A Guide To Biophilic Bathroom Design

multifunctional shower system

A multifunctional shower solution to reinvigorate all the senses in a biophilic bathroom design. With rain, waterfall, spin massage and chromotherapy.




Biophilic design is a discipline that aims to improve human health and well-being by promoting connections between people and nature in the built environment.

This concept can inform the interior design of bathroom environments.  From the way that the space connects with nature through to the use of carefully selected materials, natural textures, natural light and sensations; to provide a positive impact on the user.


Biophilic bathroom and shower

A biophilic bathroom shower area which allows the user to reconnect with nature through natural light and sensations.


There is evidence that accessing nature can improve focus whilst enabling mental restoration and improving cognitive functions, all imperative for a healthy and thriving work-life balance.

Judith Heerwagen, a psychologist whose research has focused on the relationship between buildings and psychological well-being, told participants:


biophilia evolved to guide functional behaviours associated with finding, using and enjoying natural resources.


I aim to show how our ordinary and functional daily rituals can be seamlessly woven with biophilic resources to create luxurious nature inspired bathrooms, with well-being at the heart of the design.


Glass partitions connecting the outdoors and indoors.

This biophilic bathroom design is a beautiful example of using rigorous and organic form. The glass partitions interconnect the outdoor and bathing areas making the user feel at one with nature.




Biophilic bathroom design principles can be introduced in varying degrees, from small scale inexpensive additions to the decor to larger structural interventions.

Inclusion of and references to nature in a biophilic bathroom design can be made in a variety of ways such as through the choice of flooring and wall coverings, furniture and furnishings. It can be achieved through the use of natural materials like wood and natural fibres, or materials that emulate nature in the form of printed materials and surfaces on walls and floors.


Biophilic inspired wood bathroom

The use of warm timbers which embrace knots of wood and all its captivating imperfections along with the surface shapes emulating nature and link to the outdoors is a beautiful example of a biophilic bathroom design.


Whether for a master bathroom or a guest en-suite, the underlying principles of hospitality design can be explored by considering comfort, privacy and warmth to achieve feelings of relaxation, rejuvenation and positivity.

Ultimately the aim of the design interventions is to improve our physiological and psychological health by increasing our connection to nature.




Bathroom design trends are showing an emphasis towards using natural materials.  Nature is permeating bathroom spaces and interior design is increasingly caring about personal wellbeing and craftsmanship, with a focus on reconnecting with the natural world.

In the publication ’14 patterns of biophilic design’ (terrapin bright green), patterns are identified which have a wide range of applications for both interior and exterior environments.  They are meant to be flexible and adaptive, allowing for project-appropriate implementation.

The consistency of natural themes in historic structures and places suggests that biophilic design is not a new phenomenon.

Inspiration from nature was in full view in the Art Nouveau designs of the late 19th Century and is still of inspiration to interior designers today.

Like many in the Craftsman movement, Frank Lloyd Wright incorporated flowers and plants into his art glass windows and ornamentation, and used the grain of wood and texture of brick and stone as a decorative element.

Wright also opened up interiors to flow through houses in ways that had not been done before, creating prospect views balanced with intimate refuges. His later designs sometimes include exhilarating spaces, like the balcony cantilevering out over the waterfall at Fallingwater.



Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater. Image credit: Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress




Biophilic design can be organized into three categories – Nature in the Space, Natural Analogues, and Nature of the Space – providing a framework for understanding and enabling thoughtful incorporation of a rich diversity of design strategies into designing a biophilic bathroom.




‘Nature in the Space’ addresses the direct, physical and ephemeral presence of nature in a space or place.

The strongest ‘Nature in the Space’ experiences are achieved through the creation of meaningful, direct connections with these natural elements, particularly through diversity, movement and multi-sensory interactions.

A variety of stimulus and sensations are evoked in biophilic bathroom design from the sounds, lights and spray patterns in luxury showers to the chromotherapy and aromatherapy solutions found in luxury spa baths.


Shower complete with lights and water jets

This luxury shower solution creates a water flow like that of a natural spring. Complete with water jets and chromotherapy making it an ideal addition to a biophilic bathroom design.


