Bringing plants into our homes has made a huge comeback and offers character, vibrancy and colour to our indoor living environments. Not only do plants look visually appealing, they also provide many health benefits.
Humans are naturally drawn to nature. It makes us feel good. “Biophilia’ is a term used to describe our natural desire to interact or be closely connected with all forms of life in nature, so it makes perfect sense to add healthy, living plants to our homes.
Many builders, architects and designers are now opting for a concept known as biophilic design to help us more closely connect with nature by bringing more natural elements inside our buildings where we work and live. Plants play a very important role in our lives for many reasons.
Here are some of the ways bringing plants indoors can assist us:
The breathing process involves inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide. Plants are superstars in filtering the indoor air we breathe by providing us with the oxygen and absorbing the carbon dioxide.. Photosynthesis for most plants ceases at night. However plants such as the succulent, orchid and some species of bromeliads continue their photosynthesis during the night. For example, a Sansevieria (more affectionately known as Mother in Law’s Tongue or Snake Plant) is a very beneficial plant for our bedroom, for its oxygen providing benefits at night.
Indoor plants have a great ability to improve the indoor air humidty through their transpiration process. During this process, they absorb water through their roots, which then travels through the stems and leaves. Water evaporates from the leaves and into the surrounding air, increasing the indoor humidity.
Studies at the Agricultural University of Norway showed that having indoor plants can lower the risk of dry, sore throats, coughs and even dry skin.
Often, indoor air can be more polluted than the outside air and because most of us spend a considerable amount of our time indoors, we can suffer with Sick Building Syndrome if certain measures aren’t in place. Apart from good ventilation, it is highly beneficial to introduce some living greenery to our indoor environment to help improve air quality.
A NASA Clean Air Study reports that plants remove harmful toxins known as VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) from the indoor air we breathe. These dangerous toxins include Trichloroethylene, Formaldehyde, Xylene, Benzene and Ammonia, which can cause some major health concerns for humans over long term exposure. These toxins are found in everyday products such as paints, plastics, dyes, printers, cleaners and detergents.
The good news is that having some indoor plants around your home can greatly assist in improving the indoor air quality. The NASA study concluded certain plants, for example Spider Plant, Aglaonema, Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily), Boston Fern, Bamboo Pal, Devil’s Ivy, Rhapis, Happy Plant and Sansevieria (Mother in Law’s Tongue) were all considered to be the most suitable.
The study showed that plants with a high transpiration process could remove more than 85% of indoor air pollutants within 24 hours.
Scientists and experts have long publicised the benefits of having plants inside our homes. Apart from purify the air as mentioned above, plants also help to improve the indoor air humidity, providing huge benefits to the overall health and wellbeing of the occupants in your home. Living with some healthy indoor plant friends can help us to experience reduced feelings of anxiety and depression and help us to sleep better.
While many of us appreciate the visual beauty of healthy living plants inside our homes, plants can also have a pretty dramatic effect on the way we feel and act. Simply being able to view nature inside our homes helps us to improve our mood, sharpen our focus and increase our productivity.
Furthermore, plants are surprisingly effective at improving indoor acoustics. Rather than reflecting sound, their flexible leaves can deflect and absorb sound. The more leaf area present, the more sound absorption takes place, thus assisting with our distraction and concentration levels.