Lush, healthy houseplants add natural color, texture and life to any interior setting. If a sterile-looking dull room needs to be brought back to life, a well-placed potted plant is the perfect prescription.
The Absolute Accessory
If you’re on a budget, houseplants are unsurpassed for adding visual appeal.
- They are ideal fillers for awkward spaces or gaps. An empty corner comes alive when a tall ficus is snuggled into it; a set of bookshelves is softened when ivy is nestled between the stacks; and we are reminded of English country cottages when we spot a rosemary topiary or pot of parsley on a kitchen countertop.
- They blend into and enhance any style of décor. A split-leaf palm can make a beach cottage appear more tropical and yet make a traditional, paneled den appear statelier.
- They are inexpensive. If properly cared for, a plant bought for a few bucks at the grocery store can last for years, all the while providing joy and beauty.
In addition to the natural beauty and grace plants can bring into your home, plants remove indoor air pollutants produced by gas furnaces and stoves, cigarette smoke, paint and carpeting. Today’s energy-efficient homes and offices are sealed environments with little or no fresh air. Pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene can be trapped indoors and cause health problems. Fortunately, pollutant-gobbling plants are fairly common and readily available: Ivy, spider plants, palms, dracaena, peace lilies and dieffenbachia. All have chemical-absorbing and air-purifying qualities.
Plants can be used in every room of your home, but make sure you check their lighting and watering needs, as well as their temperament, before placing them:
- In the kitchen: Remove the clutter from the top of your refrigerator and replace it with a fluffy Boston fern in basket. Place an herb garden on the sunny sill over your sink. Put a small peace lily or two in a cookie jar or in a brightly colored bowl on the countertop.
- In the bathroom: Place an African violet on top of the commode. Orchids love the humidity your shower creates – why not put one on your vanity? Or try hanging a spider plant in front of the window or in the corner.
- In the bedroom: Placing a peace lily on your nightstand is one of the best ways to bring in oxygen.
- In the living or family room: End tables and coffee tables are ideal locations for displaying plants in unusual containers, such as an antique sewing basket or old wooden jewelry box. There’s always an empty corner that can be softened by a tall palm or ficus.
Don’t forget to get rid of scraggly, misshapen or brown-leafed plants. Nothing can make a room look sadder than a plant that needs to be put out of its misery.