Tuesday, April 24, 2012
A rather notorious designer that I admire wrote in her coffee table book, something about house plants being silly and looking like an awful band aid to fill up an empty corner….
Now while I can certainly agree that some people do use houseplants in a fill-in-the-blank sort of way, their misguided and seemingly un-stylish efforts certainly should not preclude the rest of us from cultivating house plants!
Placing a variety of plants indoors helps to create a visual calm connecting our subconscious minds with the beauty of the outdoors. In addition to potentially elevating your home's aesthetic, house plants can contribute to improved indoor air quality. Just as plants create oxygen and purify air outdoors, an adequate amount of live plant material indoors can create similar improved effects.
Care should be taken to incorporate locations for indoor plants and coordinate selections of pottery and decorative containers as part of your design plan. Large indoor trees don't work well as an after thought!
While all plants create oxygen and help to purify the air, some plant types have been specially studied and approved by NASA (since the late 1980's) for the purpose of improving indoor air quality. NASA recommends 15 specimens in a 2000 SF area to positively impact indoor air quality. Some of the most accessible plants recommended by NASA's studies include: Philodendron, Dracaena and Ficus benjamina.
For more information about NASA and their studies with houseplants visit http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/Spinoff2007/ps_3.html
SARAH BARNARD is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), is certified by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and is recognized by the International Institute for Bau-Biologie & Ecology as a Building Biology Practitioner (BBP) and by the United States Green Building Council as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). She serves on the Santa Monica Conservancy’s board of directors and specializes in green interior design and historic preservation. For more information about Sarah and her practice visit www.sarahbarnard.com