How to Incorporate Nature Into Your Apartment

How to Incorporate Nature Into Your Apartment

Can’t get out and enjoy nature right now? Bring nature in your home. You may not own your dwelling, but you can still find ways to bring the outdoors inside. Whether your space is large or small, gardening enhances both your health and happiness. 

Living in the middle of a city, disconnected from nature, makes it all the more important to add some green in your life. You’ll find yourself feeling better and thinking more clearly. Here, we’ll go through the main benefits and the basics of incorporating more green space into your home.  

Plants Add Humidity 

indoor plants

Apartment plants are desirable because they add a bit of humidity to the air through transpiration, releasing moisture through small pores in their leaves. Lack of humidity usually leaves you with dry skin, and dry air can cause lung irritation and dry mouth. Recent studies suggest that increasing the humidity can also lower the odds of getting a cold or sore throat. Group a few of the right plants together in a couple of rooms, and you should see an increase in humidity. Some of the best plants for adding moisture to the air include: 

  • Rubber plant 
  • Peace lily 
  • English ivy 
  • Spider plant 

Plants Clean The Air

Taking deep, cleansing breaths is great for your health and you want to take in the purest air possible. Houseplants help with that. The NASA Clean Air Study (1989) started out as research on ways to clean the air in the Space Station. It found that certain plants filtered pollutants — including benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene — out of the air. While more recent research shows plants may not work as well outside of a controlled environment, scientists agree that they are removing harmful chemicals. Here are a few of the plants recommended for scrubbing the air. 

  • Elephant ear philodendron 
  • Aloe Vera 
  • Bamboo palm 
  • Barberton daisy 

Plants Boost Mental Health 

nature apartment

Houseplants may have an even bigger impact on our mental health. Working near greenery helps with concentration and memory. Flowers can boost the feeling of happiness through their appearance and scent. Keeping them in your home makes you less stressed and more relaxed. And whether you’re growing your plants out on a balcony or indoors, they need sunlight. As the plants are exposed, so are you. Sunlight increases our brain’s release of serotonin, the hormone responsible for boosting good moods and helping you feel calm and focused. 

All plants in your apartment garden have the power to positively impact your mental health, but you may want to give careful consideration to a money tree plantWhile money doesn’t grow on treeslegend has it that carefully tending to this particular green pal brings positive energy, good luck and prosperity! It’s a great way to spruce up your apartment. 

apartment flowers

Now that you know the why, let’s talk about the how. Apartment living often comes without a yard or a large space to turn into a garden. However, you can still get your hands in the dirt by bringing nature inside. 

Use Native Plants 

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, growing plants and flowers in pots is simple. Turn them into conversation pieces by choosing native plants. These flowers and shrubs have adapted to your area’s climate over many thousands of years. They typically require less water and fertilizer. Choosing native plants celebrates the heritage of the region. Not sure where to start? The National Wildlife Federation has an easy-to-use website where you simply type in your ZIP code and suggestions pop up, along with pictures. Find out which natives are best for apartment gardening from your local garden center 

Plant an Indoor Herb Garden 

herb garden

Limited indoor space practically screams for an herb garden. It’s a bit more challenging than growing potted plants, but extremely satisfying. You can grow herbs indoors year-round or put them on your terrace or patio during the warmer months. Perennial herbs, such as mint, thyme and sage, flourish when you’re able to set them outside. Growing herbs in your apartment has many benefits, among which their homey fragrance and aesthetically pleasing appearance, as well as a constant supply of herbs to season your meals. The herbs that grow best in an apartment garden include: 

  • Chives 
  • Rosemary 
  • Oregano 
  • Parsley 
  • Thyme 

Create Living Wall Art 

A distinctive way to Incorporate nature into your apartment is by adding living wall art. Also known as a vertical gardenthis assembly of wall-mounted plants is a perfect trend for smaller apartments, with plants that grow up instead of spreading out. Think “Jack and the Beanstalk,” only classier. To create your living wall, you’ll need a support structure like a trellis, chicken wire or planters secured to the wall. Vertical gardens can get heavy, so make sure your wall has enough support. Be sure to build this green wall somewhere where it can get direct sunlight.

There’s another aspect you need to consider: how you’re going to get water and nutrients to the plants. Living wall art can be made of greenery such as ivy and pothos, flowers including roses, wisteria and morning glory, and edible plants like kiwi, peas and tomatoes. 

Use a Jungle Theme 

jungle room design

Elvis Presley knew what he was doing when he created the Jungle Room at Graceland, back in the mid ’60s. That trend is still en vogue, and it’s a great way to bring nature into your apartment if plants aren’t an option. Most people don’t decorate their entire apartment in this theme but, rather, choose a room or two. Maybe a bedroom or a hallway.

