Q&A Sundays: Using Feng Shui Crystal Balls

I bought a feng shui crystal a long time ago because it was pretty but I have no idea how to use it properly in my home. Help!

Jennifer K., Yonkers, NY

Feng shui crystals are used to adjust the flow of energy in a space. They are particularly effective for bringing light, brilliance and clarity to home or office space. Feng shui crystal balls are made of faceted glass, as shown here. I often recommend Swarovski leaded crystal glass balls, which refract the most light because of the lead content. Note, the lead is not harmful to you.

These feng shui crystals are easy to find online (check out the crystals at my store), and they come in various sizes. For feng shui purposes, most interior spaces should use crystals of 40mm or larger. In feng shui, it is also very important to hang feng shui crystal balls using a red cord.  Red is a very auspicious color and represents protection.  It’s even better if the cord can be a length that equals a multiple of 9 – like 9”, 18,” 27” etc.

Although there are many applications for feng shui crystals, they are best prescribed by a feng shui practitioner. However, there are some general uses that I can share with you.

Bring Light to your Entry 

Place a feng shui crystal ball in a dark or small entry to expand the space and attract positive energy, which then disperses the good chi into your home.

Clarity for your Mediation practice

Place a feng shui crystal ball above your meditation seat or just in front of you such that you can see it. It will expand and provide clarity in your practice to create harmony and peace within your inner and outer spaces.

Focus your Career

Place a feng shui crystal ball directly above your head while sitting at your desk. Be sure it’s fastened well and secured. The crystal will assist in focusing your energy specifically in light of your career and the work you do.

You can also click HERE to watch an eHow.com video on how to use feng shui crystals.

Thank you for your question Jennifer. It is actually a common one, and hope it helps you and the other readers. 

by Anjie Cho


Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our a unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish. Visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com.


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


Chinese Zodiac for 2019: Year of the Earth Pig

Chinese Zodiac for 2019 -  Year of the Earth Pig.jpg

Happy New Year, and welcome 2019! The Chinese New Year is coming up very soon as well, on February 5. In just a few weeks, we’ll welcome the Year of the Earth Pig, so check below for insight for the coming year, and remember that even challenging years can bring great results!

I’m a Dragon, so the Year of the Dog was challenging for me, but with the help of my good friend, Laura Morris, who is a Rat, we launched our new feng shui school, Mindful Design Feng Shui School. Through the school, we’re excited to offer a Golden Cicada class to welcome the lunar new year. This is an especially powerful ritual for Snakes and Monkeys, since these signs clash with the Pig, but everyone can benefit from these practices! You can also find a Golden Cicada ritual kit, which includes a tiger charm, on Holistic Spaces here.

BTB Feng Shui always recommends carrying a three-dimensional charm to welcome good luck and protection each year. This year, since the Tiger is the Pig’s best friend, we recommend a three-dimensional tiger charm, available in the color of your choice in the Holistic Spaces store! Don't forget to check out our 2019 Chinese New Year Kit (available here) as well for a tiger charm, custom aromastick and Happy Mist!

*Please note, if your birthday is between January 1 and February 4, your animal sign is the preceding year.  
*Lunar months can shift a day or two each year, so if you are born on the cusp of the Chinese month you may need to double check.

Rat 子

Years: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008

Rats are best friends with Dragons, Snakes, Monkeys, and especially Oxen! Because Rats are in a neutral relationship to the Pig. this year will be generally good. And we recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

In January, February and March, you have very good potential with money and fortune. It’s a good time for investments and financial opportunities. Try activating your front door for more opportunities or the Abundance area for more wealth.

Be careful in April, May, June, July and August. Be sure to be flexible and open. But also take extra precautions for safety and your physical health. The Health area of the bagua map would be a good place to start.

September and October are more auspicious months, and will be a good time to make plans and start new projects. The New Beginnings area of the feng shui map might benefit and support in these months.

Be cautious again for the rest of the year in November, December and January 2020. Be careful and selective with who you will trust. There is possibility for unexpected accidents. Activate Benefactors so you will be surrounded by more helpful people in your life at this time.