Luxury spa bath

A biophilic bathroom and luxury spa bath placed behind glass sliding doors leading onto a terrace. A beautiful connection with the outdoors without losing the privacy and intimacy of the bathing area. Complete with hydro jets, light therapy and aromatherapy.




The category ‘Natural Analogues’ addresses organic, non-living and indirect evocations of nature:

Objects, materials, colours, shapes, sequences and patterns found in nature, manifest as artwork, ornamentation, furniture, décor, and textiles in a biophilic bathroom design.


Biophilic bathroom

A biophilic bathroom designed as a place for regeneration, relaxation and natural wellbeing.


‘Natural Analogues’ encompasses three patterns of biophilic design:


  • Biomorphic Forms & Patterns – Symbolic references to contoured, patterned, textured or numerical arrangements that persist in nature.


  • Material Connection with Nature – Materials and elements from nature that, through minimal processing, reflect the local ecology or geology and create a distinct sense of place.


  • Complexity & Order – Rich sensory information that adheres to a spatial hierarchy similar to those encountered in nature.


There is rarely a solution that is universal. Rather, the ‘correct’ solution, in our view, is one that is locally appropriate and responsive to the situation at hand.- Rachel Kaplan, Stephen Kaplan & Robert L. Ryan, 1998 WITH PEOPLE IN MIND


Tree decoration towel warmer

A towel warmer with nature inspired tree decoration. Would blend perfectly into a biophilic bathroom design.




Exto’s biophilic bathroom designs are inspired by a desire to create something that oozes with natural organic luxury.

This is an opportunity to elevate the ordinary chaos of daily ritual into a peaceful luxurious opportunity for contemplation.  It goes beyond incorporating a few well-placed potted plants into the design; it involves contrast and balance.

Blurring the boundaries and integrating the concepts of luxury and biophilia may sound like a contradiction in terms.

However, the crafting of a biophilic bathroom using noble and honest materials such as polished stone, natural marble and warm woods work beautifully together hand in hand, creating bathrooms that surprise and beckon.  Ultimately, a biophilic bathroom humanises cutting-edge design through the use of luxurious – feeling materials.


shell crafted cabinet

A beautifully crafted bathroom cabinet with decorative shell detail. Perfectly mimics nature for an inspiring addition to a biophilic bathroom design.




Bathrooms are the optimum candidates for a living plant wall.


Living plant wall in a penthouse apartment master bathroom. Image credit – Ayutt and Associates Design


Wilderness adds tranquility and serenity to this penthouse master bathroom. Image credit – Ayutt and Associates Design

A living plant wall is a vertical garden: hydrophonic plants are fitted onto a structure which itself is fitted to a load bearing wall, internal or external.

The plants are watered and fed nutrients via an internal, closed-loop circuit fitted with a pump.  

It surprisingly requires little light & maintenance and will last for many years, if the the living plant wall has been installed professionally.

In addition to being a striking design feature, a living wall adds a sense of tranquil serenity to a bathroom by bringing the outside in.  It also contributes to the bathroom air recycling cycle, supplying fresh oxygen naturally to the atmosphere.


Image credit – Siol Studios


And for clients who enjoy taking a shower surrounded by nature, a living wall is the perfect companion!


Walk-in shower with a living wall as a backdrop feature. Image credit – Archzine




Spatial layout includes the placement of furnishings and the need to consider the users visual access.  Taking advantage of desired views out to nature and existing natural light in the space is important when designing a biophilic bathroom.


Biophilic inspired bathroom in a smaller space

A biophilic bathroom using raw and organic surfaces of stone and marble. A large skylight adds spatial dimension to a smaller bathroom, creating a natural source of light and connection with the outdoors.


Visual connections to even small instances of nature can be restorative and help to regulate the body’s circadian rhythms.




Biophilic design is being championed as a strategy for reducing stress, improving cognitive function and creativity and improving well-being.  As the world population continues to urbanise, these qualities are ever more important. Design that reconnects us with nature can only be a good investment (14 patterns of biophilic design)

City living can leave us experiencing an increasing separation of natural settings and the urban spaces we reside in.  Focusing on bringing some of the outdoors in can help elevate a bathroom space.


