The Art of Organic Contemporary Design

The Art of Organic Contemporary Design

There was a time when the phrase “modern architectural design” conjured images of cold and austere spaces. “Clean lines” meant “hard lines” and “simple design” implied a lack of warmth. But that is no longer the case.

Organic Contemporary Design
Design credit to Kelly Wearstler

What does a modern aesthetic mean now?

Today, “modern look” is used interchangeably with “contemporary design” to refer to homes with more glass and fewer walls. Where natural light fills the space with warmth and bespoke interiors bring outdoor living into unique and sophisticated indoor spaces. Where the beautiful rooms are at once comfortable and inviting. Where being connected to nature is an active part of the experience.

What does all that mean to you? Consider how something as simple as fresh cut flowers can change the energy of a room. That’s not accidental. The presence of natural elements and organic materials has a calming effect. Translate that into home design and it means that your home can either deplete you and leave you feeling exhausted or it can nurture and enhance your creativity and energy.

“I love that natural materials instantly add comfort and peace to a home. The warmth, textures, and imperfections quietly connect us to the natural world out beyond the walls. When we incorporate bespoke pieces, their individuality gives the home a personality of its own.“ – Helena Brana

Our design philosophy focuses on creating “Organic Contemporary Interiors” where your living environment positively impacts all aspects of your life. Bringing the natural environment into your home has a dramatic positive effect on your health and well-being, and because of that, our goal is to help you understand how to integrate organic materials such as wood, stone, glass, and more into your home. 

Even unexpected materials such as salt, mycelium, seaweed, rattan, and parchments can be used to create one-of-a-kind furniture and statement pieces which help the interior to have that ”WOW” effect. But even more importantly, these pieces and the resulting interior is tailored specifically to your desires; it’s an expression of your unique tastes. 

Why are natural materials SO important?

Now, you might be wondering why the emphasis on natural materials, how do organic materials differ from synthetic ones? The answer can be found in how interacting with nature impacts your physical and mental well-being. 

You’re probably familiar with the many physical benefits of getting out and experiencing nature, but there are a number of mental benefits as well. It’s not surprising given that we, like all animals, have adapted to our environmental settings. Thus, being immersed in the texture, feel, and sounds of nature makes us feel calmer; they make us feel at home.

In his book, Last Child in the Woods, author Richard Louv mentioned something he called the “nature-deficit disorder.” Though not a medical diagnosis, Louv argues that the loss of our connection to our natural environment has resulted in a growing number of problems. These include things like difficulties in staying focused and attentive, obesity, the reduction of our senses, and a higher frequency of both physical and emotional illnesses. 

What’s more, the loss of connection to the natural world has resulted in a loss of ecological literacy which is linked to the epidemic of inactivity and the devaluation of independent play. In sum, being connected to our natural environment at every level is linked to our physical health and emotional well-being. That’s part of what makes it so important to integrate the natural world into the design of your interior spaces. Let’s look at some specific benefits. 

Physical Benefits of Natural Environments

Numerous research projects have recorded the physical benefits of walking (or otherwise exercising) in nature or otherwise being exposed to natural environments. The Japanese practice of forest bathing, for example, has been shown to reduce bowel disorders, improve heart conditions, and optimize the function of the nervous system. (If you are interested in forest bathing, you must try in San Diego Botanic Garden, it’s an unforgettable experience and you won’t leave the same!).

What’s more, outdoor activities help reduce your risk of having problems with your eyesight like hypermetropia and myopia. One Australian study showed that children who played outdoors had better eyesight than those who played indoors. 

Other research has shown that connecting with nature lowers your body mass index and can even help stimulate your body to produce anticancer proteins. Much of this research is ongoing, but it’s clear there’s a physical benefit to staying connected with the natural environment. 

One Swedish study has found that even just exposure to natural sounds and vistas can help you reduce stress and recover from an illness faster. The study noted that previous research had already shown that hospital patients whose window faced a park recovered from their illness more rapidly, but this study found that exposure to natural sounds also helps you to reduce your stress levels faster. 

Psychological benefits of Natural Environments

Aside from the physical benefits of exposure to natural environments, there are numerous psychological benefits as well. One study showed that interacting with the natural environment is so powerful that it stimulates increases in memory span and boosts the mood of people diagnosed with major depressive disorder. 

Additionally, a review of research conducted on sound and health published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies showed that nature-based sounds like birds tweeting and sounds of the ocean had a positive effect on the health and well-being of both staff and patients. Even patients who were suffering anxiety and agitation as a result of being on a ventilator showed improvement with exposure to natural sounds. 

Other studies have shown that exposure to outdoor environments lowers the level of the stress hormone cortisol, builds attention and focus, and improves creativity and problem-solving skills. 

Spiritual Benefits of Natural Environments

Finally, the nature-human connection adds to the gratitude we feel for the beauty that is all around us. By maintaining that all-important connection with nature, we become more mindful of the sights, sounds, and feelings engendered by the natural world. It fosters a love for nature and a desire to protect it. It quite simply adds value to our lives. 

Integrating our Inside and Outside Worlds

By bringing natural designs to the rooms in your home, you can bring a new feel to every space around you. You can be calmed and rejuvenated in the bathroom, you can feel emotionally charged and ready to go in the den or home office, and you can feel peaceful in your bedroom. 

These sensations can all be achieved by choosing the appropriate organic materials for your furniture & finishes. You can integrate soothing sounds with something like a bubbling Zen fountain to help you focus and boost your creativity in your home office. Wood walls, minimal lines, and natural lighting in the bathroom can help you feel like you’re bathing in the forest for a one-of-a-kind experience that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and fresh. Organic bedding with animal skin patterns helps you get a peaceful night’s sleep.


It’s not clear exactly why the sounds and sights of nature and organic materials that connect us to our environment have such a huge benefit for our health, but it likely has to do with the evolutionary history of our species. We are part of nature, and that’s why an interior design that connects you to the environment helps you feel better physically and mentally. 

At Brana Designs, our goal is to help you achieve better physical, mental, and spiritual well-being by discovering the right organic materials that will bring your concept of the perfect natural experience into your home. The art of organic contemporary design will help you create unique interiors that beautifully express the natural you! 

Check out Part 2 of this article, Integrating Natural and Organic Elements into Your Unique Interior Spaces, for ideas on how to incorporate unique natural, organic elements into your home design. 

And if you are looking into transforming your home into pleasing living environment, try it through engaging The 5 Sences.


Through the Discovery Posts I offer some insight into my interior design experience and perspective. We will discuss the real-estate market, ”behind the scenes” of our projects, design trends, and also offer a view of places that you may not have seen before.