Tips for creating indoor green spaces

Lighten up. Studies show that natural light often helps people feel more energized and cheerful. Increase daylight by strategically placing mirrors to spread around the light coming in windows. Natural-spectrum light bulbs aim to replicate sunlight - if you're not fooled, at least your plants will be.

Go with the flow. If sitting by flowing water relaxes you, re-create the effect indoors with a fountain. A simple desktop fountain can be devised by arranging some rocks and a submersible pump in a bowl of water.

Go green. Take gardening inside, even if you haven't had luck with plants before. "People tell me they can't grow houseplants, and I tell them they just haven't met the right one," says Scott Appell, horticulturist at the New York Horticultural Society. "A good rule of thumb for indoor gardening is to find out what you can grow and grow a lot of it."

Easy plants to grow include cast-iron plant (Aspidistra elatior), Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema), philodendrons, and peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii). Studies have indicated the following plants may purify the air: Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea erumpens), Boston fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata), English ivy (Hedera helix), rubber plant (Ficus elastica), peace lily, and the Alii variety of ficus.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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