Urban designed biophilic bathroom

A biophilic bathroom designed to beautifully connect the user with the outdoors and city beyond. The spatial layout and use of textures and raw organic materials such as stone and wood have all influenced the design.



Choose materials that are inspired by the fragrances and colours of nature.  Embrace knots of wood and all its captivating imperfections and celebrate the raw organic appeal of stone.  Using woods to symbolise uncontaminated unspoilt nature, in contrast to the city can help to recreate the magic of natural settings within biophilic bathroom spaces.

Neutral and organic shades and earthy tones can be elegantly combined with tactile materials, textures, shapes, patterns and finishes. All of which help emphasise different surfaces and lend them a unique and inimitable appearance.



A sauna with wide glass panels reaching right up to the ceiling, creating a light and airy feel that is perfect to incorporate into an urban biophilic bathroom design.


Even simple additions of introducing some potted plants into the bathroom has a positive effect on our connection with nature.  The fertile attributes signal one to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.   The more tense and stressful our lives become the more we crave the natural world.




Biophilic bathroom design weaves seamlessly with our clients’ requests for creating a spa-like bathroom sanctuary.

Bespoke saunas and hammams, customised spa baths with whirlpool systems and showers complete with steam modules, spray patterns, sound and light for unique sensations are increasingly being specified for biophilic bathroom design schemes.  These products serve to reinvigorate the senses.

There is evidence that exposure to nature is even more beneficial when a combination of senses are stimulated at the same time.  This multiple-sensory stimulation experienced through luxury showers, baths, saunas and hammams provides for that essential feeling of wellbeing found in a calm and restorative biophilic bathroom interior.

The health and wellness benefits of saunas, Turkish baths and hammams have been well documented.


All in one modular system comprising of a sauna, Turkish bath, shower and relaxation area.

An elegantly styled system incorporating a sauna, Turkish bath, shower and relaxation area for an oasis of wellbeing. This spa inspired biophilic bathroom space blends perfectly with the surroundings. The steam generator is installed with an Energy Saver function and automatic boiler-cleaning system.




Reconnecting with the natural world through architecture and interior design means being attentive to views and light.

Consider internal layouts that are designed to enhance daylight and light / shade variability.  Strip windows along the south elevation and large high-level windows all help to capture light throughout the day.  Other considerations are large skylight and roof light features.   Interconnecting ‘outside in’ glass partitions / walls and bi-fold doors to link the bathing and relaxation areas.


Open skylight and glass partition to connect the user with the outside world.

The large slatted skylight feature helps users connect with the outdoors and interconnecting ‘outside in’ glass bi-fold doors work beautifully to link the bathing and relaxation areas in a biophilic bathroom design.


Each detail and careful selection of natural products will ensure an essential balance to the increasing tempo of our clients’ work-life; ultimately creating a bathroom space as a source of wellbeing for them to unwind and relax in.




Wellbeing is being embraced increasingly by champions of sustainability, extending the good-for-the-environment objective to good-for-people too.


Many of the design features that enhance health and wellbeing…also bring positive environmental benefits and resource efficiencies. – Ashley Bateson – sustainable futures group member


There are many luxury shower options available complete with water-flow consumption for efficient and sustainable water use.

Many tap companies too offer last generation cartridges which controls and limits the amount of water being used without impacting on the usability experience.

With the right advice and product selection, luxury can work hand-in-hand with sustainability to create a biophilic bathroom design.




Greenery and biophilic bathroom

A biophilic bathroom that uses monochrome patterns for surfaces and warm timber for objects. The fertile attributes of greenery signals one to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate. It is a colour of hopefulness and of our connection to nature.


Cedar, oak and teak wood are beautiful materials to incorporate into a biophilic bathroom design for cabinetry, vanity units, baths, surfaces and other decorative elements such as partitions or elegant panelling.

