The concepts involved in interior landscaping are relatively new, having come into existence only within the last 30 years. It is now become common for architects to include specific plant layouts in their designs for office buildings and shopping centers. The popularity of indoor landscaping, however, goes beyond mere aesthetics; indoor plants also have a positive effect on the health of office workers.
In the 1980s, NASA determined that indoor plants had the ability to filter and purify the air in enclosed spaces. This is an especially important function in an office, given the harsh industrial chemicals used to clean office spaces, the dust blown into office spaces through forced air ducts, and the chemicals present in photocopier ink cartridges. Azaleas, Scindapsus, and Spathiphyllum are particularly adept at soaking in gases such as benzene and trichlorethylene, used in colored inks. The plants absorb these airborne chemicals, and break them down into usable nutrients, while keeping them out of office workers' respiratory tracts.
Maintain humidity levels
Along with the close proximity of infected workers, one reason for frequent office illness is overly dry air in the office. The more arid the office space, the more likely that employees will come down with flu and cold symptoms. Office plants can increase the humidity in an interior space substantially, depending on the number and size of the plants utilized. Plants help keep the humidity level in an office between 30% and 60%, the most comfortable humidity range for people to work in. Even more convenient is the fact that plants instinctively know when the air is moist enough, and adjust the amount of moisture emitted accordingly.
Make a space more welcoming
A 1995 British doctoral study found that people had favorable reactions to interior spaces in which plants were utilized. The study found that respondents were more likely to view an interior space with plants as more interesting, more cheerful, more welcoming and relaxing, and less stressful. Additionally, because plants can have noise level-reducing qualities -- depending on the size and amount of the plants -- respondents found that interior spaces with plants were also quieter.