Plants play a very important role in interior design – there’s no arguing that. But for most of us, they’re an afterthought, brought in after much of the other design has already been finalized. It’s like adding the finishing touches to a painting or the garnish tp your chicken cordon bleu.
Trends, however, are changing and more and more designers are placing greenery at the core of their design. They are no longer are relegated to the final stages, but are integral to their thought process. And it isn’t just because plants have the ability to enhance design or create a beautiful ambiance. There are far more compelling reasons why interior designers are giving them the center stage.
Clean & Healthy Air
The environment outside is nothing to write home about. We’re breathing in deadly toxins day in and day out, which are posing a real danger to our health. And while the air quality beyond our walls remains outside our control, we can do something about our home and office environment with the help of plants.
Plants are among the most effective purifiers known to mankind. They remove harmful compounds such as formaldehyde and benzene from the air while reducing the levels of carbon monoxide indoors by 90 percent. They also control the temperature, stabilize the humidity to between 30 and 60 percent, and reduce dust levels. Long story short, bring in some plants. At least that way you’ll be assured that the air you’re breathing indoors is pure and fresh.
Create a Focal Point
Plants have always grabbed attention, and now, designers are using them to create a focal point that draws people towards a specific corner in a room. This is generally done using large specimen plants or those with colorful flowers and foliage. Plants with interesting shapes and forms can also double as a living sculpture for the room.
In commercial places, plants can help direct foot traffic, too. For instance, if the purpose is to make people stop and look at things along the way, establishments tend to use plants of different kinds placed along a curved walkway. If, on the other hand, the aim is to get people to walk quickly – like in a busy lobby – designers use identical plants spread out in a single line.
Frame a View
Got a beautiful piece of artwork at home? Place a plant on either side of it and voila! You have a natural frame that pulls people’s attention towards the painting. You can do something similar for doorways, entrances, stairs, or windows.
But framing isn’t the only thing they do. People have used it as a screen to hide view that is not too pleasing. But plants can also conceal flaws in your home. If there’s a structural quirk you’re trying cover up or the paint is peeling off the wall in a certain area, place some plants around it and watch it go from an eyesore to a sight for sore eyes.
Change the Acoustics & Create Visual Depth
According to research, plants are known to absorb sound and reduce the amount of ambient noise in a home by reflecting and diffracting sound waves. Ficus trees, peace lily, dracaenas, and heart-leaf philodendron are effective in muffling sounds and making a space less noisy. They are especially good for rooms that have a lot of hard surfaces and not enough upholstery or furnishings.
Plants are also great for creating visual depth. People tend to feel exposed in large and uninviting spaces. By introducing plants, you are able to break the space into smaller and more intimate areas that make it look less intimidating. Plants can also lower tall ceilings by creating a visual space overhead. The heavier the canopy, the greater the effect of a ‘false ceiling’ and the cozier space tends to look.
There’s a lot more than plants do for us. They add color to an otherwise monotone setting and bring a sense of luxury to space. They aid concentration and make employees more productive. They are also known to boost feelings of calmness and create an environment that is restorative and rejuvenating. For these reasons, and lots more, designers are counting on plants as valuable accessories to their design. And we’re glad to see that plants are finally getting their due!
Image Courtesy: DeringHall, Pinterest, Afflante