As the weather turns cold here in Kansas City, most of us will spend 90% of our time indoors! 90%! That starts to make one a little stir crazy in the months of January and February. To survive the winter months, we take our cue from Fat Plant Society founder and Danish born and raised, Morten Klinte who espouses "hygge" is the key to surviving long winter months. The Danes translate hygge as cozy but it's actually much more complex than that. Hygge is a Danish term you may be familiar with from recent press. Hygge is the practice of optimizing your interior surroundings for health, comfort and relaxation. A hyggelig home in Copenhagen (our founder's hometown) is filled with candles, smells of delicious food, warm and snuggly blankets, beautiful (and often heirloom) plants, as well as the ever-present hyacinth bulb in the window signaling that though the days are short and the hours of darkness long, spring really will come again. Other important ingredients for hygge include candles, hot tea, warm blankets and of course, a furry friend. In sum, hygge means making the most of indoor surroundings through gentle, soothing, beauty in smell, taste, and of course sight.
According to Klinte, vital to any "hyggeligt" setting are plants. Plants improve air quality by removing chemicals like formaldehyde and carbon monoxide and put out oxygen---so plants are essentially the lungs of your indoor environment."
To get a little more "sciency" and learn more about the incredible benefits of indoor plants, we consulted Green Plants for Green Buildings, a non-profit organization that provides information on the aesthetic, economic, and well-being benefits of nature in the built environment. There we learned a couple new terms (how cool is that?): biophilia and biomimicry. Biophilia is the instinctive bond between human beings and other living organisms and living systems. Research suggests that buildings that contain features of preferred natural environments will be more supportive of human well-being and performance than those that do not contain these features
Whereas biomimicry is the science (and art) of mimicking nature's ideas and solutions to human problems (like poor air quality). Indoor plants bring nature inside and clean the air while exchanging it for fresh oxygen. For those of us that want clean, natural solutions without cords or plugs, indoor plants and indoor landscaping serve the dual purpose of improving both your air quality and the aesthetic of your home. You really do want to visit the Green Plants for Green Buildings site to read more about the benefits living plants inside your home and office.
In the office environment, plants have been shown to increase productivity, increase retention and even lower absenteeism. Hoteliers that incorporate plants into their decor are becoming increasingly popular with guests (and hotels sometimes charge more for rooms with a garden view). Our friends at Ambius are well aware of this and have built their business on plants and indoor landscaping for hotels. They can even prove solid return on investment from plants. Heck, even folks at NASA have recommended the use of indoor plants because of their toxin-filtering abilities.