Lifestyle: House Hacks – Life Around The Home
In the past couple of House Hacks, we have looked at various ways of adding mood to any room, with lighting on our first week and artwork last week. Here’s another simple way to help create mood in any of your rooms.
Whether you have that elusive green thumb or not, a carefully positioned plant in a room adds character and surprisingly enough makes a dull, boring room… well, feel a little more alive. In the past, I’ve bullied most of my mates into buying plants, and they agreed once planting was in place how different their rooms felt. I’ve even managed to turn some mates into Planting Whores who can’t stop buying and tweaking them! I get the obligatory text pics flooding in, asking ‘Tynan, would this look nice in my sitting room?‘ or wherever.
So here are some tips and suggestions that will be perfect for those of you who are petrified of the responsibility of keeping anything alive in your home other than yourself.
First off, I can’t recommend enough the use of amazing artificial plants. Not only do you never have to worry about them, but they never change so always look fresh, alive and perfect in the home. The trick here is to stay away from the tacky, crappy ones you get in some stores that are practically luminous and look like they are made from that horrible toweling material… vile things! Go for simple green plant with little to no flowers for that natural look.
Ikea (yes, yes; my Mecca) has a superb range with plants available for a few euros each. The FEJKA range and FEJKA type 2 is a good place to start. At € 5/6 each, all you simply have to buy is a nice pot (plant pots start from 40 cents in Ikea and work upwards). These are ideal for worktops, shelves, bathrooms… pretty much anywhere, and the more you have the better. I have several of these scattered around my home.
For the larger variety of artificial plants, something like this works in the corner of a room. For only €15, it’s a nice piece and looks real. Again, the trick here is to get a nice pot, and you can even put soil in and around the plant to make it look even more real. Don’t be afraid to invest in a few of these and scatter them around. What’s great about these plants is they work both indoors and outdoors, so if you have a patio area and don’t want to have to garden, well, shove a few of these in pots and Bob’s your uncle. Instant life with no maintenance.
I’m also a big fan of real plants. It really doesn’t have to be a scary thing; these days, keeping plants is made as simple as possible for you. You can even use something like the Nektarin range of self-watering pots, so that fear of over-watering or forgetting to water your plants is gone! These pots are available in a range of colors and sizes. They have water tanks built into the base, so once a month or when the indicator tells you it’s empty, you top it up using the funnel, and it automatically waters the plant. Genius, eh? They start at €6. I find Ikea is definitely the cheapest place to get them.
This opens up a world of different size plants that you can get. Don’t be afraid to get large, tall plants for your home too; with some lighting behind them they can look especially awesome at night.
With real plants, you pretty much just pick and choose what you like. It’s all down to personal taste. Don’t be scared of smaller plants either, even if you can’t get a self watering pot; easiest rule to remember is once a week, half a pint of water will be sufficient for most small to medium plants. In the winter-time, this probably could be done every two weeks, but if it is a practically warm time, you may have to increase this to twice a week. Once the soil isn’t too wet or dry – just damp to the feel – that’s the ideal amount. People tend to over-water plants and that’s why they die. Stick to this rule, and you should be fine.
So get out there, get some plants and add some life to you home! It’s the simplest way to add character to a room, and you will instantly notice a difference.