Green Plants to Combat Winter Blues

Tired of the gray already?

Although the grass is greener on the other side of winter, you can get a jump on Mother Nature (MoNa) by incorporating houseplants into your home. Whether you choose ferns, orchids or just a vase of lucky bamboo, plants will add a dash of spring to your home and clean the air for good measure. Try the following:

Create your own sunroom
Display like items together for maximum impact—it’s a cardinal rule of design and even truer for houseplants. The North Shore is filled with every kind of housing stock from sprawling estates to multi-unit brick apartment buildings, many of which have spacious sun porches that make ideal plant sanctuaries. If you don’t have a separate room for plants, consider grouping a variety of plants together in front of a sunny window. You’ll never need to hit the oxygen bar again.

Go for bold!
Plants are key elements in many of interior designer George Lowell Arduser’s projects, and he uses them to bold effect in his apartment on Chicago’s north side. “I use plants in my interiors because of the diversity of options from cactus to flowering houseplants,” says Arduser, who has incorporated many plants, including orchids, bonsai trees and a large floor cactus he displays atop a little used dining table. “The large-scale plant I have on my dining table was a whim purchase, but I think it works in my space as it adds drama, color and texture. The scale also helps make an uninteresting table and area into a focal point.”

Make your own terrarium
Creating a terrarium is like decorating a miniature room. Jars, old aquariums and even clear soda bottles make excellent specimens. It’s good fun for adults and kids alike.

Once you’ve selected a container, spread a layer of stones evenly on the bottom so that excess water has a place to drain. Then comes the fun part: wandering around the humid greenhouse at your favorite nursery to select your terrarium’s décor: plants, moss and any small trinkets that you add just for fun.

Jason Kriegler, who owns advertising and brand management company Kriegler26, had little interest in incorporating plants into his bright, contemporary rehabbed A-frame cottage in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, but he recently had a change of heart. “I’ve started incorporating more sculptural plants that have a modern aesthetic—jade, cactus and aloe,” the designer says. So choose what you’re naturally drawn to, and remember: there are plants to suit any kind of décor.