When I think of the natural world, my mind always turns to plants. It's almost impossible to think of organic home care and wellness without contemplating the healing power of plants.
In yoga and meditation, the idea of impermanence often comes up. All life has cycles—times of growth and flourishing and periods of dormancy, decline, and even decay. Plants offer us a visual reminder of this idea and can be such a healing and nurturing part of our homes and lives in so many ways.
Today I wanted to explore some of the spaces in our home that we may not always connect with nature. By bringing the healing power of plants to these spaces, we can boost our mental health, mindfulness, and overall wellbeing.
Plants in Your Exercise Space
One of the recent ways I'm incorporating plants into my own space is with the biophilic wall that we're building into my home yoga studio—see our inspiration for the space below. As we are working on our new home, it was essential to include the grounding and healing power of plants throughout my home, especially in the place where I practice yoga.
Of course, the primary way to add nature to your home is by including houseplants throughout your décor. Don't miss my post on caring for houseplants to reap some of the fantastic benefits of these beauties.
Plants in an exercise space are somewhat unconventional, but greenery helps us connect to the natural world. In an exercise space, plants and greenery work well because they often thrive on the humidity in the room. While plants offer minimal "air-purifying” benefits (you would need many plants to purify the air even in a small room), they provide plenty of aesthetic benefits. They also work against VOCs (volatile organic compounds), but again, it requires a lot of greenery to clear the air of toxins completely.
A crown of thorns, spider plants, or even succulents and aloe can do quite well in an exercise room. The added benefit of aloe is that it's a great plant to use on the skin. You can break off a piece of the plant and squeeze the gel onto burns or wounds to help them heal.
Plants in the Kitchen
Plants are ubiquitous in the kitchen, but we might not even think of how we use plants in this space. Obviously, first and foremost, plants are food. All of us eat a diet that is at least partially centered around plants. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, leafy greens, and even fats from nuts and plant oils are all healing, nourishing plants we encounter daily in our meals.
If we want to truly tap into the healing power of plants, heavily featuring them in our diet is a good step. Our kitchen is the spot where we nourish our bodies through food. In many ways, it is the greenest space in our home. Bring in more plants like a hydroponic herb garden or even a small citrus tree.
Photography: Jennifer Lavelle
Many of us may use natural cleaning agents derived from plants in our kitchen—and what could be safer? Choosing a plant-based cleaning product like citrus or even vinegar is a healthy alternative when working around consumable food. In addition, many plants like tea tree, orange, lemon, and cinnamon have antibacterial properties that can help disinfect surfaces.
In kitchen décor and design, I recommend incorporating natural, organic materials—a wooden butcher block, organic cotton tea towels, or a hemp throw rug to continue connecting us with the natural world. There's something very grounding and authentic about incorporating "real" non-synthetic plant-derived materials into your home’s décor and design—not to mention the added texture they bring.
Using Plants to Help Sleep and Wellness
Our bedroom is a sanctuary—our place where we can rest and relax. Natural elements fit right in by creating a calming, peaceful space. Unsurprisingly plants play a role in these rooms (whether you have a plant on the bookshelf or in the windowsill). Organic bed linens made from natural cotton or linen are plant-derived and perfect for sleep hygiene.
There are also many natural sleep remedies and aids derived from plants. Healthcare practitioners often suggest herbal preparations as gentle sleep aids due to their calming effects. Lavender is one herb that's calming and often used for rest and relaxation. If you're looking for ways to naturally scent your home (without the use of dangerous synthetic fragrances), lavender oil is a lovely, non-toxic fragrance option. Add a few drops on your pillow or bath water before bed to enjoy the soothing benefits.
Speaking of the bath, plants also play a role in that room. Many of us use plant-derived cosmetics and include plant-based beauty products in our routines. Natural products are often safer, gentler on the skin, and less allergen-inducing.
Bathroom linens like towels are typically derived from natural plant-based materials like cotton. We may include items made from water-resistant bamboo and teak in our bathroom too. A hemp or jute rug is a nice bathroom option to layer in.
To increase the nature-friendly environment in your bathroom, add a few living plants. Alocasia, monstera, and even bamboo do quite well in low light and high humidity. A hanging basket above the tub or a beautiful potted plant tucked in a corner can help make your bathroom feel even more spa-like.
The Garden, Balcony, or Porch
Of course, the yard and garden are the green spaces we often associate with our homes. But even if you don't have a yard, a small balcony or porch can provide an excellent opportunity to connect with the natural world and tap into the power of plants.
Consider creating a patio or porch garden by grouping a few pots near a door. Start with simple beginner-friendly plants from a nursery if you're new to gardening. Seedlings and sprouts are often much more manageable for first-time gardeners to grow, as opposed to growing plants from seeds. Herbs, succulents, and sedum are excellent choices that are easy to grow.
Include plants that offer health benefits and plants that are edible. There's something satisfying about harvesting some home-grown kale, parsley, or dill to use in a salad or smoothie. When we grow nourishing plants, we really tap into their healing power and connect with the cycles in our environment.
If you have a full garden or yard, be sure to create some welcoming green spaces for meditation and reflection. A small path, a few ornamental trees, and beautiful fragrant flowers can set us in a mindful mood. Don't forget to bring a few clippings inside from your outdoor space from time to time—and as the seasons change.
Look for plants with healing properties to cultivate in your outdoor spaces. Since ancient times, people have been keenly aware of the healing power of plants and botany. Plants are revered as medicine, food, and even spiritual tools in many cultures. We may often forget just how transformative nature can be, but it has proven positive effects on our mental and physical wellbeing.
Creating More Green Spaces in Your Home
When we think of creating an organic, natural, non-toxic, and safe home, we might overlook the healing power of plants, but so many materials and items we use daily were once living, growing plants. When considering the origins of the materials and products used in our home, we may realize how often we're connected to the natural world.
To bring more green to your home, incorporate living and plant-based materials into your home’s décor and design. Look for organically manufactured wood flooring, raw or solid wood furniture, and solid wood for countertops and surfaces.
Explore the world of plant-derived linens made from materials like cotton, linen, hemp, and jute. Pillows, curtains, rugs, and other decorative items are often more durable when made from these materials. Besides, there's something very grounding, calming, and authentic about using natural materials in your home. It reminds us of the living world all around us and that every item in our house has an origin and history attached to it.
Most importantly, add living plants to your home décor in every room possible. Plants offer fantastic health benefits, boost our mental health, and give us a sense of accomplishment when we nurture and care for them. In a world where we're so surrounded by synthetic materials, electronics, and hard, cold technology, plants offer a counter softness and realness that brings comfort.
Photography: Jennifer Lavelle
Add a bouquet of fresh flowers to your countertop, coffee table, or nightstand. Scent your home with plant-derived essential oils. Look for ways to add more plants to your diet too. Enjoy herbal teas, try natural beauty treatments, and connect with nature to enjoy all the healing power of plants.
What is your favorite healing plant? How do you incorporate green spaces into your life? Please share below!