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Interior Designer, Licensed Therapist & SoCal mama of three. Welcome to the blog!  I hope it brings you inspiration to create a life (and home) you really love.


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How to cheer yourself up with plants

April 17, 2020

It’s the end of week 4 for shelter in place and I’m growing a bit restless staying inside. How about you? Lately, the weather has been rainy, cold and wet. Luckily, today I’m writing in my backyard with the sun shining, birds chirping and a light breeze blowing through my hair.  I realized that my […]

It’s the end of week 4 for shelter in place and I’m growing a bit restless staying inside. How about you?

Lately, the weather has been rainy, cold and wet. Luckily, today I’m writing in my backyard with the sun shining, birds chirping and a light breeze blowing through my hair. 

I realized that my recent surge of adding plant babies to my home was a very visceral reaction to COVID-19 and staying at home 24/7. The Sill’s tagline, “plants make people happy”, is absolutely 100% true!

If you haven’t thought about plants or a new plant parent, I wanted to give you essential information on how to raise them successfully. 

bacopa garden teak bench French garden lavender

Here’s how you can cheer yourself up with plants!

Plant Benefits

Before we dive into specific plants, here is an overview of why they are beneficial.

  1. They release clean air. As part of the photosynthesis process, plants release oxygen. A plant is the best and most affordable air purifier around!
  2. Bad mood buster! A 2007 study found a bacterium in soil called Mycobacterium vaccae triggers the release of serotonin, which lifts mood and reduces anxiety.
  3. Work off that banana bread you ate. Tending to plants and gardening burns calories! According to Harvard Medical School, just a half-hour of general gardening activities burns 135 calories for a 125-pound person.

Designing Your Home With Plants – Find the WHY

Use the Anita Yokota Methodin finding your WHY for any space you tackle. If it is your WFH office, think about what you want out of this space. Do you want to be more productive so you can boost your self-esteem? Do you want to make more income through your small business to care for your family’s needs? 

aromatherapy plants wfh desk wall grid

Once you have identified your WHY and start designing, strategically place plants that are appropriate for that space. In order for your plant to thrive, pick plants that will be conducive to space you are designing.

If your WFH desk has low light, pick plants that are easy like a Pothos. They don’t need much light.

pothos plants office wfh desk

Image Credit: livforinteriors.co.uk

Or if you are busy but really want something green on your fireplace mantel or open shelving, choose plants that do not need as much watering. Zz plants and Snake plants are both easy like that!


How to Create the Perfect Bedroom Plant Shelf // Snake Plant Laurentii, The Sill ($52)

Image Credit: The Sill

ZZ Plant Watering Guide (Zamioculcas Zamiifolia)

Image Credit: The Smart Room

On the other hand, if there is a plant that you absolutely love and requires more attention such as a Monstera, Fiddle leaf fig or a Calathea, then choose a spot that you frequent in your home.

monstera books window apartment

Image Credit:Hibiscus Room

Make sure you are committed to its growth because this is a relationship! Investing in any relationship benefits our mental health and mood. But it does take time and commitment. 

3 ways to use plants for interior design

  1. Plants act as the BEST fillers. What do I mean by fillers? When you have a gap or space that just looks empty or sad. Place a plant there! It is the most instantaneous solution that is NO-FAIL. 
  2. Stools and benches and plants are best friends. There are certain couples or families that just belong to each other. Stools and benches crave plants to be at their corner leg for some life and visual interest. 
  3. Plants and shelves are another power couple. Once you place a plant on a shelfie, our brains instantly shoot serotonin and dopamine to our bodies and we FEEL SO HAPPY! Didn’t notice that before? Go place a plant on a shelf. Any shelf. Notice how you feel! Do you feel a surge of brain and mood stimulation? I’ll bet you did. 

Plant Perspective

This week I had the incredible opportunity to interview Hilton Carter on my weekly live IG Home Therapy session on using plants in your home. I can’t tell you how elated I was to talk to him! He is the expert plant doctor with SO much experience and a beautiful plant design eye. 

Talking Wild Interiors with Hilton Carter + Adelyn Duchala - Terrain

His new book Wild Interiors is out and you MUST add this to your book collection! You can find his book everywhere books are sold! He urged us to find a local bookstore that carries this book in support of small businesses. I am totally aligned with that!

My biggest takeaway from Hilton is that it’s not just enough to buy a plant and put it on your desk or shelf. 

It’s the act of caring for it, paying attention to it that develops a relationship. And in that relationship, something inside of us grows as well. 

wfh desk plants Scandinavian boho design

For me personally, I find myself more empathic and have an increased sense of renewal when I tend to a plant. My thoughts are much more at the moment and I’m keenly aware of my environment. 

The wonderful thing about this is that I carry that feeling into the relationships around me.

west elm monstera living room corner

The positive loop I mention often occurs here. My mind intends to care for the plant. The message to my brain is good vibes with hits of Dopamine. That encourages me to feel great and act on it again. The positive behavior reinforces my good feelings and tells my brain this is a good thing and the motivation to repeat this loop is high. 

Secret Garden Plants

Since we are chatting plants, many of you have asked what plants I used for the secret garden. Duh, of course you want to know! 

secret garden side yard DIY bench

Here is a comprehensive list:

  1. Grecian Plant 
  2. Lavender
  3. Rosemary
  4. Clematis vine
  5. Creeping Fig Vine
  6. Silver Sheen Pittosporum Tenuifolium
  7. Olive Tree
  8. Australian Brush Cherry Topiary 
  9. Rockrose 
  10. Bacopa White and Purple

If you are experiencing low mood, listlessness, mild loss of interest in things, irritability, frustration due to staying at home, I encourage you to plant seedlings in an egg crate, order some plants for your WFH area and get Hilton Carter’s new book to invigorate your senses! Plant therapy is seriously a great way to balance your mood and re-align your mindset.

fairy garden

Even Natalie was excited to watch my Home Therapysession with him. I think we have a budding plant girl over here. Did you know she talks to our plants every day? The other day when a fiddle leaf plant’s leaf fell, she told it, “it’s ok honey, look at the baby leaf growing on top!”

It was the cutest thing. 

pothos secret garden lumbar pillow teak furniture
I hope you are hanging in just like me. Take it moment by moment, find a way to get some vitamin D and add a plant to your daily routine. 

If you haven’t already, subscribe to my weekly emails so you get exclusive downloadables such as this week’s Plant Secrets to Happiness! Click the link here.


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