Month: October 2015

14 Houseplants For People With No Green Thumb

1. Spider Plant

spiderLofilolo / Getty Images

The name may plant horrible images in your head, but spider plants are actually known to be one of the most adaptable and easy to care for houseplants! Medium light, moist soil, and comfortable room temperatures will keep them alive in your dwelling.

Is it safe for cats and dogs? The ASPCA says yes. catsdogs


2. Philodendron

philoRobertcicchetti / Getty Images

This tropical-looking houseplant comes in many different sizes, shapes, and coloring, including the popular split-leaf version (pictured). Although there are many kinds, one thing they have in common is their ability to survive neglect…you mean, mean plant parent.

Is it safe for cats and dogs? The ASPCA says no. catsdogs-no


3. Boston Fern

boston-fernSdbower / Getty Images

This low-maintenance plant is a good choice for people who want a no-fuss, lush look in their home. Boston ferns mainly need a cool place, with high humidity and indirect light. If you can manage those three basic needs, you’ll have a green friend for years.

Is it safe for cats and dogs? The ASPCA says yes. catsdogs


4. Jade Plant

jadeIgor Vesninov / Getty Images

Sometimes called the money plant, this cute succulent doesn’t ask for much. It’s pretty low maintenance, just make sure not to drown it. A good method to use is to water your jade when the top of the soil feels dry.

Is it safe for cats and dogs? The ASPCA says no. catsdogs-no


5. Snake Plant



Jodi Samsel / Getty Images

This plant is perfect for the forgetful type because it can survive neglect for weeks at a time. Not only is it pretty, but it can benefit your health too since it improves indoor air quality. If the snake plant had a motto it might be “you’re welcome.”

Is it safe for cats and dogs? The ASPCA says no. catsdogs-no


6. Bromeliad


Taseffski / Getty Images

This cousin of the pineapple may look like a diva, but it’s actually pretty easy to handle. It can thrive in a wide temperature range (between 55 degrees and 80 degrees) and is tolerant of drought, so if you only remember to water it once a week, you’ll still be good.

Is it safe for cats and dogs? The ASCPA says no. catsdogs-no


7. Sweetheart Hoya


photos777 / Thinkstock

This houseplant is popular because of the pretty blooms and nice fragrance it can produce. It doesn’t require much sun and because of the large, succulent leaves you don’t need to water it that often. The blooms aren’t guaranteed, but can be coaxed with the right amount of sunlight. But don’t worry, if you can’t get the blooms to come, you’ll still fall in love with the heart-shaped leaves.

Is it safe for cats and dogs? The ASPCA says yes. catsdogs


8. Dracaena


motorolka / Getty Images

If you’re looking to spruce up your floorspace, look to this easy-to-handle plant. All you have to do is keep it dry and somewhere on the warm side, as they do best in temperatures between 65 degrees and 80 degrees. Dracaena also like plenty of light, so a sunny window spot will be handy too.

Is it safe for cats and dogs? The ASPCA says no. catsdogs-no


9. Kalanchoe


Hawk111 / Getty Images

Pretty on the outside, tough on the inside, the kalanchoe is a great choice if you want a little more color in your home. Because they are succulents, they are OK to go a little dry between watering. It also works well with dry climates and temperature changes, so it should be able to adapt to the ficklest of homeowners.

Is it safe for cats and dogs? The ASPCA says no. catsdogs-no


10. Pothos


Pekka Nikonen / Getty Images


An undemanding plant, the pothos is considered a good beginner plant. They’re also ideal plants for bathrooms or offices because they can tolerate low light. How they’ll feel about living in a bathroom is up for debate.

Is it safe for cats and dogs? The ASPCA says no. catsdogs-no


11. Echeveria


Kittimages / Getty Images

This is one of the prettiest succulent plants because of the bloom-like shape it grows in. There are many varieties and colors, so you can easily find the right one to go with a specific color scheme in your own home if you have one. Be sure to give these guys plenty of constant light and keep the soil moist (not flooded) to keep ‘em healthy.

Is it safe for cats and dogs? The ASPCA says yes. catsdogs


12. Aloe


Pandpstock001 / Getty Images

Sure, you’re probably familiar with its medicinal properties, but aloe plants make wonderful home décor too. It’s another succulent, so it does well in dry conditions. The key to making your aloe thrive is making sure it gets plenty of indirect sunlight.

Is it safe for cats and dogs? The ASPCA says no. catsdogs-no


13. English Ivy

english ivy

Jill Chen / Getty Images

This romantic plant is a wonderful climber, so they’re great for hanging indoors. If you wanna get really fancy, pot it with a stake to watch climbing commence…over time anyway. Moist soil and cool temperatures will make your ivy thrive.

Is it safe for cats and dogs? The ASPCA says no. catsdogs-no

14. Shamrock Plant


Tanuki Photography / Getty Images

This plant will not only bring luck into your home, but also some bright green coloring and even pops of white with its little flowers. These guys are easy to care for, but they have a few specific requirements like cool temperatures and lots of fresh air.

Is it safe for cats and dogs? The ASPCA says no. catsdogs-no


Tabletop Ideas For October Entertaining

October 19, 2015

It’s Monday, a new week and new inspiration to be found! This is Anke and I’m back with a new theme for you this month, today with an autumnal table for you. Let’s celebrate the golden month of October with warm colors, oak wood, soul food and beautiful flowers. Before I develop my ideas for table decor I usually begin with my current color crush. Lately I’m falling for ochre yellow, which is a bit brownish, like curry powder. I enjoy viewing the autumn forest so much and have noticed lots of ochre this year. Do you have a favorite color at the moment? What is it?