You still have the option of adding a few plants, but the right patterns and materials can create the same jungle effect. Think bamboo furniture, woven floor mats and colorful jungle wallpaper, oeven a painted mural on one wall. Mix and match green with more subdued tones of tan and brown. Throw in animal ceramics like giraffes, apes or lions. Creating a jungle-themed room is different for everyone. You can go as big or as toned-down as you like. It’s a great way to bring nature into your apartment if you don’t have the time or the desire to have an apartment garden. 


About the author: Jayce Lambert is a graduate student in Texas who loves traveling, camping, hiking, and cycling. Her love of the outdoors is apparent in her dorm room, which she adorns with hanging plants and ferns. 


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Published at Tue, 31 Mar 2020 09:43:14 +0000

Pros and Cons: Living in a Doorman Building

Pros and Cons: Living in a Doorman Building

In our Pros and Cons series, we weigh the advantages and disadvantages of important decisions that apartment dwellers are making every day.

As luxury rentals and mixed-use developments become more common in the U.S., doorman buildings have also become more abundant. In these buildings, a doorman greets you as you enter, though the term “doorman” can sometimes be inaccurate, as they don’t just hold or open doors – they often perform additional tasks including signing for packages and checking in visitors. If you’re considering making the shift to living in a doorman building but can’t quite decide whether this extra feature is right for you, consider the below pros and cons to help with your decision.

doorman building

Pros of living in a doorman building


Doormen are tasked with ensuring that all people who enter your apartment building log their entry before visiting any apartments. Some people who live in doorman buildings thus feel especially safe in their apartments due to their doorman’s presence.

Easier deliveries

In the era of shipping, it’s easy to worry that a package directed to you will get misplaced. Maybe a passerby outside swipes your package from your doorstep, or maybe someone else on your apartment building’s floor accidentally takes your package. In many doorman buildings, the doorman will ensure that your package is held for you until you’re ready to come to the front desk to retrieve it.

Spare keys

When you hire dog walkers, cleaners, or other people who might need access to your apartment while you’re not in it, chances are that you give them keys to your apartment. If you’re worried about the risk that accompanies someone else having access to your apartment, then doormen might allay that concern. They’ll hold onto your spare keys and give them to whomever needs to enter your apartment — with your permission. This person will then return the keys to the doorman upon leaving.

Someone to talk to

Whether you’re just looking to chat or need to find someone for a maintenance issue, a doorman can be your first stop. On your way back in from your day at work, you might enjoy catching up with your doorman about family news, TV recommendations, and other things. If you’re having trouble with something in your apartment, your doorman can help to direct you to someone who can fix it. And if you leave your keys in your apartment, your doorman can solve that problem, too.

Cons of living in a doorman building


Generally speaking, the rent in apartment buildings with a doorman will be higher. In New York City, for example, apartments tend to cost 10 to 15 percent more if the building has a doorman. Even if an apartment building with doormen were priced the same as one without them, the doorman building might still be more expensive around the holidays, when tipping doormen is encouraged.

Less privacy

When you live alone without a doorman, you can bring people to and from your apartment without anybody seeing you. When you have a doorman, though, there’s always someone watching the flow of people to and from your apartment. And since other tenants might be especially friendly and chatty with your doormen, you never know if other people around you might learn things about your personal life.

Someone to talk to

Sure, having someone to talk to can be a pro, but it can just as easily be a con if you’re not a particularly social person. Even if you do consider yourself a people person, you might not want to have to talk to someone or at least say a polite hello every time you enter or leave your building. 

Illusions of safety and easier deliveries

You might feel safer in a building with a doorman, but you might quickly begin to feel too safe. Just because non-tenants or non-visitors are prevented from entering your building doesn’t mean that your neighbors won’t enter your space if you leave your door unlocked. And if you’re especially worried about safety, you might not love the idea of a doorman potentially having spare keys to your apartment.

Additionally, many doorman buildings operate separate package rooms where shipping and postal office workers can leave your packages for you without any doorman involvement. In these cases, doormen provide merely an illusion of safer package delivery rather than actually being involved with the process. When you look at apartments in doorman buildings, be sure to ask about the exact duties of the doormen.

