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New Study: Definitive number of plants to make a room healthy

A new study from RMIT University and the University of Melbourne has worked out the exact number of plants we need to improve our health within our homes.

Reduced productivity, bad moods and increased allergies have all been linked to chemicals that float in the air at room temperature, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

VOCs are present in carpets, paint and furniture in Australian homes with research showing concentrations indoors are up to ten times higher than they are outdoors.

In a new study, from Plant Life Balance, scientists have discovered that simply adding one medium-sized plant (of up to 50cm) to a medium-sized room (of about 4x5ms) can increase interior air quality by up to 25 per cent.

University of Melbourne researcher Dominique Hes said the work was timely.

"Human beings are less and less among nature with current estimates indicating that urban dwellers spend 90 per cent of their time in indoor environments - resulting in a high level of exposure to indoor contaminant compounds," she said.

"Our aim was to take the world of research and synthesise the knowledge into a scale of benefits provided by plants by grouping them into two categories: air quality and wellbeing.

"Based on the leaf area and the species' ability to remove certain contaminants, we were able to calculate how many of our sample plants were needed to improve air quality and wellbeing in spaces of various sizes.

"Through this study, we also found there is also no mistake - indoor plants improve air quality by filtering airborne toxins caused by organic chemicals in things like paints and furniture finishes."

We found that indoor plants improve air quality by filtering out particulate matter, or air pollution and other airborne toxins caused by organic chemicals in things like paints and furniture finishes. Australia's first virtual greening app has also launched today, using augmented reality to get people confident about styling their homes with plants, while promoting the health and wellbeing benefits they bring.

The new app, Plant Life Balance, blends style and science and takes users on a journey to rate their space, style their space and to find the perfect plants for their home.

App users can drag and drop plants over a photo of their space to see how a number of plants can improve their health, wellness and air quality.

The app can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.

Plant Life Balance is a new campaign that's designed to get Australians excited and confident about styling their homes with plants, while promoting the health and wellbeing benefits they bring.

Media Assets

  • The seven looks: High-res images here
  • The plant lists: available here
  • App user journey explained: available here
  • Research from RMIT available for download: available here
  • The app can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play