We are wired to feel calm and relaxed when surrounded by nature. By decorating your home with plants, you can not only change the mood of your house, but also how you feel. Did you know scientists have proven that houseplants improve concentration and productivity by 15%? Stress levels have also been found to decrease when surrounded by plants.
Through the process of photosynthesis, plants clean the air by removing toxins. They also release oxygen, which helps us sleep. Some plants in particular release oxygen at night – think: succulents, snake plants, and orchids. Besides the health benefits of having plants in your home, there are many other reasons why you should get some greenery going on in the house. Not only are plants an economical decor solution, but they also speak to the soul and make life interesting.
This quote resonates with me, because my garden speaks directly to my soul, making me feel happy and calm. Having just a few houseplants can create the same effect. They are happiness that is right at our hands.
Calm the Home with Plants
Over the last 12 years of moving homes around Dubai, I have learnt a lot about what plants work for me and my home. I have also learnt quick and simple ways to make plants add to the aesthetic value of a room, asides from harnessing its health benefits. Here are my five top tips on how to get greenery that works for you in your home.
1. Have at least two or three plants in a room.
Have a good look around your home. Which empty spaces can be served better with plants? Overall, I recommend having at least two or three plants in each room. Scan each and identify places where plants could go. Start in the living room, and think about where you could feature plants that would catch your eye as you walk in.
Remember, you can get plants of all sizes and heights, and even use hanging baskets. Bathrooms should have at least one plant in it. This helps to soften all the tiling used in a bathroom. It should be a place where you can relax as having plants will help create the ambience. In the bedroom, look if there is space next to the bed or a spot where a larger plant can go on the floor. Bedrooms need plants to nurture our sleep and soften our mood.
2. Choose real and artificial plants.
Some people steer away from having plants in their homes because they worry that they can’t look after them properly. Being knowledgeable about which plants are low maintenance is helpful, and using artificial plants is an amazing solution for those of us who do not have green fingers.
Believe it or not, it is perfectly okay to use artificial plants to bring greenery into your home. In the past, this was often frowned upon, but ironically, it’s now trending. Designers are coming up with authentic-looking plants that give the same feel and mood to a room – just like the real thing. It has also been proven that even pictures of plants reduce stress levels. So, if you are one of those people who have avoided plants because they don’t survive well, get some artificial plants to lift the mood in your home and make it feel calm.
When choosing a real indoor plant, there are some factors to consider. Think about the lighting in a room. Plants need light to survive, but be careful of hot spots where there might be too much direct sunlight. On the flip side, bathrooms do not often have enough natural light, so I would recommend an artificial plant or houseplants that do not require much light – such as the spider plant, the snake plant, and the pothos – for such spaces.
The pothos (also known as “money plant” or “Devil’s Ivy”) is one of my favourite plants as it is so easy to maintain and grows quickly, filling spaces with its beautiful bright green leaves. It is also easy to propagate and great for hanging planters. Succulents are another great low-maintenance option. They come in different varieties and can be very attractive and interesting.
3. Vary the heights and types of plants.
When you enter a room, having a selection of plants creates interest and encourages the eye to move along those areas. The space where you choose to place your plant will affect its height. If you have a large open corner, you can either put a large potted high plant or use a hanging basket with a plant that has long tendrils to fill that space. Plants on coffee tables may need a smaller leaf span so they do not dominate the space. Tiny spaces, meanwhile, can be filled with succulents. Various types of houseplants that can be used include the spider plant, the snake plant, the orchid, the pothos, the fiddle-leaf fig, bamboo shoots, and the peace lily.
4. Have fun with the pots and hangers.
Now it is time to get creative and have some fun! When choosing a plant pot, look at the decor style in the room and try to complement it. For example, if you have a modern living room, mostly in blues and whites, perhaps you should look at natural grass baskets or silver pots. It will depend on your style and what other accents are already in the room. If you already have grass or jute, go with natural-looking pots. If you want pops of colour, plant pots are a great way to do this.
Using macrame hangers to add interest in a room is a must. Some hangers are more traditional, but you can also find some unique hangers that could suit your style – hangers with metal chains, leather, rope, or a variety of beads for example. For real plants, make sure your pots have drainage to allow for the excess water to drip out. If not, your plants could die from rot or overwatering. Be mindful about how much water you use, making sure there is no overwatering. Touch the soil with your finger to see if it is dry. If it is not completely dry, your plant may only need a little water or wait another day before watering it.
5. Nurture and Love your plants
When a plant dies, we may feel sad and disappointed. Nurturing a plant is a responsibility, and we can build a bond with that plant over time, especially when we see how well it is growing or blooming. Feeling proud of our plants is a positive feeling, one that adds happiness to our daily lives.
You may need to re-pot your plants from time to time when the soil loses its nutrients. Your plant will thank you in a few days by looking so much better. Adding plants to your home will immediately lift your mood, reduce stress levels, and increase your productivity. Calm that clutter and love the home you live in!