THE FIVE BEST INTERIOR PLANTS (& HOW NOT TO KILL THEM)

I’ve had a checkered past when it comes to plants. My mother can attest to having to rip out my entire vege patch and replant it more than once due to my inability to keep anything green alive. However I do have a strong love for interior plants, you may have noticed that in every room of my house, there are at least a couple. They are the perfect cost effective way to add colour and soul to a space, well not so cost effective if you have to replace them as regularly as me. I’ve managed to kill some from forgetting to water them, to others dying from being over watered – I didn’t even know that was possible?!
plant montage

In an attempt to improve my green thumb game, I’ve done a little research, hopefully this new found knowledge will ensure my plants live a long and happy life. Here’s my five favourites and a couple of pointers on how not to kill them…

cactus real finalCactus & Succulent
I love the huge variety of shape, colour and texture available in cacti and succulents. Another massive bonus (and vital given my past) is how super low maintenance they are! More so than you may imagine, you only need to water them every couple of weeks in spring and summer. Wet the top of the soil thoroughly, but be sure not to drown the plant and use room temperature water so the roots don’t get shocked. During the colder months you can water them even less, and let the soil dry out between watering. Keep in bright, but not direct sun light.

snake plant finalSnake Plant
Otherwise known as Mother-In-Law’s Tongue, Snake Plants are a succulent plant, which means the leaves retain lots of water. Snake plants will thrive in a sunny spot and need to be watered each couple of weeks in summer and less in winter. Wet the top of the soil thoroughly, but be careful not to over water as the roots could rot. Snake Plants height and narrowness mean they work well styled in most places around your home without taking up too much room.

fig leaf final Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
I love these trees! They are just stunning, it’s definitely the next on my list to get. Fiddle Leaf Figs prefer bright light, but not being directly in sunlight as it can burn its leaves. Due to its beautiful large leaves, it tends to gather dust so make sure it’s wiped off so it can ‘breath’. You need to water it when the top inch of the soil becomes dry, the easiest way to check this is to put your finger in the soil, you will soon know how often to water it within your homes unique environment.

areca palm finalAreca Palm
These beautiful palms are perfect when you want your home to have a coastal vibe. Areca palms do best with bright light and last longer with some direct sunlight. Like many palms, they are sensitive to overwatering, so let the soil dry out slightly between waterings.

philodendron finalPhilodendron
Hanging plants are the new black, they seem to be in every interior magazine. One of my favourites is the philodendron. Conveniently it is also very low maintenance, so it suits me perfectly. Philodendrons enjoy bright, indirect light the most and you only need to water it when the top inch of soil becomes dry.

string of pearls finalString of Pearls
So I know I said that I’d give you my top five indoor plants, but hey everyone loves something for free right!? And how cool is this plant, I love how unique and delicate the String of Pearl is. It looks perfect on a shelf so the pearls can cascade down, I have one in my kitchen and it’s a wee stunner. They like bright light, even sunlight and need watering every couple of weeks in summer and once a month in winter. Like other succulents, String of Pearl can get root rot if you overwater, so be careful.

Top Tips for Plant Care
1. Repot the plant after you buy it. Ideally pots should have drainage holes, but many these days don’t, meaning you have to be extra careful with watering levels.
2. Get schooled up on what level of light and water your plant likes best. Try creating an alert on your phone for watering times if you find it hard to remember.
3. Mix a small amount of fertiliser with water for watering over summer months.
4. Repot the plant if / when it gets too big for its current abode.
5. Play your plants late 90’s hip hop, they love it.

With the huge increase in popularity of indoor plants, naturally plant pots and holders are also popping up everywhere. Here’s a round up of my favourites from design stores Flux Boutiqe, Paperplane Store and Collected, but don’t forget to check the likes of The Warehouse and Kmart for even more budget friendly buys.
fluxmontagecollected montagepaperplanestoremontage
The Design Twins are an Australian based brand I’m kind of obsessed with, it’s been a long distance, one sided affair thus far, but that’s all about to change, I’m super excited as of March they will be available from their first New Zealand stockist, Republic in Auckland.
design twins montage

You could always try your hand at a little DIY, terracotta pots are only a few dollars from Mitre 10 and Bunnings, using painters tape and some test pots in your favourite shades you could turn them into your own stunning designer pots! Here’s a couple I did for my kitchen. diy pots final

HOME DIY: BEDSIDE TABLE MAKEOVER

I have so many ideas of what furniture I would love to find and restore for our home. The problem is I really have no idea how to do it, so I’ve been procrastinating and have yet to do anything! So I’m starting small, I found this old wooden bedside table at a garage sale for just $3. I figure if I completely stuff up, it’s not too much of a loss. I am hoping it transforms into a gorgeous and unique bedside table for our wee daughter Ava.
cabinet you will need

