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Decorating indoors with plants | BusinessMirror

Decorating indoors with plants | BusinessMirror


By Melissa Rayworth / The Associated Press

FROM kitchen herb gardens to miniature indoor trees, interior designers are increasingly bringing plants into their home design projects.

Plants are
“the one little piece that people always forget will finish a room,” says
Massachusetts-based designer Kristina Crestin. They make a space feel complete
but not over-accessorized, she says, and can solve a range of design
challenges.

New York
designer Young Huh agrees: A miniature tree can be the perfect addition where
you need something tall, she says, and a flowering plant can bring a burst of
color to a tabletop. Plants also help clean the air, boost oxygen levels, and
bring a welcome sense of natural unpredictability into otherwise meticulous,
modern spaces.

Which plants
are popular and what are the best ways to decorate with them?

Three
designers—Crestin, Huh and New York-based Lindsey Coral Harper—offer their
thoughts:

FROM DELICATE TO BOLD

FOR several years running, the “it plant”
among designers has been the fiddlefig tree (also called a “fiddlefig fern”).
Their trunks are tall and graceful, with large glossy leaves creating a burst
of rich, green color that blends with just about any décor. Fiddlefigs are
beautiful and relatively easy to care for, Crestin says, so their trendiness
shouldn’t be a reason to avoid one.

For something
more “simple and sophisticated,” Harper recommends “any type of boxwood or
topiary. There are so many options here, and such a range of shapes and sizes,”
she says. “They also make wonderful hostess gifts.”

Another
favorite: the staghorn fern, which has strong, dramatic leaves that almost look
like a sculpture. “Staghorn ferns are really interesting and very masculine to
me,” Harper says, and they look great “in a more rustic setting.”

If you’re
seeking something delicate, Huh recommends a maidenhair fern. Upkeep is
minimal, she says (just “keep them misted and moist”), and the intricate leaves
look almost as pretty as a flowering plant. Another popular choice: miniature
olive trees. “They’re a sign of peace and fruitfulness,” Huh says, and look
gorgeous in a ceramic pot on a table.

LOCATION, LOCATION

IT’S popular right now to hang planters on
walls, or put up hanging terrariums with succulents or “air plants” inside,
says Huh. These low-maintenance plants only need to be misted, rather than
watered, and “they stay alive forever,” she says. “I had this air plant that
stayed alive for so long, my kids named him.”

The challenge
with wall-hung plants is that repeated misting may damage your walls, Crestin
points out. So you may prefer to put those same kinds of plants in low-slung
pots on a coffee table or other surface. Don’t leave one plant sitting or
hanging all alone. One plant all by itself can look a bit sad and lonely, so
add several plants or place a single large one near a piece of furniture.

“Don’t put a
tree in the corner to fill a space,” Huh says. “It’s gonna look a little sad.
Put a tree in a corner if it relates to something, like a chair.”

Crestin
agrees: “I believe in repetition,” she says. For a recent design project, she
added three items to one room—are fern in a low-slung bowl on a coffee table, a
beautiful ceramic cup holding a delicate, mossy plant, and then a larger fern
in another bowl.

Try to create
“a triangle of green,” she says, balancing one plant with another.

KITCHENS AND BATHS

HUH says many homeowners are buying
wall-mounted growing systems or adding kitchen shelves specifically for potted
herbs, berries and other plants grown for consumption.

She’s also
pleased to see plants being used in bathroom decorating: “My father used to
grow orchids in the bathroom because they got moisture every day,” Huh says.
“It’s a great place for ferns that need to be misted.”

BRANCHES AND FLOWERS

THESE designers also suggest looking at
what’s blooming outside your home and occasionally bringing it inside.

“I just got
back from a job in Florida, and it was so easy to go outside and clip a few
palms,” Harper says. “Throw them in a vase and, voila!”

Cut flowers
are another option for bringing nature indoors. “I like to buy fresh flowers on
Sundays when I’m having family dinner,” Huh says.

Though they
may only last a few days, “that’s what makes flowers so special,” she says.
“That ephemeral quality is what makes us appreciate their beauty.”

KNOW YOUR SPACE AND HABITS

EVEN if you love something in a magazine or
while shopping at a nursery, consider your particular space and habits. “Think
about how much sunlight, love and attention your plants might need,” Harper
says. “Make sure you have plants in the appropriate spot in your home so they
can grow and prosper.”

Personally, she says, “I prefer something with a little less mess and upkeep.”

Image Credits: AP

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