Plants tend to be an afterthought in interior design. And the more bad experiences you have with plants (in other words, how many of them die at your hand), the more likely you are to push them to the back burner or forget about them altogether. However, we know that plants make us happier, helps us recharge and even be more productive. In this article I will introduce you to the positive effects of plants on your wellbeing and show you which are M.T.I.’s favourite ones.
Featured immage: Interier by Arhitekti Počivašek Petranovič, Photographer: Urban Petranovič
PLANTS AND INTERIOR DESIGN – biophilia
However, there are many ways to add the plants into the interior design as a creative layer. Plants are as important as other accessories in the space. Well-chosen plants, that are artfully displayed, enhance your home’s unique look and make it feel healthier and more connected with nature. Not to mention, they are great and inexpensive design elements as well that can jazz up even the most boring or coldest spaces.
Design that connects us to nature is proven to inspire us, boost our productivity and even contribute to a stronger sense of well-being. Now more than ever, it’s necessary to bring the outdoors in and create indoor environments – biophilic interiors, that reference nature in both obvious and subtle ways. (What is biophilia? You can read more abou it in one of my previous articles.) Adding plants is the simplest way to bring nature into our homes and centarl to wellness focused interior design.
Lovely interior filled with plats by Arhitekti Počivašek Petranovič, Photographer: Urban Petranovič
POSITIVE EFFECTS OF PLANTS ON YOUR WELLBEING: boost your mood and improve air quality
Having lots of greenery in a home is an obvious and easy stimulant to our overall wellbeing and health. They have tons of wellness benefits. They help to purify the air, by filtering indoor air pollutants like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and benzene. There is an entire Clean Air Study by the NASA with proven facts – have a look here.
They also provide a natural mood-boosting lift and according to some studies can even reduce stress levels, increase memory retention and concentration, and filter out VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and some pollutants. Also, taking care of your plants can help you wind down after a busy day and relax. There are even studies that prove that by simply touching a plant’s leaf for 2 minutes, you reduce your stress levels!
M.T.I. TOP 5 INDOOR PLANTS
The benefits of plants at home in general and in a bedroom in particular are countless. Orchids or aloe vera are great for the bedroom because, as opposed to most plants, they emit oxygen even at night. But for a healthy bedroom climate, don’t count on plants alone: regular ventilation, fresh bed linen, a comfortable mattress and good pillows and an extra blanket if needed, help to make you sleep better and improve your overall wellbeing.
I love smaller succulents for the home office, snake plant or dracaena for the living room, and herbs for the kitchen for an ultimate wellness kick. Don’t forget about the bathrooms either, bamboo, ferns, or a philodendron can transform that space into a wellness retreat in an instant.
Here is our selection of indoor plants, that we absolutely adore.
Ficus Lyrata – native to the West-African tropical rainforests – is also known as Fiddle-leaf Fig because of the way its leaves are shaped. It is a houseplant with pretty, large leaves, which start out narrow and end in a broad apex, and can grow up to half a metre long.
This Fiddle-leaf Fig is pretty easy to take care of and doesn’t need a lot of water. Make sure that the soil is evenly moist – and the rest will take care of itself. Don’t give it too much moisture all at once, but water it in small amounts. This plant thrives in sunlight. Position it in a bright place, but try and avoid – if possible – the harsh afternoon sun.
Rubber plants earned their name thanks to their sap, which is sometimes used to make rubber. The rubber plant’s leaves also have a shiny and rubbery appearance. These plants will grow tall and produce beautiful leaves if you give them proper care.
Rubber plants are commonly seen in their dark green variety, but also come in more colorful varieties. For example, varieties known as the “black prince” or “burgundy” have reddish-black leaves.
The key to rubber plant care is balance. It likes just the right amount of sun and water. If you can give it just the right amount of both, you’ll have a happy, strong and tall rubber tree. Rubber plants will tell you if they need more sunlight or water if they start to drop their lower leaves. You can keep your rubber plant near a window with a sheer curtain to give it just the right amount of sunlight.
