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How to Incorporate Nature Into Your Apartment

Can’t get out and enjoy nature right now? Bring nature in your home. You may not own your dwelling, but you can still find ways to bring the outdoors inside. Whether your space is large or small, gardening enhances both your health and happiness. 

Living in the middle of a city, disconnected from nature, makes it all the more important to add some green in your life. You’ll find yourself feeling better and thinking more clearly. Here, we’ll go through the main benefits and the basics of incorporating more green space into your home.  

Plants Add Humidity 

indoor plants

Apartment plants are desirable because they add a bit of humidity to the air through transpiration, releasing moisture through small pores in their leaves. Lack of humidity usually leaves you with dry skin, and dry air can cause lung irritation and dry mouth. Recent studies suggest that increasing the humidity can also lower the odds of getting a cold or sore throat. Group a few of the right plants together in a couple of rooms, and you should see an increase in humidity. Some of the best plants for adding moisture to the air include: 

  • Rubber plant 
  • Peace lily 
  • English ivy 
  • Spider plant 

Plants Clean The Air

Taking deep, cleansing breaths is great for your health and you want to take in the purest air possible. Houseplants help with that. The NASA Clean Air Study (1989) started out as research on ways to clean the air in the Space Station. It found that certain plants filtered pollutants — including benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene — out of the air. While more recent research shows plants may not work as well outside of a controlled environment, scientists agree that they are removing harmful chemicals. Here are a few of the plants recommended for scrubbing the air. 

  • Elephant ear philodendron 
  • Aloe Vera 
  • Bamboo palm 
  • Barberton daisy 

Plants Provide Privacy

If you are fortunate enough to be renting an apartment with a balcony, you have a great opportunity for using plants to create a private outdoor space where you can relax in peace. You can even help create habitat for birds and beneficial insects in your urban environment, which is always sorely needed.

By using planters to your advantage, you can use a range of options to make your balcony private. You can use a short planter and fill it will tall plants like bamboo or a finished hedge, or you can use a tall planter and fill the top space with shorter plants or evergreen mini hedges. You can find a wide range of pre-made planters online, or you can DIY it using repurposed pallets or cedar planks. Just make sure your planter has ample drainage holes and be faithful about watering and fertilizing your privacy screen.

Plants Boost Mental Health 

nature apartment

Houseplants may have an even bigger impact on our mental health. Working near greenery helps with concentration and memory. Flowers can boost the feeling of happiness through their appearance and scent. Keeping them in your home makes you less stressed and more relaxed. And whether you’re growing your plants out on a balcony or indoors, they need sunlight. As the plants are exposed, so are you. Sunlight increases our brain’s release of serotonin, the hormone responsible for boosting good moods and helping you feel calm and focused. 

All plants in your apartment garden have the power to positively impact your mental health, but you may want to give careful consideration to a money tree plantWhile money doesn’t grow on treeslegend has it that carefully tending to this particular green pal brings positive energy, good luck and prosperity! It’s a great way to spruce up your apartment. 

apartment flowers

Now that you know the why, let’s talk about the how. Apartment living often comes without a yard or a large space to turn into a garden. However, you can still get your hands in the dirt by bringing nature inside. 

Use Native Plants 

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, growing plants and flowers in pots is simple. Turn them into conversation pieces by choosing native plants. These flowers and shrubs have adapted to your area’s climate over many thousands of years. They typically require less water and fertilizer. Choosing native plants celebrates the heritage of the region. Not sure where to start? The National Wildlife Federation has an easy-to-use website where you simply type in your ZIP code and suggestions pop up, along with pictures. Find out which natives are best for apartment gardening from your local garden center 

Plant an Indoor Herb Garden 

herb garden

Limited indoor space practically screams for an herb garden. It’s a bit more challenging than growing potted plants, but extremely satisfying. You can grow herbs indoors year-round or put them on your terrace or patio during the warmer months. Perennial herbs, such as mint, thyme and sage, flourish when you’re able to set them outside. Growing herbs in your apartment has many benefits, among which their homey fragrance and aesthetically pleasing appearance, as well as a constant supply of herbs to season your meals. The herbs that grow best in an apartment garden include: 

  • Chives 
  • Rosemary 
  • Oregano 
  • Parsley 
  • Thyme 

Create Living Wall Art 

A distinctive way to Incorporate nature into your apartment is by adding living wall art. Also known as a vertical gardenthis assembly of wall-mounted plants is a perfect trend for smaller apartments, with plants that grow up instead of spreading out. Think “Jack and the Beanstalk,” only classier. To create your living wall, you’ll need a support structure like a trellis, chicken wire or planters secured to the wall. Vertical gardens can get heavy, so make sure your wall has enough support. Be sure to build this green wall somewhere where it can get direct sunlight.

There’s another aspect you need to consider: how you’re going to get water and nutrients to the plants. Living wall art can be made of greenery such as ivy and pothos, flowers including roses, wisteria and morning glory, and edible plants like kiwi, peas and tomatoes. 

Use a Jungle Theme 

jungle room design

Elvis Presley knew what he was doing when he created the Jungle Room at Graceland, back in the mid ’60s. That trend is still en vogue, and it’s a great way to bring nature into your apartment if plants aren’t an option. Most people don’t decorate their entire apartment in this theme but, rather, choose a room or two. Maybe a bedroom or a hallway.

You still have the option of adding a few plants, but the right patterns and materials can create the same jungle effect. Think bamboo furniture, woven floor mats and colorful jungle wallpaper, oeven a painted mural on one wall. Mix and match green with more subdued tones of tan and brown. Throw in animal ceramics like giraffes, apes or lions. Creating a jungle-themed room is different for everyone. You can go as big or as toned-down as you like. It’s a great way to bring nature into your apartment if you don’t have the time or the desire to have an apartment garden.

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Mihaela Buzec
Mihaela Buzec is a writer and online content developer for RentCafe. She covers topics about everything related to the renting lifestyle, from decorating and interior design to finding the right apartment, frugal living, money saving advice, and more. She dives deep into topics of interest, writing well-researched comprehensive guides on subjects such as renting with pets, saving on utilities, or avoiding rental scams to help renters stay informed and live smart. Mihaela is a versatile writer whose work was also published on many blogs and websites in a variety of industries: real estate, design, lifestyle, college life, and personal finance. Mihaela holds a BA in English and German Language and Literature, an MA in Current Linguistics, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in neurolinguistics. With a background in academic writing, she is a passionate reader, writer, and researcher, looking to always expand her knowledge. You can get in touch with Mihaela at mihaela.buzec@yardi.com.

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