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Gushing For Greens
Usher in spring's long-awaited arrival by infusing your home with fresh-cut or dried greens


April 2017

Decorating with greenery officially became trendy earlier this year, when Pantone named Greenery its 2017 Color of the Year. “Green is popping up everywhere in interiors,” says Trish Johnson, a Waukesha County-based interior designer and owner of Trish Johnson Interiors. “It’s a great counterbalance to all of the distressed, reclaimed wood and grays that are so popular these days. It relates to the organic feel of those materials and connects us to nature and the outdoors.”

“With design trends going to a more natural, casual home environment, using greens as small accessories rather than (as) the focal point (i.e., a large centerpiece on a dining table) creates a more inviting living space,” adds Suzan Wemlinger of Decorating Den Interiors.

Here are five plant-based greens, plus tips on how to decorate with them at home:

1. Olive leaf
Historically a symbol of peace, this green is packed with phytochemicals, including oleuropein. The compound makes the leaves effective in fighting bacteria and viruses. “Using a clear vase that flares out at the top, mix olive leaves/branches with small buds of magnolia or another small bud, like miniature roses, and place on a dining table,” Wemlinger suggests. “(You) can also wrap twine around the center of the bouquet for a more casual look.”


2. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is a mighty, fragrant green. Oil from the plant boasts numerous health benefits, from anti-inflammatory capabilities to helping combat muscle pain and stress. “A simple, slim vase, either white ceramic or a natural stone, with a short-stemmed bouquet of eucalyptus makes for a nice accent on an end table,” says Wemlinger. “Arranged in a short, rather than tall, vessel, a similar arrangement on a smaller scale looks great next to a framed photo on a mantel.” 


3. Magnolia

The bark of the leafy green magnolia tree is known for its ability to treat menstrual cramps, abdominal pain and digestive issues. Try swapping traditional paper place cards for magnolia leaves at your next dinner party — their size and vibrant green color make the perfect backdrop for silver or gold ink.

4. Boxwood

Boxwood’s leaves, bark and wood were once used to treat a variety of ailments, from malaria to rheumatism, but experts now advise against its use for self-medication. “With the sprigs of boxwood being small and tight, it’s the perfect solution when creating a topiary,” notes Wemlinger. “It also works well used as decorative balls or spheres, to be placed in a decorative bowl or as an accent piece as part of a vignette.”


5. Banana leaf

The large, shiny leaves of a banana tree contain medicinal properties, and their juice can relieve skin irritation or itchiness. The most exotic of the five greens shown here, the banana tree makes a powerful decorative statement, so place the plant in a well-seen area of the room.

This story ran in the April 2017 issue of: