Date of the last update: 23.05.2023
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Rather than using ornaments or expensive artworks to decorate your home, use plants. If you want to go a step further, get rid of any plastic or metal furniture in your home too – especially plastic plant pots – and use natural materials such as wood, stone and organic fabrics, which are more in tune with nature and ourselves. Choose plants with fractal patterns to create a focal point in any room. For example, if you have a favourite spot where you eat your breakfast each morning, place a zebra plant (Calathea ‘Network’) or dwarf kowhai (Sophora prostrata ‘Little Baby’) in your line of sight, to help you start the day with a restorative view. You can apply this concept to your bedroom, living room, or wherever you spend significant amounts of your time.
If you have a big, blank wall and nothing to put on it, or just want to try something different, why not make a feature out of hanging plants? In my own home, I have two walls adorned with a string of hearts (Ceropegia woodii) in pots. They are easy to maintain, yet rewardingly fast-growing; they have leaves with muted tones that work with any background, and they bring these walls to life. Choose a wall that gets enough light, and measure the space for your hanging garden. You’ll need a curtain pole or broomstick the length of your space and two curtain rod brackets. For each plant you’ve selected, you’ll need a macrame plant hanger or hanging pot with an ‘S’ hook or curtain ring. Screw the brackets into the wall, secure the pole or broomstick on them, and then slot on the curtain rings or hooks. From here, the choice of plants and pots is all yours – just be aware of the distance between the plants and the wall, and avoid any plants that are too wide. For larger plants, the same idea can be adapted for a ceiling by screwing in two hooks and then attaching the hanging pole to them with string.
When thinking about how to furnish your home, consider what kind of atmosphere you want to create, and choose plants that will support this environment. Think strategically about where to place certain plants in your home or office. By understanding a bit more about what specific plants offer, you can incorporate them into your surroundings to suit the way you live, and to enhance the components of compatibility and extent. For example, in rooms with poor ventilation, surround yourself with plants that are particularly effective at purifying the air. Place strongly humidifying plants (such as a spider plant, jade plant, areca palm, fern, ivy, and peace lily) next to radiators or close to your bed, where you will experience their benefits. Use plants to create an environment that will lead you to feel better physically and emotionally.
Using plants to support your health can be especially important in your bedroom. The main function of a bedroom is to provide a safe and comfortable space to sleep, so use plants to encourage air flow and healthy humidity levels. With bedroom plants, you will also wake up to a view of greenery!
Draw on your positive memories and feelings to choose your plants. For example, if your grandparents used to grow hoyas, and this is a fond memory of yours, buy some hoyas of your own. If your favourite place to be is on the beach, fill your home with palms, or if you prefer the forest, try ferns! Think of different ecosystems – deserts, tropical rainforests, coastlines, etc., and replicate them in your home to make yourself feel safe and at home. Just as we are all different, our plant collections should be too, and by picking plants that fit our personal experiences, we can maximise their unique benefits to us. Once you have chosen your unique set of plants, it’s time to create a corner in your home dedicated to relaxation, meditation or any well-being practices you do. Create your own green corner to use as a place for retreat.
Beyond plants’ ability to soothe our internal stress mechanism, there is another key factor at play in our positive response to plants: their personality! Of course, strictly speaking, plants don’t have personalities, but we tend to project our feelings onto them, so as far as our subconscious is concerned, they do possess certain qualities. Recent studies show that people perceive plants as non-judgemental, non-threatening and non-discriminating. This is largely because they respond to care, regardless of the strengths and weaknesses of the person providing it. In this day and age, our performance – whether in work, sports, or academia – is constantly being judged – both by others, and frequently by ourselves too – it is unsurprising that we are attracted to the tolerance of plants.