7 Surprising Benefits of Decorating With Houseplants

A money tree sits on a table in a white kitchen.

 The Spruce / Cori Sears

Decorating with houseplants, also known as “interior landscaping,” is becoming increasingly popular and it turns out that houseplants do more than just add a pop of greenery to a room—they provide a range of physical and mental benefits, too. Biophilia, a term popularized in the 1980's by biologist Edward Wilson, refers to the innate tendency of human beings to seek out connections with nature and other living things as a result of evolution. According to this philosophy, humans are more disconnected from nature than ever before, which may help to explain the increasing popularity of decorating with and caring for houseplants.

While the benefits of being exposed to nature are well known, it turns out that just like outdoor plants, houseplants can have positive effects on our air quality, our mood, and even our mental health. If you are thinking about getting into the world of houseplants, read on for the top benefits of decorating your home with them.

Three plants sit on a wooden dresser in front of a round mirror.
 The Spruce / Cori Sears

Plants Purify the Air

Plants are excellent at removing toxins from the air and subsequently improving air quality. Studies by NASA have found that plants can remove over 80 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) every 24 hours. VOCs are chemical compounds that can be found in many household items (like paint, carpet, toys, and more) that evaporate and compromise air quality, which can pose health risks to inhabitants. Common VOCs include formaldehyde, acetone, ethanol, butanol, and benzene, all of which can be found in modern, climate-controlled buildings. One large plant, or two smaller plants, per 100 square feet is recommended for noticeably improving air quality.

They Help to Improve Mood

Plants can also positively impact your mood. A significant body of research has demonstrated a link between improved mood and the presence of plants. One study, in particular, found that active interaction with plants, and even potting soil, can help to reduce daily stress. This is thanks to tiny microbes, nicknamed "outdoorphins," that are present in plants and soil that act as natural antidepressants.

Plants Boost Productivity

Research has shown that houseplants help to boost productivity by as much as 70 percent, which has made interior landscaping extremely popular in workplace settings. Employees in offices decorated with plants have been found to take fewer sick days and score higher on general work satisfaction surveys. Similarly, a study done in England found that when classrooms were decorated with plants students in lectures showed greater levels of attentiveness and attendance than in classrooms without plants.

They Help Your Mental Health

Plant therapy isn’t just a buzz-word—it’s a real thing. In fact, research has shown that the absence of plants in our lives is linked to increased stress, anxiety, and even depression. Alternatively, spending time in spaces with lots of plants can have a therapeutic effect and lead to feelings of calmness and reduced stress. Caring for houseplants has also been shown to help reduce feelings of loneliness and depression and instill a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

They Reduce Background Noise

Besides their effects on our mental and physical well-being, houseplants have some tangible benefits as well including noise reduction. If you live in a noisy apartment building or next to a busy road, decorating your home with plants may be the answer! Plants reduce background noise through sound absorption, which occurs thanks to their dynamic surface area. Several factors that influence the effectiveness of plants for noise reduction include; the number of plants, the size of the plants, the density of the foliage, and the surface area of the plants.

Plants Increase Humidity and Regulate Temperature

While it is well known that outdoor plants can help to regulate the temperature in your home by providing shade, houseplants can actually help to regulate the temperature in your home as well. Through photosynthesis, plants emit moisture into the air, which can help to both cool and warm a room depending on the temperature. In a cold room, added humidity makes the air feel warmer because moist air holds more heat whereas, in a warm room, studies have found that adding plants can reduce the temperature by up to 10 degrees. Keeping the leaves of your houseplants clean and free of dust is important to ensure that they can photosynthesize properly and continue to release moisture into the air.

They Make Great Decor

An important note that should not be forgotten - houseplants look great and are a budget-friendly home decor option! Plants are like living art and bring natural character to any space, and there are endless creative possibilities when it comes to decorating with plants. Adding houseplants to almost any room in your home can make the room appear bigger, warmer, and more inviting.