Plants instantly transform a room. Whether it’s a few cute succulents on your windowsill or an areca palm in an otherwise bland, empty living room corner — they elevate your space and add liveliness to it. You may be aware that plants absorb sound and provide us with clean air by turning carbon dioxide into oxygen. But did you know that they can also clean the air of harmful pollutants? A NASA study found that certain houseplants are capable of filtering volatile organic compounds, also known as VOCs out of the air we breathe.
What are VOCs?
Volatile organic compounds are harmful gases that are emitted into the air by chemicals and toxins. While most VOCs occur naturally and are even produced by humans and animals, overexposure can be detrimental to your health. The most common VOCs that you will encounter in your home are:
- Benzene can be found in: glues, gasoline, detergents and furniture wax
- Trichloroethylene (TCE) can be found in: cleaners, paint removers and adhesives
- Xylene can be found in: automobile exhaust, cigarette smoke, paint and varnish
- Formaldehyde can be found in: cosmetics, manufactured wood, cigarette smoke and permanent press fabric (like curtains and drapes)
- Ammonia can be found in: fertilizers, industrial and window cleaners
Luckily, it’s fairly easy to reduce the amount of VOCs in your home. Opening your windows once or twice per day, vacuuming as well as dusting on a regular basis and switching to VOC free cleaners (or cleaners with the label “low VOC”) can already make a big difference. One of the easiest ways to improve the air quality in your home is to add (more) plants to your living space!
How Indoor Plants Keep The Air Clean
Two plants per 100 square feet are a great start to reduce the amount of pollutants in the air. One of the best natural air purifiers is the peace lily. This pretty plant significantly reduced the amount of VOCs it was exposed to in the NASA study. A peace lily is the perfect plant to decorate a bathroom with since it loves a humid environment and can survive with little to no natural light. If you want it to bloom, you can put your peace lily in a spot where it can catch some indirect sunlight.
For a small bedroom, succulents like aloe vera are amazing additions. This plant does not only filter toxins out of the air but is also an amazing natural pain reliever! The gel from the inside of the leaves can ease the pain of a sunburn and speed up your skin’s healing process. Succulents fit in almost every space and look pretty on a window sill or next to your favorite books on a shelf. If you don’t like overcrowding the little space you have, you can also hang an air plant from the ceiling in a macrame hanger. This decorative boho piece will transform your bedroom into an urban jungle that you’ll love to escape to at night.
To boost your focus in a home office or study room, you can add a spider plant or areca palm to your space. Both of these plants are super easy to maintain and won’t distract you from getting your work done. Plants can actually reduce your stress level and boost your happiness so they’re the perfect addition to a home office.
An empty corner in your living room will instantly come to life with a couple of plants. Opt for a larger indoor tree like the weeping fig and add dimension with a snake plant in front of it. Try putting your plants in different style planters, it will make your plant corner look even more interesting.
If you want to improve the air quality in your home, check out this pretty flowchart FTD created to find out which houseplant fits your lifestyle and level of green thumb best. You can learn more about the different VOCs, the best air purifying plants and how to style your home with them from the visual below.