Ox 丑

Years: 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009

Oxen are best friends with Snakes, Roosters and especially with Rats! Although there is no clash with the Pig, this year will prove challenging and bumpy. So, we recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

Be careful in the start of this year in January, February and March. There may be difficult people and legal issues. Stay stable and wait it out. Activate the Benefactors area of the bagua map so you will be surrounded by more helpful people in your life at this time.

April is a better month, with opportunities for recognition. Maybe it’s good time to bring some fire into the Recognition area of your desk.

May, June, July and August are also months where you can be more cautious. If you’re traveling, be sure to take care of yourself. If you have a health problem, take care of it.

September see more opportunities for recognition, maybe even the same ones that came up in April. Use what you learned earlier and be modest in your spending.

There is caution again for October, November, December and January 2020. However in December things really do perk up and there is opportunities for good fortune if you work hard. During this four month period it may be helpful to work with the Abundance area of your home and business.


Tiger 寅

Years: 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010

Tigers are best friends with Horses, Dogs and especially with Pigs! Tiger and Pig are best friends in the Chinese Zodiac, so this means it’s a super auspicious year! And we recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support!

It’s smooth sailing during January, February, March and April. Everything has potential to do well, including your energy, finances and love life. Be careful not to overspend all the money that comes in! If there’s an area of your life that you want to work on, activate that area during these months.

Be cautious in May, June, July, August and September, especially concerning finances and investments. June is an auspicious month within this time period. But be careful with money during this entire time period. It may be helpful to activate your Abundance area with something earthy for stability.

October and November sees more improvement in overall luck, but pay attention to your health.

Finally in December and January 2020, keep your eyes open and be careful with who you get involved with, especially financially. Again probably a good month to activate the Abundance and Benefactors area.


Rabbit 卯

Years: 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011

Rabbits are best friends with Rams, Pigs and Dogs. Rabbit and Pig are in harmony and have a very good relationship, so it makes for a good year for the Rabbit.

Be cautious in January, February, March, April, May and June. Watch out for your health and any legal problems. But remember overall you have a good year with the support of others. It’s beneficial to carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

July , August, September and October are very good, and you have luck on your side. Again, remember you always have the support of others and you can also be generous and mirror their generosity. Just be careful in September in terms of health, finances and legal issues.

November, December and January 2020 are times to be cautious. Work hard and again, remember you have helpful people in your life. The more you give the more you receive. It’s a good time to activate the Benefactors and Abundance areas. Contemplate on what generosity means to you and how you can cultivate this practice in your life.


Dragon 辰

Years: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000

Dragons are best friends with Rats, Monkeys and Roosters. Dragon and Pig are in a neutral year so 2019 will be pretty good, especially considering that the previous Dog year was a clash. We also recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

The year starts out pretty good in January and February. It’s advised to remain flexible at this time and strengthen any areas you want to work on.

March, April, May, June and July are more challenging, a time to be careful. April is a clash to the Dragon so take care of your health. Activate the Health area and take care of yourself.

August and September are auspicious months for the dragon. Jump on anything that arises. This is a good time to manifest your wishes.

October, November, December through January 2020 are again times to be cautious. Rest and take care of your own business. Health again would be a good area to activate. Take care of yourself and let others be.


Snake 巳

Years: 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

Snakes are best friends with Oxen, Rooster and Monkey. Snakes clash with the Pig, so it’s very important in BTB feng shui to practice the Golden Cicada Ritual. If you’re interested, there is a class available here. We also highly recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

January, February, March, April and May are generally good. In February, there is an exception - where it will be quite challenging. It’s a good time to change up your environment and look at your friendships. Otherwise, most aspects of your life will be promising.

June, July, and August are months to be careful of your health and investments. Take care of yourself and rest. It would be helpful to activate the Health and Abundance areas of the bagua.

There is improvement with your luck in September and October. Your career has opportunities for improvement, so be sure to activate the Path in Life area of the bagua!

November, December and January 2020 are months to be cautious again. But with the clash to the year, remember there’s much to learn and you can grow tremendously. Just practice self-care, and you can improve this by working on the Relationship area which is about self-love.


