Anna Sjöström Walton of sustainable interiors store Chalk & Moss explains how biophilic design can reduce stress and improve wellbeing, as well as create a beautiful home

We humans have an innate need to connect with nature for our wellbeing. Incorporating biophilic design at home can help you feel happy and healthy as it blurs the boundary between inside and out. Embracing biophilia will bring relive stress, and bring you joy and harmony.

Biophilia literally means a love of the natural world. Research has shown that we have a preference for colours, patterns and textures that link to or allude to nature. Ideally this is real, as in living plants and a view to greenery beyond. But it can also be artwork, a pattern, a wool blanket or a tactile wooden surface. These biophilic features lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system and improve overall feelings of wellbeing. Having natural materials in your home also has the added benefit of reducing toxins and plastic waste, so it goes hand in hand with sustainable living. Bringing nature into our spaces also improves our productivity, creativity and wellbeing by up to 15 per cent.

With biophilic design, the boundary between inside and out is blurred. Try to bring in elements like natural wood flooring and soft furnishings in wool and leather. If you’re fortunate to have a green view, angle furniture to look out of a window or a back door to the garden. If not, hang plants in front of the window to create a green view.

If you surround yourselves with natural textures, light a comforting candle and care for houseplants, this gives you an antidote to a packed schedule and daily stresses, especially at this time of year. You may be less tempted to get back on your screen, and instead opt for a bath, to read a book, do some crafts, pick up the guitar or play a board game with your family. You’ll have a better night’s sleep for it.

When it comes to curating the items I sell, what often strikes me is how a product makes me feel, and what the maker’s story says about their ethos. I look at how the product is made and from what materials, whether it helps us live sustainably and how it might affect a space. It needs to be either beautiful or useful, a keepsake that won’t need replacing soon. All products in my shop are sustainably and ethically made, free of toxins and made in natural materials.


I work with independent designers, makers and brands who know the lifecycle of their products. If we want to make sustainable choices, it’s really important for us to dig into the backstory of what we buy. Don’t feel shy to ask those questions. Among my customers, there’s a clear link between outdoor living, natural interiors, ethical living and sustainability. Those who want to be in nature, also care for it deeply.