Winter Decorating with Houseplants for Health and Style
Designing news spaces and freshening existing ones is different in winter than in spring and summer. The basics of good design are always the same but our feelings about our space, the colors and patterns that we are surrounded by, are different. This is owning to changes in natural light, cooler temperatures, lower humidity, and more time spent indoors.
Depending where you live, you may feel a bit down in the winter, especially right after daylight savings when the sun sets earlier in the day. Cooler temperatures also keep us cooped up inside where we are exposed to more artificial light and dryer air.
When winter sets in, I like to add houseplants to my environment. Studies show that indoor plants:
- Add humidity to the air — this makes your space more comfortable
- Remove indoor pollutants — you’ll breathe better
- Improve your mood – they make you feel happy
Plants are also inexpensive decorative objects. Small plants in interesting pots easily become a living focal point in any room.
Large potted plants fill empty corners and add height, color, and interesting patterns to rooms. Large plants are also good place holders for when you are transitioning a space. In other words, when you aren’t ready to decorate or haven’t found the perfect piece of furniture or art for your room.
Southern Exposure Not Required
If you are concerned about growing plants because your home doesn’t receive a lot of light, you’re in luck. Tropical plants thrive in low light. In nature, they grow under a thick canopy of trees. A great resource for growing houseplants and health is How to Grow Fresh Air: 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office by B.C. Wolverton.
Plants Finish Spaces and Add Life
In this bedroom, these plants help filter the natural light making it softer and more appealing. The plants’ height add visual interest and help divide the space into a sleeping area and sitting area.
Large plants add height and visual interest to finished spaces
Think Color for the Winter
There are many plants such as delicate Paperwhites, Christmas cacti, Pointsettia, and Amarylis that bloom in the winter and are easy to care for.
Explore your local home center and bring home some green this winter- designs by nature
Decorating your second home
Now that I have an additional design studio in Arizona, I find that a lot of my new clients and neighbors own second homes. Arizona’s year-round good weather is perfect for snow birds who want to head west for sun instead of south. It’s also a great place for the younger set and families who enjoy being outdoors.
Regardless of what age group you fall in, if you have a second home, anywhere in the world, you still need to furnish it.
Home Sweeter Home
Second homes for most people are smaller than their primary residence and they serve a different purpose, usually a comfortable place to escape and relax.
Before you set out to fill your new space here are a few important elements to consider:
1. How often will you be in the home?
2. Is it for personal use or will you be renting the home part of the time?
3. Will you be entertaining a lot of visitors?
If you plan to spend a good portion of the year in your 2nd home, take extra care to buy the best quality furniture, rugs, lighting, etc. that you can afford. Many people say, “it’s only a vacation home,” and then curse the uncomfortable bed they bought on sale or the lamp that really doesn’t match or work well.
Even if you are not in your home a lot, take care to buy furnishings that are easy to care for. Products like all-weather wicker can stand a little weather abuse. Stores such as Restoration Hardware http://www.restorationhardware.com offer a nice line and they ship right to your door. You can order products from one home to be sent to another.
If you plan to rent your home, you want to take care not to furnish it with priceless antiques and family treasures. That doesn’t mean you can’t include your own personality and style. But if you love all- white carpeting and glass trinkets, you will be disappointed by the condition of your house after even the most careful guest leaves. Buy furnishings that can stand up to abuse, that means good quality beds, long-wear dark or patterned rugs, and walls with washable paint.
Beware 2nd Home Design Disasters
1. Thou shall not furnish your beautiful new home with what’s left-over in the garage or attic.
Bargain purchases and left-overs can be design gems but not if they are a hodge-podge of leftovers. Avoid thinking, “it’s only our vacation home,” mentality. Remember that you will be living in your home even if for part of the year. It should be welcoming and comfortable.
2. Though shall look out of the front door before furnishing your home.
Second homes are often in fabulous locations, such as on the waterfront, desert, or mountains. Too often homeowners bring the style of their first home to their second and then find that they don’t like the results. The furnishings founds in a traditional 4-bedroom New England Colonial will be out of place in a Spanish-style mission home on the West Coast. Remember that one of the reasons you picked your 2nd home is for its location, culture, and lifestyle. Explore your new surroundings and bring those elements you love inside. You can still mix in some favorite pieces from your first home but consider them more as odd pieces and accents rather than design anchors.
3. Thou shall relax and enjoy your new space.
Keep your 2nd home simple. No one wants to come home and then have to clean. Choose easy-care fabrics and flooring. Design your home for leisure. If that means converting an unused dining room into a media room or an unused bedroom into a craft room then go for it. Your 2nd home should be a home, and not a house. Think comfort while you design.