When it comes to eating, my go-to food at this time of the year is a hot and creamy soup. In my photos you’ll see a pureed pumpkin potato soup garnished with roasted seeds, fresh parsley and coarsely grounded black pepper. If desired my guests can help themselves with french farmhouse bread, homemade herb butter and fleur de sel (which you’ll always find on my table as I am a little addicted to it). I also like the idea of serving soup in small espresso cups for an amuse-bouche. I found a non-alcoholic apple quince apéritif in our local shop the other day. A perfect fit for autumn cuisine.


My table decoration combines rustic elements such as cutting boards, small butter knives with a wooden grip, and clear simple design such as my plain white tableware and thick tea candle glasses. I added the little oak houses because I like playful details and autumn reminds me of how cozy it is at home.


The four cotton napkins were formerly two aprons. I purchased them at a gorgeous store in Amsterdam when I was out shopping for napkins. I’m not the most talented sewer but I can manage on small projects such as for napkins, pillowcases and anything else that only requires me to sew in a straight line!


I hand cut some petite branches with leaves using paper with the “Autumn” banner as an template. Paper will always be my favorite craft material, you too? The vases on my table are filled with loosely arranged huge mums (Japanese Chrysanthemum), protea, dahlias and two different kind of eucalyptus.


I hope that you have enjoyed this autumn-themed setting. I also want to thank you so much for your kind comments on the first article of my column here on decor8. If you have any questions about a recipe, please you contact me through email which you can find on my blog. Have a comfy autumn everyone and see you again in November! – Anke

(text, styling, photography: Anke Illner /Text edits: Holly Becker)


Decorating Your Home’s Exterior for Halloween

It’s that time of the year again—time for hot cider, pumpkin picking, and welcoming little ghosts and goblins to your doorstep for treats. Why not make your house the coolest on the block with some truly spectacular—or spooktacular—Halloween decorations? You can choose to present a haunting display or simply stick to a seasonal theme as a tribute to autumn in general. If you’re still looking for inspiration, here are some great ideas from The House Designers that will help you dress your home up for the month of October.


The Harvest Approach

A classic presentation of natural materials is a great option for anybody who wants to celebrate October for all that it is. With the growing season coming to an end, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get your hands on things like dried corn stalks, straw bales, and fresh pumpkins. You can ask around at local farms, livestock feed and supply stores, home improvement stores, and craft stores to get the materials you need.

Try stacking bales of straw or hay around on the edges of your entryway and in your yard, where they can help create a cute photo opportunity for trick-or-treaters. Lean dried bundles of wheat and corn stalks on either side of your door as well as around the bales, and punctuate the design with pumpkins in a variety of sizes. What you’ll have is a beautiful tribute to the season that isn’t too scary for younger visitors, but one that will still look spooky in the dark.


Flowery Decorations

October definitely isn’t spring, but there are still plenty of gorgeous floral options. Chrysanthemums are a great choice because they bloom in the fall and are generally low-maintenance, hardy plants that will overwinter year after year to keep adorning your home. Keep some mums in planters so you can move them around as you see fit, and try to stick to the natural colors—white, yellow, orange, red—that look great in autumn with the changing foliage.

If live flowers aren’t your thing, take a trip to your nearest craft and hobby store. You’ll find plenty of artificial blooms that you can pack up and reuse. Chances are you’ll be able to get synthetic mums, but even if you can’t, there are sure to be dried flower arrangements that will still get you excited. Even though you don’t have to take care of them like you would live plants, fall floral accents in boxes and garlands are just as beautiful, if not more so, because they have been carefully designed by decorating experts.


Get Carving

It’s a great crafty activity to do with friends and family and can help you dress up your front entry, so making jack-o-lanterns should be on your to-do list. Kids love to draw faces on their pumpkins even if an adult has to do the actual carving. Use safe carving tools to make sure there are no injuries that would take away from all the fun!

Get creative with your project. A variety of scary and silly faces on the stairs is a great way to invite trick-or-treaters to your door. You can also get a bunch of smaller pumpkins and carve individual letters into them to spell out a greeting. Use a drill to poke out little dots in the shape of letters to let light through and the process will be much faster.


It is Halloween, after all! If you love this holiday, let it show! You can set up a skeleton on a porch swing or sitting on a straw bale, or cover the façade of your home in giant spiders in artificial webs. For the arachnophobes among us, an empty web woven from thin cotton rope or even yarn will be plenty—just hang it across the front door or stretch it from the peak of your porch’s gable down one supporting column to create a cobweb look.

Skeletons, webs, spiders, witches, bats, ghosts, black cats—pick some of your favorites and go wild. Utilize every part of your property if you’re a devout celebrant of Halloween. You can hang bat cutouts and little fabric ghosts from your trees, and placing some decorations that are partially hidden in bushes or around corners will make people stop to look and admire your design scheme.


Enjoy the Season

Once the summer wanes, it seems like it’s only a short time before winter swoops in. That’s why we love to celebrate autumn. Whether you enjoy the natural beauty of the season or prefer the holidays by themselves, you can decorate your home to reflect your fondness.

As you decorate, keep safety in mind. Keep jack-o-lanterns with candles away from flammable materials, or just use flameless tealights in them instead. The walkway should be clear of anything that could be tripped over or somebody might get tangled up in, and make sure there aren’t any big surprises—like motion-activated sound effects or movements from decorations—near stairs, where somebody might jump back and fall. If you try to keep Halloween fun for everybody, your house will be a neighborhood favorite!