Horse 午

Years: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002

Horses are best friends with Tigers, Dogs and Rams. Horse and Pig are in a neutral year.

January, February, March and April are auspicious times for the Horse. Most areas in your life have potential for luck and improvement. Activating the Benefactors area is going to be super important to attract helpful people at this time.

Be cautious in May, June, July, August, and September. Be careful in all areas of your life including health, travel, friends, and law suits. We recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

October is a very good month for you. Take advantage of this time! Activate the one feng shui bagua area you want to improve.

November, December and January 2020 are months to be cautious again. Be flexible. Activate the Benefactors area so you can be supported and bring in other energies at this time.


Ram 未

Years: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003

Rams are best friends Pigs, Rabbits and Horses. Since the Ram is in harmony with the Pig, 2019 will be a good year! Regardless, we recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

January, February, March, April and May are months to be cautious. Slow down and hang out with positive and healthy people. This will keep your qi healthy and prosperous. If you do things with the right intention, things will turn out well. Activate the health area to protect you and your family.

June is an auspicious month for travel and business. The Benefactors area is also related to travel, so that would be a good one to work with.

July, August, September, October, November, December and January 2020 are all months to again be careful. Be careful with your health and avoid too much stress. Take the time to strengthen your Health area of your home so everyone in your home and family can benefit. But remember, Ram is in harmony with Pig so overall it’s a good year (even with a few bumps).


Monkey 申

Years: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004

Monkeys are best friends with Dragons, Rats and Snakes. Monkey has a challenging relationship to the Pig, so be aware. But many good things can come! We also recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support. It’s also very important in BTB feng shui to practice the Golden Cicada Ritual because you’re a clash to the year. If you’re interested, there is a class available here

January, February, March and April are generally good. Just be cautious in February, when there will be some ups and downs. Just keep an eye on your health, and activate the Health area for extra support.

May, June, July, August, September are months to be careful. Stay safe and be flexible with others, including family. Stay stable and still.

October, November, December, and January 2020 are good months overall. However again be super cautious especially in November and January, where you will see ups and downs again. Be careful!


Rooster 酉

Years: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005

Roosters are best friends with Snakes, Oxen and Dragons. Roosters has a neutral relationship to the Pig, so we recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.

January, February, and March are months to be careful with your health. It’s important to be diligent and work hard at this time. Activating the health area in the entire home would help with any family health issues.

April, May, June, and July starts off very well, but it’s also a time to be cautious and work with helpful people or travel. The Benefactors area of the bagua map is also related to travel, so this is a good gua to activate.

August, September, October, November, December, and January 2020 are all months to be cautious and flexible especially regarding your finances, and lawsuits. Try to get along with everyone and go with the flow, so that you can make this half of the year more beneficial. Activating the New Beginnings area of the bagua map may help to cultivate more flexibility in your life.


Dog 戌

Years: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018

Dogs are best friends with Tigers, Horses and Rabbits. They are in a neutral relationship with the Pig. For extra good luck and support, we recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) this year.

January, February and March are quite auspicious months. You’ll start the year with improvements to your career. You can activate the Path in Life area to support this good flow of qi.

April and May are more challenging months. Be careful and stay home, take care of yourself. The self-care area of the bagua map is the Relationship area, so take some time to activate that.

June is a very lucky month. Make a effort to put anything in motion that you want to manifest.

July, August, September, October, November, December, and January 2020 are all months to be cautious. Support your health especially. It may be a good time to activate the Health area of the bagua map for this part of the year.


Pig 亥

Years: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
Pigs are best friends with Rabbits, Rams and Tigers. This is why we recommend you carry a 2019 charm (Tiger) with you for extra support.. because the Tiger is the best relationship with the Pig.

You may think that since it’s the year of the Pig, it would be a very lucky year for anyone born in the year of the Pig. But in fact, it’s a very challenging year, so it’s very important in BTB feng shui to practice the Golden Cicada Ritual. If you’re interested, there is a class available here

January, February and March are better months. It will be a rocky start, but your work and finances may improve. Just be cautious!

