Use plants to green up your house

Mimimalists, for whom a splash of green is all a bit too much, can introduce the look in monochrome with the Eivor curtains (€20 p/pair from Ikea).

SOME months ago a friend moving abroad asked me to take care of a few things for her, including an outsize money tree.

I’m not a fan of house plants, but this particular tree was flourishing, which in Feng Shui terms suggests an abundance of wealth.

So placing it in a corner with the appropriate south east orientation, I promptly decorated it with a Lotto ticket which yielded a win of a scratch card in the princely sum of €2.

So while my money tree lodger is not quite earning his keep in monetary terms, I’m seeing the value of having a living thing in my home which can bring texture and life to a space. It’s just in time too, as the plant-inspired look is the brand new trend for 2014.

Bathrooms especially, can accommodate a jungle look with outsize pot plants whose growing habit acts like a canopy over a bath, or to shield angles of a shower enclosure.

Smaller pot plants, often brought by well-meaning visitors, are usually placed on a window sill or wherever there’s a convenient free spot. But give more creative thought to how you display them so they become as attractive as any prized decorative objects.

When in doubt about how to style plants, or any ornaments, always revert to the rule of odd numbers, so one, three, or five and so on, lined up or clustered together. With pot plants, avoid plonking them on a chipped saucer and invest in handsome matching pots. Or fill with an indoor topiary-style plant which you can trim and shape to give an art element to your humble leafy friend.

This look is about plants being the focus of your décor. Think of green in all its varieties set against wood. Try a green kitchen worktop in Formica, the comeback material of the moment, and combine it with wooden cabinets to create the feel of something based on plants.

Rugs in the kitchen are another new trend as suddenly we’re finding those ceramic tiles that are so necessary to cleanliness at home and comfort on holiday, are just too chilly and hard. Opt for green and leafy patterns like a forest floor underfoot.

Achieving this plant-based look does not confine you strictly to green. Try going a little lateral in your planning and choose shapes of leaves, twigs and branches that give the impression of plants, but finished in other colours. Blue is a good one as there’s little of it in the plant world, so in your home interiors, it will have impact. For just a touch of the look without committing to an entire room revamp, think patterns on cushions, throws, drapery and bed linen.

Even green leafy patterned upholstery is getting a look in next season. Try introducing green napkins set against sparkling white table cloths - green tinted glassware (especially 1980s hock glasses), create height like growing plants. Instead of floral arrangements, try foliage from the garden and some evergreens set around a candle will do the trick.

* Next week we’re visiting Christmas craft fairs.


¦ For the ultimate in plant-based home interiors, the furniture of Carlow-based Sasha Sykes is a must-see. Using acrylics and resins she makes furniture embedded with natural materials: flowers, leaves; twigs; shells; ferns; mosses and shows them in a new context.


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