5 Ways Indoor Plants improve your health at home

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it seems a lush monstera or fabulous fiddle leaf fig could do just as well to have you feeling happy and healthy in your home.

We love the way indoor plants look in our homes. Their glossy green leaves do wonders to brighten up even the dullest of spaces, and that’s reason enough to fill any corner with as many pots as possible.

But indoor plants do a whole lot more for your home than up the Instagrammable factor; greenery in the home can bring about all sorts of health benefits.

“We have an innate desire, even if watered down, to connect with nature,” says Gavin Cole, psychology and horticulture academic at ACS Distance Education.

indoor plant pots
Greenery makes the world go round, and looks good in the process. Picture: Leaf Supply

“When we are able to do this, we feel better, are healthier, and lead more productive lives.”

Here, Gavin talks us through five of the many ways plants can improve your health and happiness in the home.

Lower stress levels
There’s a reason why you’d typically find lush palms inside day spas. Prior studies have indicated that plants in our home can actually help us to recover from stress and fatigue.

Gavin says: “Having greenery around us has been linked with lowered blood pressure and blood toxin levels, enhanced cognitive performance and memory, as well as recovery from stress-related health complaints.

“Natural environments are seen as restorative. That is, they allow people to change to more positive cognitive, emotional and behavioural states.”

watering plants
Gavin says the act of taking care of plants can improve fine motor skills, increase muscle strength and tone, and improve coordination. Picture: Leaf Supply

Easy breathing
Indoor plants are natural air filters, and have the wondrous ability to filter toxins out of the air like those found in cooking fumes, wall paints and nail polish. They also filter out nasty chemicals from the outdoors, like carbon monoxide from car fumes and gases released by industry.

And while reducing the amount of carbon monoxide, they also produce fresh oxygen for us to breathe. Isn’t that nice?

In addition to these benefits, plants are also helpful in an asthmatic household as they can remove dust particles from the air we breathe.

“Plants trap larger airborne particles of dust in their leaf hairs to prevent the dust from entering their pores. This particular dust is often linked to all sorts of respiratory diseases, so in this way, plants act as natural air filters,” says Gavin.

air quality home
Plants act as natural air filters to help you lived a more wholesome life at home. Picture: Ross Campbell

Improved sleep
Tossing and turning? Why not try popping a pot plant in your bedroom?

“The mere presence of plants has a calming effect which helps to lower anxiety symptoms and stress levels,” says Gavin. “This in itself is likely to help people sleep more easily and perhaps to enjoy a better quality slumber.”

The scent of some plants have even been known to enhance sleep, too. And those looking to really bring about a better slumber may wish to include some lavender in their bunches.

“It’s associated with promoting drowsiness and a restful sleep and so is often found in pillows and pouches and used in aromatherapy,” says Gavin.

holding plants
Pop a plant in your bedroom to enhance your slumber. Picture: Leaf Supply

Temperature regulation
If your home becomes something of a hot box in summer, and conversely, an icebox in winter, then you may want to consider adding a few plants before investing in an expensive air conditioning unit.

“Plants absorb heat and reduce temperatures,” says Gavin, adding: “This not only acts as insulation, keeping us cooler in summer and warmer in winter with less reliance on heating and cooling, but also reduces heat-related health problems like exhaustion and heat stroke.”

indoor plant ideas
Plants help keep a hot house cool. Picture: Leaf Supply

A happier mind
Aside from all the physiological benefits associated with greenery in the home, it’s been confirmed throughout a myriad of studies that plants can actually have a significant effect on one’s mental health.

A recent study in the Netherlands found that residents in areas where there was a greater amount of green space within a 1km radius of their homes had a lower prevalence rate for 15 of 24 diseases.

“The findings were most compelling for depression and anxiety,” says Gavin. “Other notable improvements were in the incidence of heart disease, chronic back and neck pain, migraine, and diabetes.”

TOP TIPS FOR RENOVATING TO RE-SELL

No one knows more about renovating for profit than Neale Whitaker, interior designer and co-host of Love it or List it.

As Neale Whitaker gears up for a whole new series of Foxtel’s Love it or List it Australia, he shares with us the features that will add the most value in each space within your home.

Of course, certain additions in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or living area will win points with buyers, but Neale says there’s one element to be valued highly above all others.

“If you’re renovating to resell, the thing you’ll most want to create in your home is space,” he says. “Getting bang for your buck in terms of space and potential for a home is absolutely where the biggest premium lies.”

love it or list it bedroom
Neale reveals his tips for renovating a bedroom to resell. Picture: Love it or List it / Donvale, VIC episode

Neale says anything you can do to make your home feel bigger and demonstrate its potential is going to be noticed by buyers; “whether that means actually knocking down walls, or simply moving out some of the furniture.”

Space aside, there are certain features that have made it onto a buyer’s mental checklist in today’s market.

Here, Neale walks us through each room of the home, and reveals the one feature to add value when it comes to renovating to resell.

