Me me me.jpeg

Hi!

Welcome to my blog. As an interior designer, design is in my blood. Design affects how we live, how we function. It can have a profound effect on our happiness and productivity.  I wish to inspire you with my stories about great, good and not so good design. About exteriors and interiors. About colours and art. In short, the things that we surround ourselves with. 

How To Style Your Home With Plants

How To Style Your Home With Plants

Cover Image Source: VT Wonen (Netherlands)

I confess up front that I kill plants…. I have two black thumbs! But that does not mean that every spring I start looking at getting some new indoor plants for my home. My sisters and some of my friends are really growing healthy indoor plants and gardening in general. I am always so envious when I see how they can make their green beauties look so healthy and shiny, while mine start to whither after a while.

But…having plants in the home has some serious benefits for our wellbeing. Nasa studies have shown that plants help reduce stress. They can create a feeling of well-being. Remember how a walk in the woods or a hike in the mountains makes us connect to nature and feel good. On a smaller scale plants can give those same benefits.

The White Gerbera. Photo by Doris Mitsch.

The White Gerbera. Photo by Doris Mitsch.

Plants can greatly improve air quality! Did you know that some plants take out up to 90% of formaldehyde, as well as benzene, carbon and nitrogen dioxide out of the air in our homes? Makes think doesn’t it! A few years back the SBS or Sick Building Syndrome made headlines. The origins of this syndrome are still not determined, however, the addition of plants have made a big difference. Plants exchange gases and water with their surroundings so it makes sense they take toxins from the air.

Other benefits are:

  • Stability of humidity levels.

  • They reduce airborne dust levels. Great for people with allergies.

  • Plants keep air temperatures down. Just like walking in a forest feels cooler, right?

  • Reduction of background noise. A big concern in open office environments. Peter Costa (South Bank University, London) discovered that some plants like high frequency sounds and absorb them! How cool is that!

  • Workspaces are more attractive to employees thereby increasing their creativity and productivity levels. Companies need to do more to create indoor gardens.

Some plants with serious health benefits are: Spider Plant, English Ivy, Boston Fern, Peach Lily, Mass Cane or Corn Plant, Gerbera and the beautiful Olive Tree, a favourite with decorators at the moment.

Tall Plants & Indoor Trees

Tall plants and indoor trees really make a great statement. Majestic size leaves with intricate vein patterns make these plants super interesting. Because of their size these plants need lots of space. They then become living art pieces. Team them up with one or two smaller plants to create a grouping. Keep the colour of the leaves tone-on-tone to show a cohesive element. Make sure the heights of these plants vary for even greater effect.

The two tall trees in this room add visual interest and give height to the space. Coordinated with soft greens and deep blues this space is quite appealing. I would make a couple of changes though. The palm leaf in the green vase needs to be placed on the sofa side table near the windows while the two smaller plants need to be relocated to the floor near the tree in the foreground. It would clean up this space even further. Source: VT Wonen (Netherlands)

The two tall trees in this room add visual interest and give height to the space. Coordinated with soft greens and deep blues this space is quite appealing. I would make a couple of changes though. The palm leaf in the green vase needs to be placed on the sofa side table near the windows while the two smaller plants need to be relocated to the floor near the tree in the foreground. It would clean up this space even further. Source: VT Wonen (Netherlands)

By choosing the right size of plants and arranging them carefully there is no need to have multiple small plants throughout the space. These would only take away the effect created by showcasing the larger plants. Take another look at the cover image and note how the olive tree with two lower plant in front forms the perfect companion to the bed with its deep blue cover. Olive trees have been a staple for designers and decorators for a few years now. This tree is so gorgeous. Its leaves are a wonderful size and the colour is a rich deep green.

Plant Collections

As mentioned before as a designer my recommendation to show plants is to do so as a collection. Not one here or there, but clusters. Not only do the plants look more interesting, they are also much easier to take care of. You don’t need to run all over the place given them water and fertilizer. All nicely together - easier for the caretaker. I call this the ‘Cluster Trick’. Try it. You won’t regret it. Another advantage is that you create a green oasis which can function as a room divider, or provide privacy near a window. By placing the plants on a trolley you can even move them in and out of the sun.

