Houseplants: Easy, Affordable Décor

Reader Contribution by Susan Melgren and Web Editor
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Just because the trees outside are barren doesn’t mean you have to wait until spring to see green leaves. Adding houseplants to your home’s décor is a great way to enliven its interior without spending a lot of money. Houseplants offer more than inexpensive, lively décor: they can relieve stress, lower blood pressure and even clean the air inside your home.

Unsure where to best put plants in your home? Try these tips:

• Group plants together in a large, repurposed vessel for a dramatic look. Combine different shapes, sizes and foliage textures to create more visual interest.

• Soften the hard corners of tall shelves or empty ledges with trailing plants. Heart-leaf philodendron and pothos both have beautiful cascading leaves.

• Fill empty corners or long, linear walls with tree-form floor plants such as a palm, weeping fig, rubber plant or Norfolk Island pine.

• Place plants in front of a curtain-free window to diffuse natural light or create a natural privacy screen.

• Accent empty stairs in the entryway with small potted plants.

• In feng shui, a plant in the entryway draws natural energy into the home. Try a hardy houseplant such as sansevieria or aspidistra to withstand cold winter drafts.

• Double a plant’s presence by placing it in front of a mirror. Orchids, rabbit’s-foot fern and Chinese evergreens all look good in front of a looking glass.

• Consider keeping around plants that have a purpose other than looking good. The gel inside aloe vera plants is useful for healing cuts and burns, and a windowsill full of culinary herbs will provide fresh flavor throughout winter.

And don’t forget the planter! The containers you pot your houseplants in are another opportunity to add to your home’s décor. Almost any vessel will do from conventional terracotta and ceramics pots to vintage buckets and even reclaimed coffee cans. Your creativity is the only limit. Keep in mind that most of these fun vessels are actually “cachepots” and not planters. Planters, which should have holes in the bottom for drainage, go inside cachepots, which are chosen for their decorative value. When it comes to selecting an appropriate-size canister, remember that large plants should occupy two-thirds of the total height and small plants should occupy one-third of the total height, with the container occupying the rest of the space.

Most houseplants have simple needs and don’t require much attention to keep alive. Many varieties are native to tropical climates and prefer lower light levels–perfect for growing indoors. If you lack green thumbs, try these 20 hardy houseplants and read up on the basics of houseplant care. For more on decorating with houseplants, check out the articles “Living Design” and “Decorate with Nature.”

Image: Photo By jessjamesjake/Courtesy Flickr