Given the current climatic conditions, there is no denying the fact that fresh, pure air is the greatest asset we can have. While most of us associate air pollution with the outdoors, it is important to note that the air inside our homes is not devoid of pollutants either. It is contaminated by elements like paints, cleaning liquids, detergents etc. Very often since the same air is being circulated via air condition ducts, it is low on oxygen and moisture. It is further polluted by pollen, bacteria, moulds, and outdoor air contaminants.
Add a world of good
One of the best and most effective ways to improve air quality in homes is to have indoor plants that act as natural air purifiers.
“Plants are vital to human life, they convert the carbon dioxide into fresh oxygen, and also remove toxins from the air we breathe. Indoor plants or house plants, as they are called, also have health benefits. They can help bring down stress levels by calming the nervous system, and can also make one feel happier and energetic,” says Hemil Parikh, founder, Elysium Abodes LLP.
Besides rendering the air around them less toxic by reducing allergens, indoor plants also accentuate the aesthetics of any space. Creating green spaces within your living rooms, bedrooms, entryways and kitchen platform will add instant refreshing vibes to your place. Whether you hang a beautiful glass terrarium on the window sill or simply place a planter with fresh flowers or small succulents on the kitchen platform or dining table, it instantly elevates the beauty of the space.
“Plants are a must-have in any interior decorator’s arsenal; they look good and feel good, and round off the décor in a very satisfying way. By arranging potted plants at varying heights, in quirky and fun holders, you will get a unique aesthetic that is hard to beat. Adding some plants to a bookshelf, bathroom countertop, dining table or mantelpiece brings a whole new vibrancy to these spaces,” says Basob Majumdar, VP — Design, HomeLane.
There are several plants that not only flourish indoors but also work wonders for indoor air quality. Zebra plant, areca palm, rubber plant, aloe vera, peace lily, snake plant and pothos are just some of them. “Boston fern with feathery ferns has a great ability to remove formaldehyde from the air. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’) has ribbed, glossy green leaves which grow on stiff stalks that produce a characteristic white flower. It is excellent for removing alcohols, acetone, trichloroethylene, benzene, and formaldehyde from the air. Peace Lily also has a high transpiration rate to both purify and humidify indoor air,” says Ashish Patil and Prachi Chavarkar, co-founders of ArchiLab Designs.
While reed palm and aloe vera are very popular indoor plants. Snake plant is yet another plant that is recommended for increasing the oxygen level indoors. “Also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, it increases the oxygen levels and also absorbs toxins like xylene, formaldehyde, benzene, and toluene through its leaves,” adds Majumdar.
Philodendron, dracaena, ficus, dragon tree and spider plant are also other plants that are easily maintainable in indoor spaces.
It is important to note that different plants have different requirements when it comes to sunlight and water. Plants like aloe vera and palms need adequate sunlight and hence work well if placed near a west or east-facing window. Rubber plants thrive well in low sunlight and low temperature conditions while philodendrons need to be misted regularly to keep the leaves free of dust. One needs to always ensure that there is enough water to keep the roots damp and the soil is regularly replenished with organic manure. “Keep the soil moist but not drenched, and yellow drooping leaves are a good indicator something is wrong especially after transplanting, so take caution in this regard,” adds Patil.
Given the focus on going green, there is a whole range of planters available that are sustainable as well as stylish. Jute, macramé and rattan planters lend your home an ethnic look.
“Papier mache containers are eco-friendly pots that have a wax coating which increases their life span. The beautiful pots come in vibrant rich colours and have a traditional look and feel. You can place a small container and give an ethnic touch to your interiors,” adds Parikh. Pots made from rice hulls and natural binding agents are also available, these are biodegradable and no pollutants are produced at any stage of their life cycle.