Decorating with nature

Kitchens and bathrooms are almost always designed with a lot of geometric design lines and hard features, but with the use of cleverly placed potted plants, they can be quickly and easily transformed into softer and more inviting places in your home.
In the kitchen
In most homes, the kitchen is the hub of family activity and it can be made brighter and cosier with the addition of some potted houseplants. It does not really matter how large and airy, or how small and dark a kitchen is – all you need to do is to choose plants to match the room’s conditions. Most kitchens have a sink that faces a window, with a tiled windowsill – this is one of the many ideal positions for pot plants.
Planting a selection of herbs in the kitchen can serve a dual purpose – while beautifying the space, it also places the herbs within easy reach of the chef. With enough light, most herbs grow well inside the home – basil, oregano, mint, parsley and rosemary are a few of the obvious choices. The herbs can be planted in a number of small pots or they can even be planted together in a long narrow planter that stands on the windowsill.
When choosing plants for the kitchen, it is important to remember that it can get very humid at times, and that the air can become oily from cooking. The grease will get all over the plant and slowly start smothering it. As such, every once in a while, it is advisable to take the pot plants outside and wash them down with water to keep them clear of grease. Also, try to place the plants as far away from the oven and hob as possible, as exposure to extreme heat will eventually kill any plant.
Tough, glossy-leaved plants tend to survive better in the kitchen, than those with softer delicate foliage. Informal kitchens, especially those with a country feel to them, look best with houseplants that bear bright blooms, such as geraniums and violets. On the other hand, sleek contemporary kitchens would be best suited by including exotic-looking plants, such as orchids for example.
In the bathroom
The kitchen is not the only room that boasts a high level of humidity – in fact, the most humid room in the home is the bathroom and for this reason, it is the perfect location for planting houseplants that would flourish in a warm and wet tropical climate. Because of the extra moisture, tropical, relatively low-light plants will thrive in this space.
The hard lines created by the inclusion of tiles in most bathrooms can be dramatically softened by the addition of plants, which will no doubt make the space far more welcoming and relaxing. Bathrooms have many suitable locations for plants. Depending on the size of the ledge around your bath, this could be an ideal place for potted plants.  The windowsill or places near to the bathroom window is another obvious location. One can even use hanging containers, hung from the ceiling, to add height to the bathroom composition and create a lush tropical look.

The biggest challenge with planting in the bathroom is the availability of enough light. Most indoor plants thrive in bright airy rooms and most bathrooms tend to be just the opposite. If your bathroom is very dim, you either have to choose plants that do not need a lot of light or simply cut away growth from outside the window or remove any window dressing that may be stopping the light from getting in. If the bathroom is very small, you can curb plant growth by only fertilising the pots lightly during the summer months. – Antonella Desi

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