Space filler

Hello there! How was your weekend? Mine was great but I got very little done on my project list. A nap, yes. Projects…not much.

Over the years I’ve discovered an answer to one of the biggies when it comes to decorating – filling odd, empty spaces in our home. I’m all for letting a room “breathe” and not putting stuff everywhere, but there are times when a spot just needs something…and I’ve finally figured out a solution that looks pretty and is functional.

If you consider cleaner air functional. ;)

Awhile back I moved a few things around in the living room and knew I wanted something tall and full that would take up some visual space next to the sofa. I took off to our local nursery to see if I could find one of those fiddle leaf ficus trees I’ve seen all over blogland. They are awesome…but I couldn’t find one. And I hear they are not cheap either.

fiddle leaf fig

WOW! Talk about filling some space. ;) I later learned they can be toxic to cats (there is some conflicting info on that), so it’s probably best I didn’t find that one anyway.

Soooo…I happened upon one called a money tree (also known as the jade plant), and LOVED it’s beautiful braided trunk:

plants in baskets

Isn’t that awesome? I did a quick search with my phone to make sure it was non-toxic to cats (check!) and then checked out the price tag -- $35 and it was half off.

Dude. So there:money tree jade plant

I’ve had this one for months now and it’s doing SO well. I used to have it right next to the sofa but then I found that awesome lamp at Lowe’s, so it’s scooched over a tad.

It fills what is an odd space that felt too empty to ignore, but it’s not something like a piece of furniture that overwhelms the space.

I don’t have the greenest of thumbs, but this thing is SO easy to take care of. It needs very little water, and once you find a spot where it likes the light, it’s good to go. This doesn’t get any direct light and it does great.

I found another half off tree that day that I had planned to use behind our family room sofa, but it threw a plant fit in that spot. :) It’s leaves were falling off left and right (the folks at the nursery told me that would happen if it wasn’t happy).

So I moved it over to the bay window in the kitchen and it does MUCH better in full sunlight:

decorating with plants

I didn’t plan on it going there, but I really love it. (No, it doesn’t interfere with the door opening at all. And excuse the Halloween window clings -- we get started up in here.) I’ve realized plants give life to a space like accessories and furniture can’t. (I can’t remember what this one is called, anyone know? It’s got long skinny leaves.)

I try to use different “pots” for each one – they are all planted in regular pots but then I place them in baskets or in this case, an antique crock. They can look a little top heavy otherwise, and I like how this balances them out.

Back when I shared the final office redo, I had a tall fern-type plant next to the chair, and it lasted all of a couple weeks. Sad face. I’ve learned I’m not good with anything even slightly tropical – ferns (which are supposed to be soooooo easy) die on me. Every. time. Maybe my house isn’t warm enough? I don’t know.

That spot was just off without something there, so last weekend I headed back to the nursery and found another money tree and…wait for it…it was half off. Score!:

money tree jade plant

He’s in bad shape so I’m pretty sure that’s why it was half off. I’m nursing him back. :) I put the planter in an old basket I wasn’t using and I love the added texture.

OK, I lied – ALL ferns don’t hate me. I’ve had one on our kitchen sink for more than a year now:

fern in kitchen

This one serves a purpose though – it hides the spot on the beadboard backsplash where I totally screwed up:

No one sees it now. :)

I’m finding plants are really useful when filling dead spaces while decorating the built ins – the fluffiness of this little guy had me right away and it was such a great touch of color and LIFE:

plants in decorating

Wait…I think that one is a fern too. I’ve only had it for a few days, so we’ll see if this one likes me. ;)

Sometimes plants can be a bit of an investment up front, so I’ve purposely gone for ones that were clearanced out so I could see if I could keep them alive. Now I know that money tree works well in our house, (and I don’t kill them) I’m looking for at least one more. Love them!

For years I didn’t use plants in the house because of the cats. I talked about some animal-friendly plants I found in this post last year.

So are you a plant lover? Can you keep them alive? Have you found one that does well (with little work) and care to share? Anyone have the elusive fiddle leaf fig that I wanted in the first place? :)

*P.S. I blogged about what I keep in my purse over at my friend Tauni’s  place…go here to see what’s inside. ;)