I think most people would agree that the environment in which we find ourselves can increase or reduce our stress levels, impacting our sense of wellbeing for better or worse. Intuitively, the places we inhabit can make us feel calm, anxious, happy or downbeat, whether we can articulate these feelings or not.
I’m pretty sure if asked, most of us would say we find nature pleasing, but as a splashback designer whose work is inspired by beautiful floral and fauna, I might be bias. However, the popularity of my designer imagery seems to suggest that people do want the feeling of the great outdoors inside their home and with good reason.
For example, in one study cited in the book Healing Gardens, researchers Marcus and Barnes found that more than two-thirds of people choose a natural setting to retreat to when stressed. Other studies by Ulrich, Kim, and Cervinka show that 'time in nature or scenes of nature are associated with a positive mood and psychological wellbeing, meaningfulness, and vitality’.
People tell me my nature inspired design pieces have made their house feel like a home and turned bathrooms into sanctuary spaces. I’m pretty sure its soft, organic and natural shapes characteristic in my work that create familiar, reassuring and homely interiors.
You could say my aesthetic has all the qualities of biophilic design. Biophilia means a love of nature, and biophilic design is about creating a sense of harmony between the man made spaces we conceive and the natural world, creating a closer connection with nature through mimicking natures forms, textures and shapes. Some of the ways biophilic design works is to bring inside natures order and complexity. Geometric patterns, for example, have the effect of contracting and expanding the spaces in our homes, bringing fluidity and flow to linear structures. Patterns from nature can be used decoratively as motifs and be powerful in connecting us to the natural world. Some of the most exciting design projects I’ve worked on are for people who bring their location inside through the imagery I create for them in a splashback. These commissions ground homes and give them a spirit of place; they feel connected, settled and right.
My designs make spaces people want to spend time in, inspiring people to cook in kitchens they now love, not loathe - with a view of nature not grout. Time for baths has been found, taken with beautiful bathroom backdrops clients have chosen to aid and promote relaxation, cocooning themselves in spaces made natural through design.
Whilst I’m not an expert, I’ve heard plants can offer psychological comfort which can remove some of the tensions of the every day. Their growth is steady and progressive with nurturing. Plants are a great demonstrator that life is about long and enduring patterns and this can be comforting in a fragmented and transient world. At this more complex end of the scale, I like to think my work can help people be present and more mindful as well being simply beautiful, naturally inspired, interior pieces.
In terms of how I design, I love to use greens which are earthy and grounding but my bright and bold looks are as popular, so uplifting and joyful, especially on grey days. My signature style is to use a pattern repeat that feels immersive and can also be very zen. I’m often inspired by natures accidental colour palette; the unexpected combinations I find feature in my work and make for exciting and unusual interior looks.
If you’re looking to re-invigorate your home and want it to be somewhere that gives you a greater sense of wellbeing, give over some space to nature inspired design and see how it makes you feel. And don’t forget to combine it with the real thing by getting outside in your own garden, balcony or buying a houseplant or two!
Emma Britton Splashbacks are available in 6 collections featuring over 50 designs or commission Emma to create a bespoke piece for you.