The trick when making a cluster of plants is to choose varying heights to keep the group interesting. Have a variety of leaf sizes and colour and different pot sizes of course, but keep all these pots in the same colour. Place the plants in woven baskets in a variety of colours. The elelement which ties such a grouping together are the woven baskets themselves..

Isn’t this a great idea?! An old clothes rack transformed into a room divider with hanging and standing plants. I almost wish I had not disposed of the old rack I had in my studio: It did not make the last move…. Source: Elle Decor (US)

Isn’t this a great idea?! An old clothes rack transformed into a room divider with hanging and standing plants. I almost wish I had not disposed of the old rack I had in my studio: It did not make the last move…. Source: Elle Decor (US)

You can use your walls to create groupings and vertical gardens. Here are some examples. Fun and easy to do. The first image shows a collection of plastic soda bottles, cut open and hung in hooks on the wall. Maybe not for indoors, but surely interesting for a balcony or garage wall or even a fence!. In the center image a old pallet was painted hot pink. Deep Blue would also look fabulous, or saturated black. Hang it on the wall in a hallway or a landing. The cluster with the baskets is also so easy to create. You only need a nail and a hammer, a plastic liner, some identical baskets and your plants are ready to be showcased. Perhaps with herbs in the kitchen?

No walls to hang plants? What about hanging a cluster of containers from the ceiling. Today we are seeing a comeback of the bohemian art of macrame (rope knotting). Macrame can be formed into plant hangers very easily. Check for tutorials on Pinterest and YouTube. Alternatively, metallic pots can add a touch of allure that macrame does not. I personally like the idea of glass spheres dangling from the ceiling or an interesting shelf to house a pot or two (I am thinking of an Indian brass metal, engraved tray).

Three DIY Ideas for Your Green Thumbs

1. Terrarium

Making your own terrarium can be really rewarding. You can put together a tiny eco-system in a glass container or bottle in a heartbeat. When done properly the plants can survive a long time without too much care. Dropp some pebbles in the bottom, add active charcoal to prevent mold (check with your local nursery), potting soil, some moss and a number of tiny plants and you are all done. You can even keep the glass container closed. If condensation develops, open up the container and let the moisture escape. A collection of different size containers with a multitude of plants will look terrific.

Source: VT Wonen (Netherlands)

Source: VT Wonen (Netherlands)

spiderplant-planten-in-de-slaapkamer-plantenhanger 2.jpg

2. Floating Shelf

Make a floating shelf to show some plants in a dead corner. A wooden or metal tray can be made into a shelf with twine holding it in place. Add a few large beads for decoration and suspend the shelf from the ceiling with a nice leather loop. Instead of a tray, a basket will do equally fine. If you look at the image below you can see a potted spider plant in a widely available basket. I would have preferred to see the plant potted directly in a liner inside the basket, eliminating the need for the pot which I think looks too big for the basket. I do like the leather loop at the top. A nice finish.

3. Painted Pots

This method has been around for some time, but it can still do wonders for your decor at low cost. Check with your local paint store for the right kind of paint. Use some painters tape to create a graphic effect. Black on white will look great, or a combination of deep blue with emerald green could work really well. Want to tie in the pots with your decor, no problem. Any colour can be used. Have fun with it by adding polkadots or stripes. Pinterest and YouTube are loaded with tutorials.

Source: Etsy.com

Source: Etsy.com

In conclusion I want to show some cool plant containers and stands which are available today and which add a lot of style to any room. The Lofgren plant stands are designed by Swedish product designer Magnus Lofgren who produces sleek, beautiful and contemporary home decor accessories. Ikea also has a couple of really interesting plant pots in metal with filigree tops. Their baskets are a great buy as well. Inexpensive and contemporary.

This is it for this week! Now go out and get some fresh greenery and purify the stale winter air in your home! I am. Hopefully the plants will survive for a few months.

As always many thanks for the visit. Hope you enjoyed it!

IMG_5022.jpg
7 Best Materials for Outdoor Spaces

7 Best Materials for Outdoor Spaces

Black and White Rooms That WOW

Black and White Rooms That WOW