As timbers of choice for traditional boat building they are prized for their resilience and have a number of qualities which make them desirable to use around water – naturally producing chemicals which help protect against deterioration and contamination. Teak has a high oil content and is naturally water-repellent and rot-resistant.


Wood surfaced bathroom design

A biophilic bathroom design which embraces the natural use of materials, textures, shape, light and fertile suggestions.


The thoughtful pairing of wood and stone to create an overall tailored and cohesive look is a design trend celebrated at Salone del Mobile 2018, that is gaining momentum.  A beautiful and delicate balance of materials that can beautifully incorporated into a biophilic bathroom design.


Wood paired with stone for a biophilic inspired bathroom design.

The different shades of wood in the parquet flooring and cabinet look beautiful when paired with the natural look of the stone bath and washbasin. The light, materials and textures embrace the concept of a biophilic bathroom design.




The raw organic beauty of marble, polished stone and natural limestone are other organic yet discerning materials to incorporate into a biophilic bathroom design.


Landscape and biophilic bathroom

An example of the landscape having a direct influence on the design of this biophilic bathroom.


Natural stone, extracted directly from the outdoors, allows for a landscape design to easily emulate nature, often creating the most serene space.



marble bath

Incorporating a marble bath into a biophilic bathroom design adds a raw organic opulence to a space. The contrast of the warmth and shelter provided by the fireplace against the glass fronted views of the outdoors is stunning.


Using marble in a bathroom is decadently beautiful and the level of intensity of the veining can be carefully chosen to fit the architecture and style in resides in.

From creating timeless elegance using a Carrara marble to radiating pure energy with a Calacata Gold or Arabescato Corchia; marble can be used for surfaces, basins and baths to customise any bathroom design.  Bookmatching is a beautiful effect that creates appealing symmetry on walls.

Covering surfaces with marble has a magical ability to make a bathroom feel like it has been coated with luxury.  Pure visual delight!




Adding soft touches of brushed and aged metals such as rose gold, silver, copper, platinum and nickel for brassware, cabinet frames, mirror frames, furniture fittings, accessories and other bespoke elements of a design is biophilic bathroom luxury!

Natural metallic touches can brighten up the shadiest space.


Metallic touches of soft rose gold

The neutral earthy tones of the surfaces combine beautifully with the soft touches of metallic rose gold to create a calm and serene biophilic bathroom.




From wood parquet flooring to marble clad walls there are a number of surface solution options that can explored.

Decorative wallcoverings for bathrooms and shower rooms not only offer high visual appeal for their biophilic inspired designs (forbidden gardens, flora and fauna) but offer technical value in their innovative waterproof systems.







Many of our clients have multiple residences. Retaining some cultural identity in each of their properties involves  thorough understanding and experience of working internationally along with a thoughtful design approach.

A biophilic bathroom design that reflects in some way the geography of its location, from the surrounding landscape to the often outstanding views can hugely influence the design.  Incorporating an extension of the landscape into the design can offer moments of visibility and outlook with places of privacy and inlook.


Biophilic bathroom in a Ski Chalet

The use of natural materials, finishes and textures blend perfectly into the surroundings of this luxury biophilic bathroom.  Made with European Solid Oak wood, which guarantees unique functional and aesthetic qualities. 




Exto assists interior designers, architects & developers to create luxury bathrooms for exclusive residential properties and boutique hotel projects.

We design and supply fully bespoke and personalised bathroom solutions.

Our areas of expertise are luxury residential properties and chalets.  We also specialise in the supply of high-end bathrooms for exclusive residential developments, yachts and boutique hotels.

We deliver projects on national and international appointments.




The team at Exto are here to answer any questions you may have with regards to luxury bathroom projects and of course to designing luxury biophilic bathrooms.  We are passionate about what we do and will work with you to realise your vision.

We offer project management services, a full design service to include CAD and virtual images and technical planning advice.  We source and supply the most prestigious bathroom brands from around the world as well as the provision of complete bespoke solutions based on your individual requirements, on a project-by project basis. We provide a discreet and reliable design and international logistics service.

Reach out to us at [email protected] or contact us at +44 (0) 20 850 1454 or via our website contact form.

We welcome feedback!