Monday, March 28, 2016

Studio Equipment : Plants

-By Dan dos Santos

Like many artists, I keep a Hepa Grade air filter in my studio that I run periodically if I happen to be painting with a lot of paint thinner or varnish. And although we have discussed air quality and safety before, and will discuss the specifics of that filter in another post, there is an even easier way that you can quickly improve the overall air quality of your studio almost immediately...


Not only will plants convert the CO2 in your stale studio air into Oxygen (providing you with better, more energizing air), but plants can remove an amazing range of toxins from the air as well, including some toxins that even an expensive air filter won't get.

NASA recently conducted a Clean Air Study to identify the best air-filtering indoor plants, and compiled a list of the 18 best plants for improving air quality. All of these plants can be commonly found at local flower shops, or even the Wal-Mart Garden Center.

This infographic (kindly made by lists those 18 NASA-recommended plants, and also lists the common toxins that each plant can treat.

It's important to know that if you work at home, putting plants in the studio alone may not necessarily be enough. The way my house is set-up, air is continuously collected throughout the whole house, gathered, filtered and redistributed through pumps and vents. So for my family, it's important that we have many plants spread throughout our entire home (and not just the studio) since all of the air is shared.

I also opt for for plants that are extremely easy to take care of. Personally, I have a lot of Philodendron in my house, which are damn near indestructible. And although the Philodendron isn't included on this particular list, it is well-renown as being a great air purifier, particularly the Heartleaf (Philodendron scandens ‘oxycardium’), Selloum (Philodendron selloum), and Elephant Ear Philodendron (Philodendron domesticum) varieties.

Now that Spring is here for many of us, it's a wonderful time to go to a local garden center and pick up a few plants for your studio. A nice plant shouldn't cost much more than $20, and and will not only improve the quality of air in your studio, but it also adds a splash of color and vibrancy to your work environment. I have personally found that having a living plant in your studio just seems to make it so much more inviting and enjoyable to work in.


  1. Thanks for the great post! I love how much plants can improve the aesthetics of a room and watching them constantly transform themselves is so exciting! In case anyone here has cats or dogs who eat plants to death like I do, or you just want to be cautious, here's a list that cross references many of the plants in the infographic with their toxicity or lack thereof to pets:

    1. Thank you, Sam! My dog is much too short to reach any of mine, so those types of considerations didn't even cross my mind.

  2. Yes, please be careful, especially with cats who jump where they are not supposed to be. After one curious bite and chew on a Peace Lily, my beloved Mr Boots died a painful death 2 days later of kidney failure. We didn't know. We live with that guilt; so we try to pass on the knowledge so others will know.

  3. Thanks for this post. I always wondered if just a couple or more plants made that much of a difference in air quality and cleaning the air. Just have to remember to water them since dead plants don't do much. I am really bad at remembering.