingly luxurious which only adds to their variability. 

Color Palette

Various shades of green and other hues that are commonly found in nature, like browns, creams, grays, blues and warm terracotta shades, are key. Such hues are incredibly grounding and serve as a major player in our senior-living apartments as a method of invoking serenity for the occupants, whether it’s flooring, walls, bedding, or even window treatments.


And of course, we utilize plenty of greenery in the form of small houseplants, whether real or faux. Especially in our sales office designs, where we want buyers to feel at ease as they’re making those momentous decisions, adding in small touches of greenery is like an instant facelift for a space. 

Through the years, we have seen what makes homebuyers fall in love with a space, and oftentimes it boils down to a feeling. If a home feels synonymous with a breath of fresh air, “Yes, where do I sign,” feels that much more liberating. Biophilic design may not be the one magic answer to making a homebuyer jump in, but it does foster connectivity, and isn’t that what we strive for most in our industry?

Eve Lowey, ASID, is an award-winning interior designer and the president and CEO of Chameleon Design. She can be reached at elowey@chameleonoc.com.