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Houseplants

Houseplants help bring the outdoors in and breathe life into a space.

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­Houseplants are a great home accessory because they not only look good; they're designed to make you feel good, too. Studies have shown that not only do plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and convert it to oxygen, they also neutralize harmful chemicals like polyethylenes and formaldehydes. These chemicals are naturally occurring in many kinds of furniture, flooring and paints used in the home, and have been linked to respiratory and other illnesses. Some of the best plants for improving air quality include English ivy, bamboo, snake plants and spider plants.

Other studies have shown that plants can decrease stress, improve mood and help us to feel more creative. In a recent study, people with a plant in their office had an average blood pressure four points lower than those without plants. Another study suggested that people could generate more original ideas when they work in areas decorated with plants [source: Relf].

In a decorating sense, plants are appealing both visually and for their scents. Why waste money searching for the right artificial air freshener when plants can do the job for you naturally?

When you're choosing your plants, try to find ones that complement your décor. Ferns and vines work well with Victorian and classic themes, bold colored flowers look great with modern décor, and cactuses fit in well with Southwest or earthy designs.

If you think you're too busy to keep houseplants, think again. Try jade, rubber plants or spider plants, all of which don't require much light, frequent repotting or a great memory when it comes to watering them [source: HGTV].

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