THE BEFORE
CABINET BEFORE 2

THE PREP
The first task is to sand all the vanish off the cabinet, so I was left with a smooth even finish. Thank god for an electric sander! It was actually really fun to use. Using a hand sander to finish off all the little corners and edges wasn’t so fun. After you have finished sanding use a vacuum cleaner to clean up the majority of the dust, and then a final wipe with a cloth. Don’t skip doing this process thoroughly as the quality of your final product really depends on how good your preparation is.
cabinet after sanding

THE PROCESS
1. Primer
Paint the cabinet with the primer-sealer, let it dry completely, and then give the cabinet a light sand all over before repeating the process. I used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1.2.3, it dried in 30 minutes and I could recoat in one hour.
cabinet paint to use
cabinet sealer

2. Paint
Paint the cabinet with the semi-gloss water based enamel, just like with the primer I let it dry then gave it a light sand before giving the cabinet a second coat. I did notice that you could still see some brush strokes in the paint, this could have been improved by using a more expensive high quality paint brush. I’d definitely invest in better brushes next time.

3. Design
Ava’s got a huge obsession with bunny’s so I knew I wanted to somehow incorporate that. I really loved a bunny print I had seen on a pinterest image, and tried my best to replicate it onto the front of the cabinet door. To make it a little easier I first sketched the image on a piece of paper until I was happy with it, then cut it out and placed the template on the cabinet so I could trace around it lightly with a pencil and was left with a basic outline of the bunny, this made it a lot easier when painting it.cabinet bunny

I have a lot of left over paint test pots from other art projects in Ava’s room, so I played around with the colours I had until I was happy. This ensured the colours I painted the cabinet would blend well with her existing room. Paint test pots are inexpensive and can be bought from any Mitre 10 or Bunnings. I had initially wanted to create an aztec pattern but gave up thinking it would be too tricky, I instead chose to do different width stripes. Using painters tape to mark each stripe it was extremely easy, make sure you press well on the tape to ensure the paint doesn’t ‘bleed’ through under the tape.cabinet test pots
cabinet paint strip collage

THE RESULT
I am so happy with how it has ended up!! It looks so adorable in her room and the colours blend perfectly with her existing furniture.
cabinet complete frontcabinet after montagecabinet final in roomcabinet after in room frontcabinet after in room

BEFORE / AFTER
cabinet before after

CREATE YOUR OWN PHOTO WALL

Sometimes life gets busy, who am I kidding, life is always busy. It can often make me a little complacent and I forget to appreciate the most important things. I’ve recently created a photo wall in our dining area, I love that being surrounded by memories of special moments with those I love the most puts a smile on my face throughout the day, even if I’m in the middle of folding my third pile of washing. Here’s a guide to help you create one of your own…

create your own photo wall

1. Choose Photos
Choose 10-12 photos that remind you of special moments, I included ones from our wedding, our honeymoon in Greece and a family holiday in Bali. I also added a great print – Blacklist ‘Forever + Always’, from Paperplane. You could even add some of your children’s favourite art into the mix, it’s really just whatever makes you happy. Choose images that everyone in the family is happy with. I wish my mum had followed that rule, I remember rushing inside when bringing my now husband home to introduce him to the family and hiding all the super embarrassing photos on the wall. No one needed to be reminded of my spiral perm, monobrow and braces. No one.

2. Pimp Photos
There are so many free photo editing programmes these days, my favourite would have to be PicMonkey. It’s so easy to use and can really transform your images to rival professional pics.

3. Choose Frames
To help your photo wall look cohesive choose frames in the same colour, or colour palette. I chose black and natural wood which went with the atheistic of our home. If you are going to purchase all new frames, it’s worth finding a framing wholesaler as you will get a high end finish at a great price point. I used Harrison Framing Factory Shop in Mount Maunganui, their customer service and knowledge was outstanding. I bought 10 frames for just under $300.

4. Print Photos
It’s definitely worth getting your photos professionally printed when wanting large prints rather than using the self service machines. Because I had chosen some custom sized frames, having someone help make sure the photos fitted perfectly was fantastic.

5. Design Layout
I love photo walls that look balanced, but not too uniform. The easiest way I found was to lay them out on my lounge floor and have a little play until I was happy. Take a photo once you have chosen the best option.

photo wall on ground

6. Hang Photos
I learnt a new word from my husband ‘eyeometer'(I actually thought he had just made it up!), basically it means calculating sizes and shapes using only your eyes. Using an eyeometer we replicated the layout I had previously designed and photographed onto our wall. We used a spirit level to make sure each frame was straight. The staff at Harrison Frames had advised against using hanging strips (that was music to my ears as they are ridiculously expensive), and instead suggested sawtooth picture hangers. They also sold me little discs to place on the bottom corners of the frames so they sat level against the wall.

7. Enjoy Your New Photo Wall!

photo wall final

When going through all my photos I found it so hard to narrow it down to just ten, in fact I had about a hundred I loved! So I decided to get the framers to make a large plain white frame with no glass and basically used it like a pinboard covering it with photos. I love the end result and it has really brightened up our all white hallway.

collage 3