Photo1 via Kathrina chambers / Photo2 by Unsplash
Jade plants have traditionally been thought of as a token of good luck. In fact, some people know them as money plants. Whether or not you believe that piece of folklore, these succulents’ easy-care properties and attractive looks make them ideal for adding to your own home or to gifting to others. In general, the care is fairly easy, so they are suitable houseplants even for beginner gardeners.
Photo 1 by Unsplash / Photo 2 via Brit + co
SWISS CHEESE PLANT / MONSTERA DELICIOSA
Those of you who would like to magically turn their living room into an Urban Jungle, could surely make good use of the Swiss Cheese Plant – aka Monstera Deliciosa. This invincible climber with its large leaves is a true Instagram model and can be found in many modern interiors.
This plant from Middle and South America does not need a lot of care. Just watering it regularly will ensure years of joy. It will do well in both light or dark places. The more light, the faster it will grow. Direct sunlight is not good for the Swiss Cheese plant.
Monstera is easily multiplied by raising plants from cuttings. This way, you end up with several plants to decorate your house with. The only thing you need to do is to cut off a leaf with its stem – and to stick that into a pot with moist soil.
Photo by Unsplash
STRELITZIA NICOLAI / BANANA PLANT
The fifth plant that has become indispensable to current interior design is Strelitzia Nicolai, aka the Banana plant. With its large, green leaves, it will decorate any room.
As the Banana plant consists of 80% water, you won’t be surprised to hear it needs a lot of water. Rule number one: the soil should never dry out. This is why it is recommended to water the plant – especially in summer – several times per week.
Banana plant loves sun! Position it near a window where there is a lot of light – but keep away from direct sunlight in order to protect the pretty leaves from sunburn.
photo1 by Unsplash / photo 2 by Nina Holst via Stylizimo
MUST HAVE: GREENTERIOR BY COFFEEKLUTCH
This is my new book crush! Bart Kiggen and Magali Elali, known for their wonderful interview based blog Coffeeklatch, show the power of plants as interior objects in their very first book. In Greenterior: Plant Loving Creatives and Their Homes, the creative duo document the homes of twenty creative spirits who all share a love of plants. Magali & Bart visited interiors in Belgium as well as other world cities like Barcelona and New York, showing us how an impressive or different collection of plants makes a home even more personal and interesting.
Greenterior, Photo curtesy of Coffeeklutch
“For Greenterior, we traveled from Brussels to New York looking for kindred spirits and plant-filled homes. In the book each home tour is accompanied by an interview with the artist about their emotional connection to nature, as well as a guide to the greenery within. The book also includes an index with the particular characteristics of every plant shown in the photographs. Greenterior is a sincere plea for more greenery in your houses since it is the easiest way to feel connected to nature, which sometimes seems far away.”Magali Elali, Greenterior
Greenterior, PhotoS curtesy of Coffeeklutch
During their interview sessions for Coffeeklatch, they often met people with a striking passion for greenery. Bart took the photographs of the houses and paid special attention to the role of plants in the interior design. Magali took the time to interview the inhabitants about their collection of plants. The duo visited the houses of florist Marc Colle, interior photographer Martyn Thompson, fashion designer Christian Wijnants, painter Piet Raemdonck, and furniture designers Muller Van Severen and Ana Kraš, among others.
Greenterior, Photo curtesy of Coffeeklutch
CONCLUSION – the positive effects of plants on your wellbeing
An indoor garden can be your refuge from the outside world, and for many people it is a source of great joy. Whether you live in a small apartment, or a large house, by introducing certain plants into your home, you will start to notice the positive effects of plants on your wellbeing, and overall happiness. As well as enhancing your mood and creating a living space that is soothing to be in, plants can also help with loneliness and depression: caring for a living thing gives us a purpose and is rewarding — especially when you see that living thing bloom and thrive.
Taking care of plants does not have to be scary: it is not difficult and it does not require much. Light, warmth, the right information some fresh inspiration and lots of love will do the magic.