Christine

THE ONE ESSENTIAL ITEM EVERY ROOM SHOULD HAVE

Somewhere in ancient China, high up in the mountains, a band of monks came across something weird – tiny contorted trees, their roots and branches knotted and twisted in their struggle to find nutrition among the rocky landscape. These dwarfed trees turned out to be very old, and the monks thought that they possessed special energies.

They took them home and created miniature landscapes in small pots with moss and rocks. They carefully pruned and cared for their midget trees and used them as sacred gifts. What we today know as bonsai (from the Chinese word Penzai, meaning ‘tray plant’) became a sign of wealth and influence.

Bonzai 1000BC Ming-Imperial-Court iva wiki

A Chinese bonsai in a scene from the Ming Imperial court. Source

Everybody wanted one in their home.

bonsai as the centre piece in the dining room via planner5d.com

PLANTS IN THE DINING ROOM

Even today, a sculpted bonsai adds a certain allure to a room. Source 

These beautiful, living sculptures are not your average pot plant, but they achieve something we’ve been wanting for centuries—to bring nature back inside. There is something beautifully symbolic in that too — green combines yellow and blue, the sun and the sky.

The Egyptians, the Romans and the Greeks all brought potted plants into their homes as food and medicine, and crucially, as decoration.

But the Victorians, o my gosh, these guys went totally potty for pot plants. In the 1800s, indoor gardening was the in thing and became the leisure pastime of the wealthy and the famous. Anybody who was somebody knew something about indoor plants. Private greenhouses burst with exotic and rare species. If you couldn’t afford a greenhouse, you packed your windows with plants. Even the lowliest parlor had a potted palm or a Boston fern, at the very least.

victorian-plants-window-arrangement via oldhouseoline.com

A Victorian window with greenery in pots, baskets and a small terrarium. Source

How else could you turn a stale, dull parlor into a fresh one but add a plant? Or two. Or forty-seven. The Victorians put them everywhere—they hung in the windows, they crept up the walls, in pots behind the sofa, next to the sofa, on a trellis over the sofa. Even a summer fireplace was adorned!

period fireplace with panelled walls and high ceilings

PLANTS AROUND A FIREPLACE

Texture on texture. The greenery here compliments the paneled wall. Source

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fireplace with fern in white living room

PLANTS INSIDE (ALMOST) A SUMMER FIREPLACE NOWADAYS

Green and fresh and bright for summer. Source

But you can’t blame the Victorians for over-doing it a bit. In a time of industry and change, the air and water, the streets were awfully smelly and polluted. It’s not surprising that they embraced the notion of houseplants as mush as they did, given what we know today:

1. Houseplants purify the air

A recent study at NASA found that houseplants removed harmful compounds and lung-irritating ozone from indoor air.

bathroom with large fiddle leaf fig via homeheartfengshui kristywicks_burnhamdesign

PLANTS IN THE BATHROOM

Imagine this bathroom without the large fiddle leaf tree. Source

You know where I’m going with this—EVERY ROOM NEEDS A PLANT.

Recently we moved to a new country. Guess what was the first things I bought for our new house? A plant. I put it on a small side table where we could see it all the time. It immediately changed the dynamics of the room and lifted our spirit in an inexplicable way. It just sits there patiently, reaching its prickly arms out to us as if wanting to give us a hug.

But here are another few things about these green leafy things:

2. Plants make you smarter

It’s true. There are people who spend their time doing extensive research on this. According to Scientific American, having plants around has direct benefits for mental functioning. People surrounded by plants in their workplace are able to concentrate better on demanding tasks. It’s not yet clear why this is so, but the scientists are working on it. I’m sure they’re surrounded by plants while they try to figure it out.

Home office with leather chair and gallery art

PLANTS IN THE OFFICE

A plant at your desk not only looks pretty, it also improves the way you think. Source

3. Houseplants lower stress

Studies have found that hospital patients with a live plant in their room were less stressed, used fewer painkillers and recovered faster.

bedroom with vintage credenza and plants

PLANTS IN THE BEDROOM

Plants in the bedroom are not only beautiful, they will help you to relax. Source

4. Plants put you in a better mood

Really? Apparently so. Scientists have linked houseplants to many positive benefits, including lower anxiety, lower blood pressure and increased pleasantness.

I’m putting one in my son’s bedroom TODAY!

a light and white entrance with large random plant

PLANTS IN THE ENTRANCE

Doesn’t this just immediately put you in a good mood? Via Tessa Neustadt

OK, enough with all these scientific studies. I think you get the picture. Not only should you eat plants, you should have them all around the house for good health and better performance. PLANTS ARE GOOD FOR YOU.

Speaking of eating—look at these for the kitchen.

kitchen with bonsai on shelf via planner5d

PLANTS IN THE KITCHEN

Who needs a window above the sink if you can look at this? Source

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plants on a shelf in the kithcen

PLANTS ON A SHELF

Waterfalls of plants on the kitchen shelf. Source 

5. Plants make space

plant for height and balance, perhaps better than a giraffe

When you need height you can always install a giraffe. Source

Even when you have a giraffe, a green leafy thing will add balance. I’ve added one on the other end of the sofa. What do you think?

plant with giraffe in living room

A plant can balance a giraffe 🙂

However, you don’t need a giraffe. But you do need a plant. Cover the plants in the pictures that follow to see what these rooms would look like without them.

Living room with large plant for height

A beautiful living room with a large plant for height by designer Ken Fulk

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living room when you need height via howtodecorate

A bit of greenery adds texture, balance and a touch of randomness. Source 

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plant as focus point with art

A PLANT AS A FOCUS POINT (WITH ART)

A house full of interesting things, and here the plant just completes the picture. See more of this Australian house here 

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plants in window with books

PLANTS IN THE WINDOWSILL

A delicious window with books and art. Source

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bathroom with blue tiles and large pot plant

PLANTS FOR CONTRAST

There is something about this heavy blue pot with the dainty plant that forces you to look again. Source

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Art studio filled with plants

PLANTS IN THE ART STUDIO, OF COURSE

I want one of theses, please! Source 

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garden room with potted plants and armchair

PLANTS IN THE GARDEN ROOM

I want one of these too. Source

BUT WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE GREEN FINGERS?

If you’re a plant killer, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Most of us have killed a plant at some point. Poor things, they can’t even get away to look for a better home.

But I found THE PERFECT SOLUTION! It’s so easy you can’t mess it up. AND it looks stunning.

It involves a clear glass vase (or bottle, or decanter, or jar), water, and a branch.  Simply put the three together, and that’s it. A very voguish house plant.

Water plants in clear glass jars

GLASS-BOWL PLANTS

Look how these happy branches are growing roots in the clear glass jars. Source

They will sit there and be happy. They will please you with their green foliage for months. They will grow new leaves. They will even grow roots. It is so easy.

I’m mad about glass-bowl plants, they’re all over my house.

What about you? Let’s bring the sun and the blue sky inside. What do you say?

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