As well as looking good, houseplants are known to be beneficial to our health and well-being, so bringing them indoors is a great way to improve our home and work environments. As Spring starts to take hold, we take a closer look at how to create a healthy, happy and green indoor environment.
Indoor plants went out of fashion for a while: they were seen as creating mess and collecting dust, and a bit of a struggle to keep alive. But more recently the link between nature and wellbeing - including lower stress levels, feeling more relaxed, improved cognition and enhanced productivity - has become more appreciated. As a result, plants started heading back inside commercial properties to improve indoor environment quality, and subsequently into our homes.
The Royal Horticultural Society promotes the use of plants to improve air quality and to help us breathe more easily, as well as for their mental and physical benefits. But in case you're thinking 'well they would say that wouldn't they', their claims seem to be backed up by research.
According to The Fifth Estate, Australia's leading online newspaper for the sustainable environment, research by RMIT and the University of Melbourne has quantified the effects of plants in the home. This research also led to the development of an app to help you calculate the benefits of adding particular plants to a room, and found that adding just one medium-sized plant to a medium-sized space improved indoor air quality by up to 25 per cent. But you might not want to stop at buying just one plant, because the app developers Plant Life Balance claim that in an average 4m x 5m space, while one plant will give you a little more mental wellbeing, introducing 10 plants will provide the maximum health and wellness.
It's no surprise therefore that 'living greenery' is a key theme throughout all Uncommon workspaces in London, where worker well-being is paramount. Their 'creative yet calm' worker spaces are designed to make you feel good, on the basis that you will then do better.
"Breathe deeply. A building without greenery is just unnatural. Plants create fresh air and make you happy, so the more the better. Roof terrace outside, plenty of pots inside. A healthier workspace to be. Find your place." [Uncommon Workspaces]
The recently upgraded, beautifully calm cultural café space created by Eden Locke at 127 George Street in Edinburgh also achieves the 'creative-but-calm' vibe by enhancing their uncluttered space with the addition of pots of greenery.
A quick flick through the Spring issues of interior design magazines provides us with plenty of ideas on how to introduce indoor plants in a way that enhances our home's aesthetics, as well as its health credentials. Check out the beautiful bathroom below featured in the current issue of Elle Deco UK, where a range of hanging plants adds natural colour and glamour, plus a sense of wellbeing into a space built for relaxation.
We're also in love with the beautiful plant hangers that Edinburgh artist Lucy Wayman creates. Lucy runs workshops teaching people how to make their own plant hanger using 100% cotton, and encourages those attending to bring personal treasures - such as beads, hoops or driftwood - to incorporate into their plant hanger to make them truly unique. And since the wellbeing benefits of engaging in a creative activity are also well known, Lucy's workshops are a wellbeing win-win.
So as the shoots of Spring start popping their heads above ground, why not bring a bit of extra health and happiness into your home or work environment by introducing a bit of green, plant therapy.
Our next Introduction to macramé workshop with Edinburgh artist Lucy Wayman is on 9th June.
Image 1: Uncommon Workspaces, London https://uncommon.co.uk
Image 2: Eden Locke door.127 cafe, George Street, Edinburgh https://www.lockeliving.com/eden-locke/ https://www.instagram.com/door.127/
Image 3: 'Life Lessons', Elle Decoration UK, May 2019; Photography by Helenio Barbetta/LivingInside http://www.elledecoration.co.uk/magazine/may-2019/