HEALTHY HOME TIPS TO PROMOTE WELLNESS:
INDOOR PLANTS TO IMPROVE AIR QUALITY
In our modern lives, most of us spend the majority of our lives inside working, learning and playing. As interior designers, we are cognizant that our interior environment should be functional and beautiful, but most importantly it should support our health!
We often talk a lot about the benefits of a well planned interior to support the functionality of our daily lives and for our mental well being. However, we are just as mindful of the use of materials and need to plan our interiors to support our physical health. The integration of these philosophies is the foundation of our work as holistic interior designers.
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7 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality
1) Keep your floors clean.
Install easy to clean flooring and remove your shoes at the door.
West Elm/ Fontana Leather Bench
Give your family and guests a place to sit and remove their shoes at the front door. A chair or bench is inviting and makes it easy to instill this habit.
2) Keep a healthy level of humidity within your home.
Best Buy/ Google Nest White
Keep tabs on your interior humidity with a smart thermostat like the Nest. We’ve used a Nest for years and love the system!
3) Remove all air freshener products such as plug-ins, wax diffusers and sprays. Swap this out for essential oil diffusers.
West Elm/ Ona Diffuser
We love to use diffusers in every main room in our home. We create our own essential oil blends to create the aromatic environment that we need at that time. One of my favorite essential oils for a clean feeling during the day is lemongrass.
4) Change your HVAC air filter to a high efficiency filter. Set reminders to change your filters regularly. Incorporate air purifiers into main living areas and bedrooms.
I set a monthly reminder for the first Sunday in the month to change my HVAC air filters. I also love this air purifier by Alen. It works well and looks great! It comes in a variety of finishes to suit every interior.
5) Vacuum upholstery, flooring, window treatments, carpet, etc. regularly with a HEPA filter.
Dyson/ V8 Absolute Cordless Vacuum
A HEPA filter vacuum cleaner is a great way to reduce allergens in your home. We recommend the lightweight Dyson vacuum, but you can check out this page on the National Allergy website for more options. https://www.natlallergy.com/vacuums
6) Enhance your interiors with air filtering plants.
Check out our list below of some of our favorite indoor plants for enhancing your air quality.
AIR FILTERING PLANTS
There are many options for air filtering plants, depending on your lighting and the level of care you would like to invest in the plants. NASA has performed extensive research on air filtering plants for the purpose of determining how to clean the air in space stations. They recommend at least 15 to 18 medium-to-large size plants for a 1,800-square-foot home.
1) Sanseveria- AKA Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
The Sansevieria is an ideal plant for indoor spaces because it is an excellent air purifier and it is easy to care for- even if you lack a green thumb! The plant removes toxins such as formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, and nitrogen oxide.
The plant purifies air by absorbing toxins through the leaves and producing pure oxygen. Also known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue or Snake plant, the Sansevieria is an ideal bedroom plant. Most other plants release carbon dioxide at night, in the absence of photosynthesis, the Sansevieria continues to produce oxygen.
I have several snake plants at home, but the cylindrical variety is one of my absolute favorites!
2) Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is well known for it’s healing ability. The gel inside of it’s leaves can help relieve and heal cuts and burns. Aloe Vera however, is also a great plant to improve your indoor air quality! It is easy to grow and helps to keep your home free of benzene, a harmful chemical found in paint and certain chemical cleaners.
3) Boston Fern
Ferns have been a traditional houseplant due to both the beauty of the delicate fronds and healthy benefits. Boston Ferns serve as a humidifier and can help to replenish moisture in the air which is perfect if you suffer from dry skin during the winter. The Ferns also help to eliminate traces of formaldehyde. We love to utilize them in hanging baskets and in pots, just be careful to provide your Boston Fern with direct sunlight and mist the leaves with water weekly.
4) English Ivy
The English Ivy plant can also absorb formaldehyde which is commonly found in some household cleaning products, furniture or carpeting treatments…. I know, this is shocking! It is a good example of why you should be vigilant about the materials that are used in your home. Keep English Ivy in bright filtered light and let it dry out some on top before watering.
5) Fiddle Leaf Fig
Fiddle leaf figs are perfect for bright living spaces. These dramatic houseplants with large sculpture leaves are like living art. Fiddle leaf figs large leaves efficiently remove unhealthy volatile organic compounds from our indoor air.
Pothos is one of our go to plants when designing interior environments. It is popular for it’s ability to tolerate lower light, lower humidity and cooler temperatures than other plants. Pothos are rated one of the best houseplants for removing all indoor air toxins. Pothos does not thrive when the soil is too moist. Best in indirect, medium sunlight but it will also tolerate very low light.
7) Areca Palm
The Areca or bamboo palm is a tropical houseplant with graceful fronds that adds much needed moisture into your interior environment, especially during winter months when we need it most! This palm is also one of the top-rated plants tested for the removal of benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde. It thrives best in direct, bright sunlight.
If you are new to caring for interior houseplants, we highly recommend visiting your local nursery or garden center for advice on the best interior house plants for your space. If you are in the Philadelphia area, we highly recommend visiting Primex Garden Center in Glenside. They have high quality plants and their staff are knowledgeable and helpful!
Thanks for joining me for this week’s wellness post. Check in next week for more tips on how to design interiors to promote wellness!