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Healthy Living

How to bring biophilic design to your home using skylights

Natural light and fresh air from skylights can bring the wellness benefits of biophilic design to your home.

Looking up at plant leaves brightened by sunlight coming through a skylight

If you’ve ever been stressed out (and let’s face it, we all have), you may have been told to envision your happy place. Perhaps you pictured a beach, the breeze cooling your skin, the waves breaking peacefully in the background. Or maybe you found yourself in a forest, golden light filtering through green leaves, a stream gurgling just out of sight.

Regardless, you probably didn’t envision a warehouse with fluorescent lights or the windowless waiting room at your dentist’s office with magazines from 2009. Enter biophilic design, a principle that strives to bring that peace found in nature into our everyday lives.

Looking through the door into a bathroom with a skylight and moss art wall hanging

What is biophilic design?

Biophilic design, pioneered by Stephen Kellert, “seeks to connect our inherent need to affiliate with nature in the modern built environment” in order to promote our mental health and physical well-being. But biophilic design is much more than putting a ficus in the corner of your living room. Kellert developed five conditions necessary for the effective implementation of biophilic design, including repeated engagement with nature, emotional attachment to setting and place, and positive, sustained interactions between people and the environment.

Kellert also distinguishes between direct and indirect experiences of nature, with direct experiences being more impactful. Examples of direct experiences are natural light, fresh air, water, plants, natural landscapes, and weather.

Looking through french doors to skylights in sunroom with plants

How can you integrate biophilic design into your home?

Studies have indicated that just 20 minutes a day spent in nature can help regulate hormones, reduce stress, bolster the immune system and improve self-esteem. So why not bring those outdoor benefits inside?

There are many ways you can implement biophilic design. Want to have a direct experience with nature? Open a window (or skylight!) for a breeze, or build a living wall filled with lush plants. Kellert’s indirect experiences are valuable too. Use natural materials such as wood or stone, incorporate patterns found in nature such as spirals or fractals, and hang wallpaper or art that features natural landscapes or themes.

Small bathroom with skylight wallpaper with leaves and leopards

How can skylights help you incorporate biophilic design?

By integrating skylights into your home, you can fulfill three of Kellert’s direct experiences of nature — light, air, and weather. Incorporating natural, diffuse light allows your body to tune into the movement of the sun throughout the day, rather than experience only the harsh, angled light from windows. VELUX® Solar Powered Fresh Air Skylights can be opened with the click of a button to let in fresh breezes. If inclement weather approaches, the built-in rain sensor closes the skylight automatically, meaning you can listen to the rain tapping overhead while staying snug inside your home.

We're here to help design your space, virtually.

Learn more about bringing nature inside with skylights by scheduling a virtual design consultation.


See how three designers used skylights as an element of biophilic design

Interior designer Justina Blakeney of The Jungalow brings the outdoors inside with skylights in this living room, which is also filled with plants.

Livng room with skylight torquoise wall plants

Stacey-Ann Blake, aka Design Addict Mom, can enjoy the view and plenty of sunshine surrounded by her plants in her sunroom.

Sunroom with two skylights large ficus

In addition to moss artwork, Rebecca Plumb of Studio Plumb uses her skylight shaft to hang plants for a jungle canopy effect.

Bathroom with skylight over vanity and plants hnging from skylight shaft

Next: 10 must-see Sun Tunnel transformations

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