Design Tips | Pretty, Hard to Kill, Air Purifying House Plants

Air-purifying house plants are an essential element of almost every space I design, and botanicals have been trending in the interiors world for a while.

Plants help create visual balance in well-designed interiors. Organic elements always play nicely with sharper angles.

Plants also have health benefits, filtering toxins and improving air quality.

The NASA clean air study is one of my go-to, if slightly unexpected, design resources. It highlights the plants best at filtering specific toxins from the air, and if you’re going to add greenery to your interiors (almost a necessity in my book), there’s no reason it shouldn’t be functional as well as beautiful. Many of the plants on the list are easy to look after even if you don’t have a green thumb, and I know this because I’ve tested them.

Air Purifying, Hard to Kill Plants

Here’s a quick run-down on a few of my favourite easy to maintain, air purifying house plants. I’m only listing plants that I have personally owned and managed to keep alive, despite my black thumb. For a full list, check out the NASA study.

{Areca or Golden Cane Palm}

  • Filters: xylene and toluene
  • Bonus: Plants over 1.8m tall work as effective air humidifiers

Pictured in Eclectic Living Room Reveal

{Peace Lily}

  • Filters: benzene, formaldehyde, trichlorethylene, xylene, toluene and ammonia

Pictured in Eclectic Living Room Reveal

{Snake Plant}

  • Filters: benzene, formaldehyde, trichlorethylene, xylene and toluene

I have a snake plant in every bedroom in my own home, and I always recommend them to clients if we’re working on a bedroom. Unlike most air purifying plants, they omit oxygen at night rather than during the day, so they’re perfect for sleeping spaces. They’re also incredibly difficult to kill and need little light or water.

Pictured in Global Boho Girl’s Room and Neutral Master Bedroom

{Dracaena Marginata}

  • Filters: benzene, formaldehyde, trichlorethylene, xylene and toluene

Pictured in Summer Home Tour

{Cornstalk Dracena or Happy Plant}

Corn Plants by Patch
{Via Patch}
  • Filters: benzene, formaldehyde and trichlorethylene


Orchid in gold planter
  • Filters: xylene and toluene

Pictured in Industrial Living Room

Admittedly orchids aren’t the easiest air purifying plant to keep alive, but they usually last a while and they’re pretty when they flower.

Where to Buy

My go-to places for buying house plants online include Amazon and Patch Plants. Otherwise, Ikea or Homebase stores tend to have a good, affordable selection.


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