Decorative plants serve a purely aesthetic role or may function as a personal expression of the owners’ interests and passions. Grouped and nicely composed, while keeping in mind the larger compositional issues of scale and balance those still lives are organized through the juxtaposition of several attributes. For example, a still life might combine green plants, but with a range of textures from rough to shiny and a range of proportions from tall to low and horizontal. Both collections and still lives require a setting for display. Cabinets with open shelves, floating shelves on walls, fireplace mantles, and built-in niches are all examples of surfaces specifically designed for the display of decorative plants.
Don’t forget that indoor air quality can be greatly improved by reducing or eliminating volatile organic compounds. VOC’s are the toxic chemicals emitted from the common building and home furnishing products in a process known as off-gassing. The biggest offenders are formaldehyde-based products. Common sources of VOCs include paint, adhesives, sealants, solvents, urethane (used as a wood floor finish), particleboard (used for furniture and cabinets), and carpet. Many of these products come in low-VOC versions, or designers can specify alternative products from an increasingly wide range of companies. Houseplants can help mitigate the effect of VOCs on the environment: A single spider plant or philodendron will absorb VOCs within a 5-foot (1 520 millimeter) radius.