A Connection to Nature – The Hows and Whys of Biophilic Interior Design in the Healthcare Setting

Posted by on May 17, 2019 in Behind the Design
A Connection to Nature – The Hows and Whys of Biophilic Interior Design in the Healthcare Setting

Biophilic Design

Interior Design that is inspired by the local environment, is called biophilic design. Exposure to the natural environment provides comfort and inspires healing. For that, biophilic design works well in the healthcare setting. That being said, it doesn’t work the same in each space. Patient rooms and communal spaces must be treated differently. Below are some tips to understand the hows and why biophilic design must be implemented differently according to space.

Common Areas

Implementing biophilic design in a healthcare setting works best in a non-sterile space. Communal spaces such as lobbies, waiting rooms, and cafeterias are the best places for biophilic design. To implement nature in these places, designers may use:

  • natural materials
  • windows and natural light
  • vegetation
  • nature views

Patient Rooms

Patient rooms must be treated differently. Considerations such as privacy and infection control must take top priority. For that reason, the best way to implement Biophilic Design is by using the following tactics:

  • Artwork Depicting Nature
  • Earth colored decor and finishes
  • Earth-toned materials and colors on the walls and floors
  • Windows (only if it doesn’t violate a patient’s privacy

Biophilic Design Supports Health

It is understood that humans have an inherent need to affiliate with nature. No matter what capacity, Biophilic Design supports the health and healing of patients.

Marie Wikoff is the creator of Wikoff Design Studio based out of Reno, Nevada. Her expertise in healthcare design has helped modernize healthcare organizations locally, regionally, and internationally, improving patient experience and outcomes. Her credentials include Evidence-Based Design Accreditation and Certification (EDAC), American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designer (CHID), the National Council of Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) and LEED AP. Contact Marie Wikoff


  1. rachel frampton
    August 19, 2021

    My sister would like to hire an interior service that will be able to redesign her fitness center and make it more relaxing. Thank you for sharing here as well the importance of opting for natural materials. It’s also a good thing that you clarified here that the space must have earthy tones.

  2. Mark Dsirl
    September 24, 2021

    You describe in best way. I am looking for designer and now when i hire one o told these thing to apply on. Thanks for these tips.


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