The kitchen
Neale says many buyers want to be rest assured that when they buy a house they needn’t worry about embarking on large-scale renovation projects.

“Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses; it’s an old adage we’ve all heard countless times but it’s the truth,” he says.

“They are the big-ticket items and the kitchen and bathrooms are the spaces people will be most concerned about spending on when considering buying a house.”

Kitchen laundry
Ensure your kitchen displays ample storage options. Picture: Love it or List it / Donvale, VIC episode

On a budget, Neale advises you make the kitchen as presentable and functional as possible, but if you’ve got the means, a butler’s pantry will win points come time to sell.

“If you have the space, and you can do it, it’s wonderful! But if you can’t just make the kitchen as functional and practical as possible, and demonstrate storage.

“People want obvious storage options. The more cupboard storage, the better.”

kitchen tiles
“People get very nervous about houses that don’t offer storage,” says Neale. Picture: Love it or List it / Coburg North, VIC episode

The living room
An abundance in natural light, a sense of space and flow of the room will all help to make this zone as appealing as possible, but when it comes to designing the ideal living room, Neale’s advice is to keep the space looking like something of a blank canvas, ready for any buyer to make it their own.

“Keep this space as neutral as possible. People can quite understandably be nervous around loud colours, decorations and patterns,” he says, adding: “If I was renovating a house to resell I would always be erring on the side of neutral.”

And this doesn’t have to be white, either. “Pale grey is warmer than white and not as sterile, yet is very good at demonstrating the space and its potential.”

living room ideas
“Anything you can do to show people potential is going to work in your favour.” Picture: Love it or List it / Paddington, NSW episode

The bedroom
More and more, the bedroom is being thought of as a sanctuary. “We spend such a large chunk of our time in bed which makes this zone an important consideration for buyers,” Neale says.

“If you can afford to do it and you’ve got the space, a walk-in wardrobe and an ensuite bathroom is going to win points every time.”

“But you have to be realistic. If you don’t have the means to do that, a fresh coat of paint and a revamp on a tired carpet will work wonders to make the space look and feel more appealing.”

Styling here can make all the difference for a buyer, too. “Budget retailers offer stunning and affordable bedding options,” says Neale, adding that lamps on bedside tables will help to create an appealing ambience in the space.

blue bedroom
Neutral doesn’t have to mean white. You can embrace soft hues when renovating for profit. Picture: Love it or List it / Paddington, NSW episode

The bathroom
No longer just a stop along the way to leaving the house in the morning, buyers are looking for a luxurious zone with that special touch.

“The rain shower is all the rage right now, as are double showers, double vanities and statement baths,” says Neale.

“But at the end of the day, people want good storage, and they want good lighting in the bathroom.”

bathroom green tiles
Create a functional bathroom with ample storage. Picture: Love it or List it / Rozelle, NSW episode

If you don’t have the means or the space for luxury inclusions, updates like new tiles, tapware and the addition of face-level storage can help to make the space more presentable.

“Keep the bathroom as clean and simple and possible,” says Neale.

ALL THE CELEBRITIES BUYING IN THE INNER WEST

THE inner west is a playground for some of Sydney’s rich and famous, with everyone from television stars and sportspeople looking to buy and sell.

Traditionally the realm of the eastern suburbs and north shore, there has been plenty of prominent people trading inner west property in the past few months.

This is expected to increase as the spring selling season kicks into gear and buyers and sellers from all over the inner west look to make a move.

Kellie Crawford is selling her unit at 104/3 Stromboli Strait in Wentworth Point.

12/11/08 BSM – Kellie Crawford has announced she
Crawford during her Hi-5 days. Pic by Luke Marsden.

One celeb set to sell is former Hi-5 star Kellie Crawford, who is letting go of her Wentworth Point unit.

Growing up in the Strathfield, she describes herself as an “inner west girl”, having lived in Erskineville, Newtown and Rozelle over the years.

“I think it has a bit of everything. I love the location, it’s very multicultural and is a family orientated area — I feel very comfortable there,” she said.

Robbie Farah’s investment property is still on the market.

She recently purchased a property in Strathfield to be closer to her parents.

Recent months have seen big movements in the sporting department, as rugby league star Robbie Farah tried to sell his Concord West investment and Todd Carney let go of his in Wentworth Point.

It is well known that Farah co-owns many properties in inner west locations such as Cabarita and Wareemba. The inner west is also a hotspot for former Australian cricket captain Steve Smith, who has properties on the Balmain peninsula.

Andrew Bogut is rumoured to have purchased in Concord.

Other notable sales include the home of former Labor senator Sam Dastyari, who sold in Russell Lea, while Julian Cress, creator of hit television series The Block, recently reaped $4.275 million for his Annandale warehouse conversion.

Inside the Annandale warehouse once owned by Julian Cress.

Just recently, new Sydney King and former NBA champion Andrew Bogut spent $3.5 million on a Concord house. Also currently up for sale is the family home of late Sydney artist Karin Oom, which served as her art studio and residence for more than 50 years.