Insider Solutions

Plants Can Liven Up Your Home

Plants add life, movement, warmth and interest to a room by creating a feeling of bringing the outside into your interior design. Plants add color, texture and balance and can fill an empty space. Yet when I suggest to clients that they should add plants, their eyes glaze over and they shake their heads. "I'm no good with plants, they say. "I have a brown thumb!

This is when I extol the virtues of having live plants in every environment. I always reassure my clients that it's OK for a plant to die. Plants don't have to live forever, and when they get ragged it's okay to replace them. Experience has taught me that there is no such thing as a brown thumb. It boils down to learning a little about plants and what they need.

I also subscribe to the notion that plants feel energy and will react to thoughts. When I leave for a trip, my plants seem to know it and appear to look different when I come home until I have had a chance to acknowledge them.

Here's some advice for buying and caring for plants:

  • When you buy a plant, ask how often it needs to be watered. Give it only what it needs. Most people lose plants by over-watering, although under-watering is just as harmful.
  • Buy a good plant thermometer. You will always know if the plant needs watering; you won't have to guess.
  • Learn what natural light your plant requires. Does the plant need bright light or can it live in less light? This is critical for a plant to look healthy and survive.

If you have the water and light under control, you will have beautiful plants that will live and look good for a long-time. Now let's consider how to use plants from an interior design point of view.

  • What do you want to accomplish by bringing in a plant?
  • Is the size right for the space? (What shape - tall or wide - would be better for the area?)
  • How high is the ceiling?
  • Will the placement of the plant be an obstacle to walking or sitting?
  • What color should the leaves be - dark green, yellow green or sage? (Should the plant be a flowering type, or perhaps a cactus?)
  • What leaf shape are you looking for? (Rounded leaves are softer and more approachable, giving a more inviting feel. Pointed leaves are more dramatic and sophisticated. Some leaves grow toward the ceiling and give the room a livelier feeling, and others grow down toward the floor for a more subdued feeling.)

For rooms where the light is not conducive to living plants, you can buy fabulous silk plants. Some silks are meant to look real, and others are more whimsical.

Fresh flowers add interest to any room; however, if you prefer, you can keep silk flowers in vases. They can be changed out every time you bring fresh flowers home. When you mix silk plants with live ones, few people will suspect you have mixed the two.

As a finishing touch, you can use up-lights on the floor to accent the plants. For subtle ambiance or drama, put those lights on timers and set them to go on when it gets dark and go off at your normal bedtime. This way, your home is never dark when you come home.

Normally I end this column by saying "Room have no feelings, You do! However, today I'm going to end by saying, "Plants are your friends who live with you.

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