Seven Reasons You Should Add House Plants to Your Interior Design
By Marissa Lada
March 5, 2019
The Benefits of House Plants
Aside from being a member of the awesome interiors team at Board & Vellum, I am also a secret (okay not so secret) plant nerd. While I cannot compare myself to the stellar Site Design team here, I have a green heart (and thumb) dedicated to house plants.
And rightly so. Plants are pretty freaking awesome! There are so many species with some amazing properties, some even are carnivorious. From being used as natural remedies to adding them in your favorite dish to enhance the flavor, plants are great additions to our lives. So why not add a few to your space? Here are seven reasons why plants are great for design!
Remove Toxins and Purify the Air
Clean air is so important for our health. Breathing in harmful chemicals and toxins (often odorless) can lead to serious health issues like birth defects, damage to our nervous systems and multiple types of cancer. Did you know that some types of plants actually remove serious toxins like formaldehyde and benzene from the air? NASA did a study back in the 80s to find the best plants to help clean the air in their space stations and found that houseplants remove up to 87% of air toxins within 24 hours! They also came up with a whole list of plants that are great for improving our air quality. Even better? Most of these plants you can get at a typical garden center or plant shop.
Heard of Shinrin-Yoku? How about the term Forest Bathing? Essentially it’s this Japanese therapy practice that focuses on spending time out in nature for our mental health.
Well, take that same idea and shrink it down to plants in general. Plants and greenery improves our moods because we as humans are genetically wired to connect with nature. Plants = Happy People.
There are numerous studies out there that link plants to decreasing stress and anxiety. Stress is a slippery slope for our health, leading to major illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity if left untreated. On a day to day occurrence, stress can influence our mood, sleep, sex drive, and appetite, as well as some minor health issues like headaches and fatigue. One of the ways plants help reduce our stress is that plants give off oxygen. We don’t need to revisit Elementary Science class to know that we need this in order to survive, but having more oxygen in our spaces means that we tend to have longer and deeper breaths, moving this supply of oxygen to our brains which helps us to relax quicker and easier.
Similar to how plants supply us with oxygen to help relieve stress, the same effect applies to how plants improve our sleep.
While most plants produce and release oxygen during the day, there are certain plants that do this at night, such as succulents, orchids, and snake plants. Plus, who doesn’t want to fall asleep in an urban jungle (the good kind).
Fix Those Bare Corners
It’s often a challenge, but what do you do with that bare corner? A chair or lamp may seem out of place, and other furniture pieces just don't seem to fit. That's where a plant is a perfect decor piece.
Sounds gimmicky, but I often think of that Portlandia sketch “Put a bird on it”. Bare corner? Put a plant in it! It’s an instant transformation and brings life into that sad and empty space. Just be sure to keep in mind how much light that corner gets to place the appropriate plant there. You'd be surprised that some plants can fair low light.
Add Texture, Height, and Visual Interest
Adding a touch of greenery to a space can really add a lot in terms of design and ascetic. Scrolling through Interior Inspiration images, chances are there is a plant in every beautifully staged photo. They just add so much to a space!
There are so many species and types of plants out there, that you can find one to suit any design look. Different textures and sizes also make them great for completing and adding that finishing touch. I’ve even gone all the way to making whole plant vignettes on tables or shelves. It’s like a quick and inexpensive DIY version of a Green Wall.
Improve the Feng Shui of a Space
In Feng Shui, plants are considered a great source of Chi. Adding plants enhances the overall energy and helps harmonize your space. Plants have been used in so many ways, from softening the energy in long hallways where fast-moving chi can be a problem, to cures for prosperity, wealth, and abundance.
While my space may look like a jungle, just adding a few simple houseplants here and there can make the biggest difference! There are so many species out there, from low-maintenance types to ones that are pet safe, there is a plant out there for everyone’s lifestyle and space.
For plant inquiries, styling and design, contact our integrated Interiors and Site Design teams!