Would you prefer a doorman building or a non-doorman building, and why? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Published at Tue, 31 Mar 2020 18:06:43 +0000

Updates Versus Radio Silence: How Not To Die

Updates Versus Radio Silence: How Not To Die

Posted on March 31, 2020 11:33 am

Just before the Covid-19 realities forced everyone to stay-at-home, I was having tea with one of RentHop’s long-time angel investors. Fortunately, for us, we don’t have real board meetings, so I try to do individual syncs as often as possible. It’s one of the key hacks in How Not To Die, to force yourself to give regular updates. That way, you commit beforehand to having everyone assume radio silence is failure.

Required Weight Loss Update

Speaking of forced updates, we are almost at the first checkpoint of my Weight Loss hack. How’s that going? So far so good. When we were still going to the Grand Central Tech office, my daily lunch consisted of two feet of Subway Sandwiches, sans the bread.

Steak and Cheese or Oven Roasted Chicken Breast from subway, without the bread, is under 400 calories per foot long, even with veggies and cheese (red wine vinegar sauce)

Cruise Goal Approaching

The original first deadline was a late April cruise from Long Beach, California to Mexico, aboard the Carnival Panorama. Unfortunately, it seems highly unlikely we will be sailing next month. As we speak. cruise ships are being turned away at ports for fear the spreading the virus.

The original Diamond Princess is considered Patient 0 to 300 for one of the largest Japan clusters. The Grand Princess is the California ship stranded for weeks, back when things on land seemed under control (how we long for those days). Apparently, my older brother had just taken the Grand Princess two weeks prior to the fateful virus sailing.

I think it’s safe to say, we will play it safe. Even if the boat was clean, do we really want to leave the comfort of home to fly to California, spend a week, or much longer, in close quarters with 2000 others in various ports of call?

Weight Status Update

So far so good! At the beginning of the challenge, my wife purchased a new bathroom scale – one of those “smart” scales that can send your data to your phone and track for multiple household members (and catch cheating spouses). Interestingly, the brand is called RENPHO, which always kind of looks like RentHop.

From 150+ to 145.2. Halfway there!

Published at Tue, 31 Mar 2020 15:33:42 +0000

Ways to make your space feel bigger when you meditate

Ways to make your space feel bigger when you meditate

Ways to make your space feel bigger when you meditate

In a world that moves at a breakneck pace, finding time to slow down and quiet your mind is difficult—and it’s also essential. Many people turn to meditation to help. The practice guides the mind to a calmer place using breathing techniques, mantras, and imagery. It can be as simple as breathing deeply and repeating a phrase or as complicated as traveling to a different plane tucked away in the recesses of your imagination. Either way, you need a quiet, calm space to do it in order to really reap the benefits of meditation. Here’s how to make your apartment feel bigger when you meditate.

  1. Oust any clutter.
    One of the most obvious ways to make your space feel larger is to rid it of any stuff that’s non-essential. Purging extra clutter is a good habit to get into, whether you meditate or not. Donate any knick-knacks, furnishings, and decor that you don’t really need in order to open up some space for your meditative practice. This will make it even easier to get into the zen zone.
  2. Welcome natural light.
    When sunshine comes streaming into your home, it makes your world a bit brighter and bigger. Harness the power of natural light and pick a corner for meditation with ample windows. The sunny rays, and the view visible through the windows, will make your meditation nook feel instantly more spacious.
  3. Enlist neutral hues.
    While dark colors tend to make a room feel smaller, light and neutral tones do just the opposite. Whites, creams, and shades of beige create the illusion of extra space. So when you pick furnishings for your meditation area (or for any room in your home, really), opt for these lighter colors instead of dark, bold hues. If you already have darker furniture in the area where you intend to meditate, there’s no need for a full makeover. Just add some lighter elements, like a whitewashed throw blanket or set of pillows.
  4. Just add mirrors.
    Mirrors instantly add square footage to your home, almost in the same way that a window does. The reflection seemingly doubles the size of any space. Affix a mirror to your wall or find a small stand-alone mirror that you can incorporate into your meditation nook.
  5. Strategically place your pillow.
    One essential that every meditation space must have is a cushy pillow for you to perch on. Pick your pillow and then arrange it strategically to make your space feel larger. Instead of pushing it up against the wall, pull it out at least six inches. This is an old trick for arranging furniture. When you let your furnishings float, the room feels bigger. When they connect with the wall, that seems to suck up space—or, at least, make a room look smaller. You can use this tip with any piece of furniture or decor in your meditation area.

How to Make a Small Room Look Bigger: 25 Tips That Work [StyleCaster]

5 Steps to Creating the Perfect Home Meditation Space [Yoga Journal]

10 Sneaky Ways to Make a Small Space Look Bigger [The Nest]

Published at Sat, 01 Dec 2018 20:53:45 +0000

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