Biophilic Bathroom Design | Advice, Ideas & Everything Explained

How does your favourite spa look and feel so relaxing from the minute that you walk in for your weekly pedicure and facial? They likely employ biophilic bathroom design in their space. The tinkling waterfall, oversized plants, soothing colours, and bamboo lounging chairs are all part of this trending idea in home decor.

In this post, I’ll explain what biophilic bathroom design is, how to achieve it in your home as well as its advantages and disadvantages. So you’ll know if it’s the best design for you and your bathroom.

Let’s dive in!

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What Is Biophilic Design?

Psychoanalyst Eric Frohmm first introduced the term biophilia back in 1973 as he explored humanity’s desire to live in the natural world. Biophilic design is embracing that instinctive attachment to all things natural, from smelling the roses to enjoying the feel of sand between your toes. A biophilic space will introduce as many natural elements into the room while supporting the use of the space in a manner that is comfortable and functional.

Biophilic bathroom design light and neutral colours
Neutral And Natural Colours

How To Create A Biophilic Bathroom Design

I’ve broken it down into seven elements to consider when building your biophilic bathroom. When selecting colour, texture, fixtures, and finishes, hold up each item to the list to determine if it will naturally suit your space and your lifestyle.

Natural Light And Ventilation

Your design will focus on connecting you with nature consistently and persistently. Your bathroom should be flooded with natural light through large windows. Breathe deeply of fresh air with fans that constantly replace the stale indoor air. Is there no window? Use lightbulbs with a 5000K rating that duplicate the spectrum created by the sun.

Natural Materials

Touch provides the most visceral connection to the natural world. Use organic cotton or bamboo towels, face cloths, rugs, and even curtains. Avoid items manufactured out of acrylic, polyester, or other manmade materials. Part of the biophilic approach is appreciating that everything in the space provides a direct connection to the natural world.

Perhaps opt for a granite countertop or go whole hog with a walk-in shower clad in marble. The shower floor can be made out of rounded river rocks. Search for cabinetry crafted from old oaks with a live edge.

Materials that can disrupt the positive vibe in your natural oasis include chrome, metallic finishes, and coloured glass.

Living Greenery

Bring your garden indoors! Add some potted plants to the bathroom that thrive in damp and partial shade. Hang a fern or pothos. A small aloe vera doesn’t require much watering, but it also gives you a soothing gel for sunburned skin when you need it. The plants not only feature organic colours, but they also create oxygen and eliminate excess carbon dioxide.

Neutral And Natural Colours

Did you know that humans relax when surrounded by colours that occur in nature? There is a physical reason that nightclubs opt for bright neon shades when they want to amp up the energy. Your biophilic bathroom will incorporate the hues featured in your back garden or the city park. Rich greens, rusty brown, a splash of rose, purple, yellow, and orange…you can go monotone, but life does not exist in a single colour. Embrace soothing variety!

Biomorphic Shapes & Patterns

Humans instinctively recognise squares as a man-made shape. The same applies to repeating geometric patterns. When sourcing tiles or wallpaper for your biophilic bath, select randomized pieces that follow the winding path of a bubbling brook or broken, rugged line of the rocky coast. Avoid sharp corners when selecting sanitaryware. Gravitate towards oval rounded pieces.

Even the earliest humans shaped bowls out of clay and wood. A vessel sink elementally connects you to that primitive discovery. A soaking tub invites you to slow down by sinking into the welcoming watery depths. 

An Instinctive Floorplan

Another aspect of biophilic design focuses on crafting a space that is comfortable both in function and design. Do you get mad when you have to go get a step stool to reach a fresh towel? Do you have to crouch to find a new bottle of shampoo? Consider the physical barriers that prevent you from loving your current bathroom and add shelves, raise the vanity, or use a seat in the shower to improve the time spent in the space.

Items That Bring Joy

Finally, biophilic design embraces the concept that humans do not exist solely in the wild. We do create nearly everything in our living environments. Many of these objects make us smile. Your bathroom should be packed with pieces that release that joyous smile, from a whimsical toothbrush cup to shower curtain rings in the shape of a wine glass.

Biophilic bathroom design greenery living plants
Living Greenery

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Is a Biophilic Bathroom Design Expensive?

If you are splurging on a special master ensuite, you can spend thousands to create that perfect biophilic bath, but you don’t have to! You can introduce biophilic design into your vintage farmhouse bathroom by swapping out your towels, changing the taps, and hanging a plant or two. There are many affordable aspects to the biophilic lifestyle, and going into debt to embrace nature is not one of them. Just imagine going organic and saving big at the same time–that surely will bring you joy.

Biophilic bathroom design light and texture
Natural Materials

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Benefits of a Biophilic Bathroom

  • Relaxing environment
  • Filled with natural light
  • Crafted to make you smile
  • Timeless decor that avoids fads and fading trends
  • Natural fibres such as cotton last longer than textiles based on fossil fuels
  • Plants improve the air you breathe

Disadvantages of a Biophilic Bathroom

  • Organic and natural materials such as stone can be more expensive
  • It may take longer to find fixtures and sanitaryware that support the design
  • Can be difficult to create in a small flat with no windows for the bathroom
  • Natural decor does not make everyone happy–check with your flatmate

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Final Thoughts…

There you have it! Everything you need to know about biophilic bathroom design and how to create your perfect bathroom oasis.

Light, calming and rejuvenating, biophilic design can be the perfect aesthetic for your bathroom. However, with any design trend, it’s not about jumping on board with the latest thing. Gather inspiration and ideas to help create the perfect look and design that YOU love!

So, will you add a touch of biophilic design into your new bathroom?


Michael R

Michael is a KBB designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom installations for over eight years now, and before that, he was an electrician and part of a KBB fitting team. He created The Bathroom Blueprint in early 2020.