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How To: Incorporate Plants Into Your Living Space


The addition of a few living plants brings a wealth of benefits to any home — and to its human occupants. They add life, color and subtle movement to the room; they have been shown to improve our moods; and of course, they turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. Some even help filter out airborne toxins, which can be released by everything from cleaning products to paint.

Decorating with plants
One of the great things about decorating with plants is that it’s hard to get it wrong. One plant looks good. Ten plants look really good. You’d practically have to import a jungle to overdo it.

Give yourself permission to be creative about placement; they’re ideal for filling in empty, awkward spaces, like the tops of shelves and the undersides of tables. Rather than simply standing large planters on the floor, raise them up on shelves, benches or stands for added height and a more polished look.

Hanging planters come in all kinds of designs, and let you fill your home with greenery without sacrificing any floor space. Ivy and creepers look good in hanging baskets, but so can less conventional choices like succulents and air plants. Another interesting option is to plant in water rather than soil. A lot of plants, including herbs, can be grown in clear glass vases, giving you an amazing view of their root systems.

Clearing the air with plants
Many of us experience indoor air pollution without realizing it. A whole host of products, including building materials, gradually release chemicals, with unhealthy results. Below is a non-comprehensive list of plants that are especially good at removing the bad stuff from indoor air:

  • English ivy
  • Spider plant
  • Aloe vera
  • Snake plant, AKA mother in law’s tongue
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Gerbera daisies
  • Dracaena
  • Weeping fig, AKA ficus
  • Azalea
  • Chinese evergreen
  • Bamboo palm
  • Philodendron

Starter plants
If you’re new to the world of caring for plants, it can seem complicated at first. Different types of plants have different needs; some thrive in humidity, while others can’t stand being damp. Some need hours of sunshine per day, while others are much happier out of direct light. Plants often express displeasure by dying, so it’s a bad idea to try to wing it without advice. Ask for basic care instructions when buying your plants, and do a little online research for more detailed information after you get them home.

Among the air purifying plants listed above, the easiest to care for are spider plants, English ivy, philodendron and snake plants. If those still prove a little much, it’s worth remembering that cacti and succulents are virtually un-killable. Anything that can survive in the desert will probably survive in your living room.

Safety note
Before choosing any plant for the home, remember to check whether it is toxic to pets or young children. Among many others, philodendrons and lilies can both be dangerous if ingested.


Sklar Furnishings