April, May, June, July, and August are the most challenging months. Be careful when traveling, with your health and be kind to your family. It would be helpful to activate the Benefactors (travel) and the Health areas of the bagua map.

September, October, November, December, and January 2020 are all months to be cautious. September and December are good, but for the months all around, please be careful. Again, best to carry the charm and perform the Golden Cicada ritual.


Much of this information is derived from the Dr. Edgar Sung’s Classic Chinese Almanac. If you’re interested, please purchase the almanac for Year of the Earth Pig.

OR, If you're really interested in more personal, in-depth predictions, please reach out to a Four Pillars or Bazi practitioner for a consultation!


Don’t forget to grab your three-dimensional tiger charm this year, here at Holistic Spaces!

You can also find our Chinese New Year kits here for the Year of the Pig!

If you’re interested in the Golden Cicada ritual, check out event information here and enroll!


Dive deeper into feng shui to transform your life!

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Create sacred spaces that support, and nourish.

visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com


Chinese Zodiac for 2018: Year of the Earth Dog

Chinese Zodiac for 2018 - Year of the Earth Dog.jpg

Happy New Year! The Chinese New Year is also coming up, and Beth Grace, of Beth Grace Design, is here again to share this year's horoscopes for the Chinese zodiac! In almost one month exactly, we will say goodbye to the Year of the Fire Rooster and hello to the Year of the Earth Dog. Peek below for some insight into what's in store for your sign in the year ahead!

Remember, BTB Feng Shui always recommends carrying a three-dimensional rabbit charm (regardless of your sign) to welcome good luck and protection in 2018, since the Rabbit is the Dog's best friend. As usual, you can grab a charm in your favorite color in the Holistic Spaces store! Don't forget to check out our 2018 Chinese New Year Kit as well for a rabbit charm, custom aromastick and Happy Mist!

*Please note, if your birthday is between January 1 and February 4 your animal sign is the same as the preceding year.  
**In addition to your year animal, you can see which animals are in your chart based on the month of your birth by simply following the date guidelines listed for each animal. Calculating your day animal requires assistance of either software or a Chinese astrology consultant, but it is easily obtained so just ask!
***Chinese months can shift a day or two each year, so if you are born on the cusp of the Chinese month you may need to double check.

Dog 戌

Years: 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006
Month: October 8 - November 6

Dog people, this is your year, literally. All eyes are on you, and your hard efforts are more likely to be noticed this year, no more hiding in the shadows. This is also an excellent year to hone your skills or add new skills to your CV, as you have the ability to attain mastery if you apply yourself. Just don’t overbook or over schedule yourself, as you are more prone to health issues this year. Taking care of yourself should be a priority. While there may be some bumps along the way, you are generally in sync with the energy of this year, which puts you in the flow to accomplish your goals.

Pig 亥

Years: 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007
Month: November 7 - December 6

Pig, you are one of the luckiest animals this year, and the stars are on your side. While you may find your star rising and the center of attention don’t overlook those around you who may need your help. You should share your good fortune this year and make helping others a priority; what you give will come back to you many times over. In general, this is a year of happy events and celebrations. Pig people, if you are looking for love you may find a life partner this year if you are willing to take the chance. Those already committed may hear the pitter patter of little feet as babies and grandchildren may add to your joy. The only thing stopping you this year is you - make sure you put your words into action and there is very little you can’t do.

Rat 子

Years: 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
Month: December 7 - January 6

Rat people can expect a pretty lucky year overall. If you are not on social media already you really should consider setting up an account. If you have social media accounts that are rather dormant, it's time to dust them off and make them work for you. A little social media effort can go a long way for you this year, as you are more likely to be seen and you may even find posts going viral. Show the world what you have to offer! If you feel like you need to polish yourself before putting yourself out there, this year is a great year to hone your skills or learn some new things. Time spent learning and improving yourself is never wasted, and this year you will be able to learn more than usual. Just make sure to schedule time for self care and well being amidst your other activities, as this year as you may be more challenged by health issues. So make maintaining yours a priority.

