Contrary to popular opinion interior design is serious business. I had lunch with a friend recently who shared with me that when he was just starting out as a financial advisor he invited a potential client to his office and assumed that the meeting went well until he followed up and was told by his prospect that given the condition of his business office he would not even consider doing business with him. Property managers know that in addition to location the quality of the materials and finishes used in the design of the interiors of a space dictates the lease or rental rates they can command. It doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about a business environment or a residential environment the decor makes a lasting impression on all that enter the space. But beyond aesthetics the quality of the indoor air you breathe has definite health consequences that should be considered and addressed in the design of your home’s interior spaces. In fact according to the EPA indoor air quality is said to be anywhere from two to five times worst than outdoor air quality and most people spend 90% of their time indoors.
Well over 25 years ago NASA in conjunction with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America studied houseplants and their ability to improve indoor air quality as a way to purify the air in space facilities and found that there were a number of plants that filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In a home environment VOCs typically off-gas from home furnishings, cabinetry, chemical based cleaners, dry cleaning, and among many other sources too numerous to name. The best way to offset these toxins is to incorporate the use of houseplants in your home décor. Not only do plants beautify and accessorize your home but they serve a very practical function of creating a healthier home environment. I’ve included six plants below five of which I’ve managed to keep alive that I would recommend for someone like myself that will never be able to brag about having a green thumb. The peace lily that I over-watered that’s now resting in peace died of root rot. It had a long life so if you’re more confident of your ability when it comes to plants it’s a very beautiful plant to include in your home also.
And now the list of easy to care for plants that are hard workers when it comes to cleaning the air and improving indoor air quality (click on the links for care guidelines):
This easy to grow sun loving plant helps clear formaldehyde and benzene from the air, which are byproducts of chemical based cleaners and paints. A must have in the kitchen for cuts and burns. However, this plant is toxic to cats and dogs if eaten.
Is a very resilient plant that’s hard to kill. Does wonders in clearing the air of benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and xylene, a solvent used in the leather, rubber, and printing industries.
Best for filtering out formaldehyde which is common in cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues and personal care products. Can thrive with low light and steamy humid conditions and is almost impossible to kill. It’s the perfect plant for the bathroom.
This is another powerful plant for tackling formaldehyde that thrives in both soil and water. It is suggested for a garage since car exhaust is filled with formaldehyde. It stays green even when kept in low light conditions.
This plant can reach ceiling height and can remove chemicals that are commonly found in lacquers, varnishes and gasoline.
This plant requires shade and weekly watering to survive and produce blooms and topped NASA’s list for removing the three most common VOCs: formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. It can also combat toluene and xylene.
So there you have it, a way to bring life into your home, beautify the rooms and improve the quality of the air and for a very small price. Plants are the most practical home design accessory hands down.