Flower power house design
“Plants, plants and more plants” are expected to be one of the hottest design trends of 2019, says Amanda Gates, energy design expert, award-winning interior designer, advanced feng shui practitioner, and popular podcast host. Home energy design. She adds that placing plants and flowers in our homes enhances the mood, cleanses the air, encourages alertness and enhances feng shui.
The possibilities are endless
Plants and flowers in the entryway of your home greet guests with beauty and a calm welcome.
Start with one plant and place it where you see it when you enter your home or enter a room, suggests Baylor Chapman, author of Decorating with plants, published by Artisan Books, is the owner of Lila B. Design, a botanical design studio in San Francisco. “It could be a small plant that you put your mail and keys in or a large tree across the room,” says Chapman.
That first look provides “a connection to nature and helps you slow down and settle in,” she explains.
Fiddle leaf fig is a great choice both alone and when grouped with other greenery if you want to add more plants later. “The Fiddle leaf fig is the trendiest indoor plant right now and a darling of interior designers everywhere,” says Claire Akin, founder of San Diego-based Fiddle Leaf Fig Resource. They thrive in a bright space with filtered light.
Gates says one of the great benefits of plants is that they pull toxins from the air, including chemicals released by the furniture, carpets and paint in our homes. Gates explains that when we’re not breathing in those toxins, we’re happier because we feel better.
“Golden pothos is especially great because it pulls formaldehyde out of the air,” Gates adds, referring to the fast-growing houseplant. They are easy to find at local nurseries or “at a big box store like The Home Depot.”
Akin adds that fig plants also remove toxins in the air, release oxygen, increase humidity and reduce fatigue, colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats and flu-like symptoms, according to a 1989 NASA study on how well indoor plants mitigate air pollution.
Consider placing air purifying plants in the bedroom to clean the air where you sleep as well. Chapman suggests sansevieria, or snake plant, any type of ivy and chrysanthemum.
Although the mums don’t last as long, “their effect is really nice,” says Chapman, and they were “rated very highly in the NASA study.”
When you have multiple plants, “group them in threes to get a really powerful effect,” Chapman advises.
Whether you’re placing plants, arranging furniture, or assembling other items, Chapman says, the three P’s are attractive, effective, and impactful. She adds that triads are pleasing to the eye and create a strong, memorable structure.
Make plant arrays more visually interesting with different sizes, shapes, textures and colors.
“Chapman’s Easy Recipe”: One light, fluffy, “airy” plant, such as asparagus fern or staghorn fern; A single wrapping plant such as a hoya, spider plant or vine; And one plant is as bold and structured as Sansevieria. “These combinations look really beautiful together,” she says. She also suggests incorporating various colors including shades and tones of green.
“When you arrange your plants, you want the effect to be cohesive, comfortable and pleasing to the eye,” Chapman adds.
Boost your morning mood by placing flowers or flowering plants in your bedroom or bathroom.
Gates likes to keep fresh cut flowers on her desk because she feels the fragrance will “raise your chi,” or personal energy, improve your mood and make you feel better.
“Smell is important, but so is its beauty,” Gates points out. “They light up us when we see them.”
Chapman suggests that you can try potted jasmine, gardenias and orchids such as trailing cymbidium and oncidium ‘Shari Baby’ to add a sweet scent. Although orchids require different care than most plants, she says they are not as demanding as one might think.
“Orchids are gorgeous,” Gates agrees. “They are very popular in feng shui because they have regal energy and courtesy, so they are great for increasing money,” she adds.
According to the bagua energy map, or feng shui, “the back left corner of our homes represents money energy,” Gates says, adding that if you place a money-boosting orchid in a money-boosting location (the back left corner of your house, room, or office) “in a “You see it in it all the time, it will help amplify that intent (to raise money).”
Aromatic herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage and basil freshen the air and add beauty to any room, whether in small pots or larger containers. They are great on windowsills and shelves and also work well in hanging baskets or wall-mounted containers.
The right light
“When you boil it down to the basics, it’s fairly easy to care for plants,” says Eric Westerduin, green wall industry expert and co-founder and partner at Suite Plants, a living wall company based in New York City. “They need light, water and carbon dioxide.”
The last two are simple, Westerduin says. Plants get carbon dioxide from the air and provide you with water as needed. “Light is where most problems happen,” he says.
In general, Westerduin says, colorful, flowering plants do better in more light while plants like ferns that naturally grow under forest canopies prefer shadier locations. He suggests thinking about where the plant naturally grows. A cactus that thrives in the 110-degree heat of the clear Arizona desert is unlikely to thrive in a dark corner of your home or in a hallway exposed to blasts of cold air in winter.
Find the right plant for the right lighting conditions. “You can buy a simple light meter on Amazon for $15,” Westerduin tells customers.
Use it to check the light before you place the plant and “save yourself a lot of headaches.”
“You can always bring in LED lights to help,” but Chapman says, “If your plant needs a very sunny window, don’t put it in a dark corner. You can test its limits but don’t go to extremes.”
Plant a wall
Picture frames and walls covered with plants create beautiful works of art.
Vesterduin says live images and green walls were first used commercially, and have been used in hotels, airports and offices for about 15 years.
Live photos are the easiest way to get started, Westerduin says. You will find many different units available that vary in ease of installation and care.
In addition to being a good option for families with young children and pets because it’s wall-mounted and out of reach, Suite Plants’ LivePicture system is easy to maintain, Westerduin says.
“All you have to do is add plants, hang them on the wall, and add water,” he says.
“Placing it as a picture frame is simple.” (Mounting hardware is included.) No electrical connection or water supply required. Each unit has a built-in watering system that holds enough water for four to six weeks. “You only need to water it about once a month” using the funnel provided, “and you’re good to go,” says Westerduin.
The company’s newest line, LivePicture GO, comes in grey, black, white or red to add a pop of color to wall-mounted plant “pictures.” Textured frames are coming soon.
Ready to go bigger? Cover a wall with plants for a stunning display.
Green wall systems can be used to cover a space that is difficult to decorate, enhance privacy, isolate noise, or break up open space.
Systems made by Suite Plants come in a variety of sizes and applications, including LiveDivider, a freestanding indoor room divider that holds plants on both sides, LiveHedge ivy walls for the garden and modular LivePanel Green Wall units that protrude less than 4 inches from the wall. It requires waterproofing, does not require structural support, and is easy to install yourself.
“It doesn’t matter how much space you have. The important thing is that you should always incorporate plants into your life because they make you feel better, whether they’re flowers, plants, or small trees,” says Gates.
“You don’t have to have a forest,” Chapman says. An abundance of plants is great but a lack of them is also a good thing. You can have (only) one or two plants in your home. He adds that the plants you have should make you smile, help calm you, purify the air and look beautiful.
The flower or plant that’s right for you may not be perfect for someone else, and vice versa, so choose plants you love, Gates says. You’ll know you’ve chosen well “when you walk into that space and think ‘I love having that flower or that weed or that tree here,'” he adds.