Ox 丑

Years: 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
Month: January 7 - February 3

Ox, you are one of the lucky ones this year. This year will empower you for career growth and wealth creation. Your employer is likely to notice your value to the company with a raise or promotion. Those who work for themselves are also likely to have great success this year, especially when it comes to connecting to the right people. If you find yourself struggling at any point this year, make sure to ask for help, as you will receive it so be sure to speak up and ask! Just be sure not to get too carried away by your success this year; pace yourself and be sure to invest some of your extra earnings for the future. 

Tiger 寅

Years: 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
Month: February 4- March 5

Tigers, you generally enjoy the energy of the Dog, but this year may not be all smooth sailing. You may find petty people and gossip surround you, but issues and obstacles can be overcome by with the help of noblemen  - you should look to your greater social network for the right people to get you out of sticky situations. If you are willing to put in the right amount of effort, you can make good strides in your career and with your finances this year. With the right attitude and hard work you could see yourself rewarded with a promotion so hang tough!

Rabbit 卯

Years: 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
Month: March 6 - April 4

Rabbits and Dogs get on like peanut butter and jelly, so this should be a good year for you and a welcome respite after the challenges that the Rooster year likely brought to you. You should find things coming to you more easily this year. If the Rooster year changes included an end to your relationship, never fear, as you may find yourself on the receiving end of romantic attention this year. You may find yourself feeling flirty and ready for fun, so don’t stay home; get out there and enjoy the attention. The only thing you may have to watch out for is your health, so make sure to take care of you too.

Dragon 辰

Years: 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000
Month: April 5 - May 5

Dragon people, this is your clash year, and before you go into fear mode just remember that clashes bring change, not necessarily doom and gloom. Change is inevitable, so embrace it and direct the force of change if possible. External circumstances could bring challenges and curve balls, but you get to decide what to do about it and how you want to handle it. If you are feeling like you are stuck or stagnating, then change can be a welcome force that brings something new and wonderful into your life. So be on the lookout for happy surprises as well. One change that is common during a clash year is moving. If you find you are not happy where you are, then this is a great time to pick somewhere more supportive to you and go. Remember, Fate is what happens to us; Destiny is what we make of it. Your challenge this year is not to be a victim of fate but a person who charts their own destiny. You can do it!

Snake 巳

Years: 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
Month: May 6 - June 5

Snake people, last year was likely full of ups and downs, but this year should be calmer waters and smooth sailing ahead. Heaven is smiling on you now, and any troubles you have lingering from last year can be overcome with relative ease this year. You will have no shortage of people working with you and helping you to achieve your goals this year. You will also have access to more resources this year, so its a great year to raise capital and kick off a new venture, as you will also have greater access to powerful people who can help you realize your plans. Single Snakes will also be lucky with relationships this year; you may even find love at first sight. There seems to be no shortage of heavenly blessings coming your way this year, so be grateful for each one.

Horse 午

Years: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002
Month: June 6 - July 6

Horse people, get ready to take charge this year. New opportunities could arise for leadership positions, so be ready to step up to the challenge. Increased responsibility and leadership could also come with financial rewards, and you may also see your assets increase in value as well. If you are thinking of cashing in on the increased value of property, this should be a great time to sell for a good price. You are one of the luckiest animals of the year, but don’t get too cocky or to take on dangerous activities, as you are more prone to accidents. This is a good year to skip the skydiving and make sure you have good insurance instead.

Goat 未

Years: 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003
Month: July 7 - August 7

You are one of the lucky ones this year, Goat folks. In general, this will be a year of fun times, and you will likely find yourself with a full social calendar. You may find yourself enjoying many parties and events this year. However, all those parties may add to your waistline, as you are more prone to weight gain this year - remember all things in moderation. In general, you will find plenty of people at your side helping you to reach your goals and overcome any challenges that come your way. It should be a fun and prosperous year for you, so enjoy it!

Monkey 申

Years: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004
Month: August 8 - September 7

Monkey people, you may feel a bit out of sync this year. Some of the ups and downs of the Rooster year may continue into this year; some new challenges pop up as well but, with the right frame of mind you should be able to overcome them. What is working for you this year is the Intelligence Star, which gives you great ideas and a boost to any course of study you undertake. This is an excellent year to challenge yourself and learn new things. It’s also a good year for you to travel, as there is always so much to learn from new people and places - all in all it's a great year to expand your horizons!

