Benefits of Indoor Plants

   Benefits of Indoor Plants

You don't have to be an environmental psychologist to understand that plants look attractive. But, dig a little deeper underneath their beauty and you will discover the hidden benefits of indoor plants which goes far beyond the aesthetic.


The Power of Plants:

Since Kuwait is an urban area, where we spend an amazing 90% of our time indoors, the quality of the indoor environment is crucial to our well being.  

Recent research shows that indoor plants significantly improve number of aspects of indoor environment and reinforces positive effect plants have on the health and well-being of people who work in buildings.

Research shows that indoor plants:

  • Improve indoor air quality

  • Reduce sickness and improves well being

  • Improve productivity and performance and lower stress and negative feelings

  • Help to reduce noise

  • Improve business image with potential clients.

  • Provides tranquil environment in which to move, work or relax.

  • Contribute at least 75% of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ).


Indoor Plants Improve Air Quality

Many people don’t know that air pollution is usually higher indoors than outside, even in the heart of the city and that majority of air-conditioning systems are not designed to remove outdoor pollutants from air drawn into the building.

As polluted outdoor air moves indoors, it mixes with more indoor contaminants from gas appliances and VOCs from plastic, synthetic (i.e. petroleum-derived) furnishings, solvents, etc.  

Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have carried out laboratory and real-world office studies on the ability of indoor plants to reduce VOCs, CO2 and CO on exposure.

After a week of exposure, all plant species worked equally well to remove VOCs within 24 hours. 

In essence the plant system - leaves, roots and potting media - take VOCs from the air such as benzene and formaldehyde released by furnishings, carpets, photocopiers, printers and other building materials and send oxygen back into the environment.


Indoor plants improve air quality in buildings, as:

  • Indoor air is usually more polluted than outdoors:

      • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitting from plastics/synthetics, in furniture, fittings, computers, printers, etc. cause loss of concentration, headaches, eye, nose and throat problems. 

      • CO2 (breathing), causes drowsiness, heavy-head, lowered concentration.                                                                                                                                                  

    • Indoor plants can reduce:

        • Nitrogen and sulfur oxides

        • Air toxins/ pollutants/ Ozone

    The UTS Research, conducted over the last 15 years, has shown that indoor plants can reduce:

    • VOCs by over 80% 

    • All plant species equally effective and works 24/7. 

    • And 20 cm pots are as effective as 30 cm pots

    • CO2 (Carbon dioxide) by 10-25%

    • Exchanged for equal amount of O2 (oxygen)

    • The more foliage the better for CO2 removal. Optimise CO2 reduction by placing plants according to their recommended light requirements

    • CO (carbon monoxide) by up to 90% 

    Plants Can Help Reduce Sickness:

    Another key study was carried out at the offices of the Norwegian State Oil Company by Tove Fjeld. She examined the effect of indoor plants on health and discomfort among a group of office workers. Data from 12 different symptoms were collected, including fatigue, headache, dry facial skin and dry skin on the hands, coughing, and eye irritation. 

    Over three months, considerably fewer health problems were reported by those people with plants. Fatigue and headache fell by 30% and 20% respectively, hoarseness and a dry throat fell by around 30%, coughing by around 40% and dry facial skin fell by around 25%.


    Noise reduction:

    Research by Peter Costa of South Bank University in London, have demonstrated that plants can be effective at reducing background noise. Species selection and positioning are crucial to achieve these effects.


    Indoor Plants Help Improve Business Image with Potential Clients:

    Surveys show plants in the foyer and office spaces give the perception that the company is:

    • Trustworthy

    • Warm and welcoming. Not mean

    • Stable, balanced and well-run

    • Patient and caring. Concerned for staff welfare

    • Comfortable to work with

    • Prepared to spend on added beauty and providing a healthier, cleaner atmosphere.


    Indoor Plants Contribute To At Least 75% of Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Criteria

    IEQ criterion

    Indoor Plants

    Air pollution mitigation

    Reduce all types of urban air pollution

    Low Emitting Materials

    Absorb toxic emissions - VOCs etc

    Ventilation effectiveness

    Increase effectiveness - remove CO2/add O2


    OK for Plants - OK for staff also


    Absorb & buffer noise


    Add aesthetics & calming greenery; lower stress

    Thermal comfort

    Not directly influenced but tend to stabilise humidity in human comfort zone, so could have unquantified effects here  

    Systems controllability

    Not directly influenced but stabilisation of temperature and humidity could lower air-con. energy consumption