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The answer is plants... What's the question?

Quite often people will ask me what is missing from a room and more often than not the answer is plants. But why?

It is down to something called biophilia. "Biophilia is defined as the inherent human inclination to affiliate with nature." In short: if you have plants, natural light, and natural materials and textures in a room, it can simulate how you feel when you're walking through nature, and it will make you happy.

At school we were taught that plants produce oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis (see Mum - retired biology teacher - I was paying attention!), but I bet none of you have thought about it since. In simple terms this means that plants produce oxygen for us to breathe; it is said that some plants (spider plants, rubber plants, Boston ferns) actually purify the air. So why wouldn't you have them in your home?

Unless you work in a creative field, offices have traditionally been sterile, grey, uninspiring places, but that doesn't have to be the case at home. In your home work space you should surround yourself with the colours and things you love. Including plants in a work environment can help reduce stress, tension, anxiety, depression, anger, and fatigue; they can increase productivity, memory retention, concentration, boost creativity, and help reduce noise levels.

So where are the best places to buy them? Garden centres, DIY shops, and even IKEA sell decent plants however their staff are often ill-equipped to give any useful advice. Over the last couple of years dedicated independent plant shops have sprung up everywhere (even in Wakefield - giving advice on which plants will survive in which light and temperature conditions. It's also another way of supporting local independent businesses so try and find one near you.

However if, like me, you are the grim reaper of plants, or you simply can't be bothered trying to keep them alive, there have recently been massive advances in the quality of artificial plants. A lot of the high street shops are stocking them and there are several online specialists that are worth looking at if you're after bigger plants (e.g. the one in the picture above was £40 from Leaf Artificial Plants - that's the price of two dead plants).

Even prints of plants (monstera leaves seem to be popular at the moment) or nature scenes can be beneficial (try sites like Desenio, Iamfy, or check out FB Marketplace/Etsy for local graphic artists/print producers), or why not paint your workspace in a soothing shade of green?

I feel more relaxed already just writing about it...

Go green, I promise you won't regret it. And let me know if you add plants to your space and it makes you happy.

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