Rooster 酉

Years: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005
Month: September 8 - October 7

Rooster, as your year comes to a close you may feel let down after riding such a high, but it is also a good time to get off the ride and take a time out. You are likely coming into this year a bit tired and run down. This year it is really important to recharge physically and take care of yourself, as you are more vulnerable to illness. Your focus should be on rest, good diet, mental health and spiritual cultivation. It's a good year to make healthy eating and more exercise your resolutions for this year and stick to them to ensure you come out of the Dog year strong and ready to tackle the Pig year in 2019.

As always, thank you, Beth for sharing your suggestions for the Year of the Earth Dog. If you're interested in more personal, in-depth predictions, please reach out to Beth for a consultation! Also remember, feng shui recommends a three-dimensional rabbit charm this year, no matter what your animal signs. Grab one in your choice of six colors on Holistic Spaces!


Beth is the founder of Beth Grace Design, launched in 2008 to use love of textiles and experience in Decorative Arts to help clients create beauty within their homes. Over the past 8 years, Beth and her work have evolved to include feng shui, design, space clearing, water dowsing, and Chinese astrology. Her training as a certified feng shui practitioner and space clearer has deepened her awareness of space and informs her decisions as a designer. Using feng shui principles of balance and harmony, Beth is able to create spaces that not only look good, but feel good as well. She is passionate about creating healthy, supportive spaces and believes in using natural materials and sustainable practices whenever possible. For more information about Beth, her astrology readings or feng shui, please visit her website, Beth Grace Design and sign up for her newsletter!


How to Grow Fresh Air

How to Grow Fresh Air.jpg

I've always been a fan of incorporating green houseplants into holistic spaces, as feng shui adjustments or just as a a way to brighten and liven up a room. As it turns out, there is actually science behind why we should all be aiming to bring a little nature into our spaces

In How to Grow Fresh Air, Dr. B. C. Wolverton goes in depth on how keeping certain plants indoors can help to alleviate some of the toxic materials we bring into our spaces on a regular basis. Wolverton gets pretty scientific, and his book is a fascinating read - I would definitely recommend it! In the meantime, we've cut out the basics for you. 

As we've discussed before, many of the items we bring into our households and workspaces can give off toxic gases, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In fact, combined with our own respiratory process and the trend of sealing spaces tightly to conserve energy, these gases have contributed to the fact that indoor air is now one of the top five major health concerns according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Fortunately, the respiration processes of plants actually absorb and use these toxic chemicals and give off the fresh oxygen we need to survive. Plants use the chemicals that are dangerous to us in their processes of making food, so they pull these gases into their soil ecosystems and out of our way. They also create air flow where there is none, which can help to clean our air as well. In fact, adding plants to our spaces actually mimics the way nature cleans our external air. 

Plants have actually been shown to relieve stress and clean the environment and have a measurable positive effect on indoor spaces and their inhabitants. NASA even created a "biohome", sealed for top energy-efficiency and stocked with houseplants. In comparing this space to a similar home without houseplants, scientists found that the presence of plants significantly reduced VOCs in the atmosphere and symptoms of sick building syndrome in occupants.  

In the winter, plants can even heighten room humidity to combat dry air, which can lead to colds, viruses and more, and they give off certain chemicals that help to reduce the instance of mold spores and bacteria. There is actually a six to eight cubic foot area of space known as a "personal breathing zone," and adding plants within this space can significantly improve the quality of air we breathe in. 

Fifty plants have been studied so far to determine their effects on air quality and indoor spaces, so there is quite a variety of options for welcoming green into your home. We've mentioned some of these before, like the snake plant, the Golden pothos, orchids and more. The list in How to Grow Fresh Air also includes classics like English Ivy, indoor tree options such as the Ficus Alii and the Dwarf Date Palm, flowering plants like Florist's Mum and Wax Begonias and more! You should check out the full list for your space, but here are our top eight choices!