Yes, houseplants are a great way to connect your home to nature, and reap the benefits we're always told about in biophilic design. However, the simple fact remains that some people just aren't cut out to be plant parents. Whether you're forgetful when it comes to watering them, never know the right spots in your home to place them, or if you're just as mystified by your plant-killing powers as the next person, there are other ways to bring the outdoors in.
Just this week, we spotted one of our favorite pieces of nature-inspired decor in the home of Sofia Vergara, on the Modern Family star and America's Got Talent judge's coffee table no less.
The decor in question? The moss bowl. It's one of our favorite centerpieces for dining tables, consoles and coffee tables to bring a touch of nature to your home. Plus, it's low maintenance, and you can't kill it. Here's why it's our (and Sofia's) pick for nature-inspired coffee table decor.
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What are preserved moss bowls?
The reason why preserved or dried moss bowls are an indoor garden addition that's impossible to kill, is that they're not actually alive. The moss in this decor has either been dried, or carefully preserved, so that it looks just like live moss without needing water or any other upkeep.
The benefits speak for themselves as a decorative object in your home. 'Preserved moss as decor adds a natural elegance to a room through its biophilic connection, visual aesthetics, low maintenance, and sustainability,' says Roza Grigoryan, founder of Naturesafe Designs, a Los Angeles-based maker of preserved moss centerpieces. 'It can be customized to fit various design styles and serves as a conversation starter.'
'Moss vases (or bowls) with a modern touch take this concept to the next level by incorporating preserved moss into contemporary, sleek vase designs,' Roza adds. 'These vases blend the appeal of nature with modern aesthetics, creating a unique and stylish decor piece that complements both traditional and contemporary interior design themes.'
Preserved moss tends to be a little brighter and more vibrant than dried moss, mainly due to the preservation process, which often includes a natural dye to help retain the color it had when it was alive.
Do they need much maintenance?
Preserved and dried moss doesn't have the same requirements as a live plant, but it's not quite the same as having something like an artificial plant in your home.
'Preserved moss centerpieces can last for several years if well-maintained,' Roza tells us. 'Their longevity depends on factors such as the quality of preservation, the environment they're placed in, and the care they receive.'
There are a few things you should know to keep them looking their best for longer. 'If your moss centerpiece is exposed to direct sunlight, it may fade over time,' Roza explains. 'To maintain its vibrant color, place it in a location with indirect or diffused light.'
You should handle it minimally, too. 'Moss is delicate, and excessive touching can cause it to break apart or lose its texture. Handle it with care, and avoid touching it unnecessarily,' Roza tells us. 'Exposure to moisture can also damage it. Keep your moss table centerpiece in a dry environment to ensure its longevity.'
In terms of actual upkeep, it just needs a little general maintenance when cleaning your coffee table. 'Occasionally dust the moss with a soft, dry brush or compressed air to keep it clean,' Roza advises. 'Be gentle to avoid damaging the delicate moss structure.'
How do you find a good moss bowl?
They sell preserved moss decor all over, from handmade marketplaces like Etsy, big retailers like Amazon, and in smaller boutiques interiors stores. What you'll need to know for a centerpiece that looks as good as Sofia's is how to find a good quality one.
The first thing to make note of? The smell. 'A well-preserved moss centerpiece should not emit any unpleasant or musty odors,' says Roza. 'Any off-putting smells may indicate poor preservation or quality.'
The color of the moss is also a giveaway as to whether it's been preserved properly. 'The moss should have a rich, natural color. High-quality preserved moss retains its original green hue and does not look faded or discolored,' Roza explains. 'It should also maintain its soft, velvety texture, closely resembling that of live moss. It should not feel brittle or rough to the touch.'
'A good-quality moss centerpiece should closely mimic the appearance of live moss in nature,' Roza concludes. 'It should have a realistic, organic look with well-preserved details, such as the moss's natural branching patterns.'
Whether you buy a pre-prepared moss bowl, or create your own using preserved moss and your own choice of decor, it's a coffee table, dining table or even kitchen island centerpiece idea that's impactful, but so easy to achieve.
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Hugh is the Editor of Livingetc.com. From working on a number of home, design and property publications and websites, including Grand Designs, ICON and specialist kitchen and bathroom magazines, Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture, impactful interiors and green homes. Whether moonlighting as an interior decorator for private clients or renovating the Victorian terrace in Essex where he lives (DIYing as much of the work as possible), you’ll find that Hugh has an overarching fondness for luxurious minimalism, abstract shapes and all things beige. He’s just finished a kitchen and garden renovation, and has eyes set on a bathroom makeover for 2023.
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