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How I make my apartment still feel alive (when my plants keep dying)

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NOVEMBER 08, 2022

My plants keep dying. They understandably don’t like being in my low-light apartment and, even though I have them all as close to the window as possible, they’ve been withering pretty consistently. At this point, my plants represent a sort of bio-Darwinism, where only the hardiest have survived.

After an appropriate amount of mourning, I’ve found ways to replace the color and liveliness of the plants that used to decorate my apartment.


This is a pretty obvious answer to a lack of color or beauty in a space. I have a big mix of art in my studio – everything from posters hanging on the walls to my friends’ paintings propped on my desk. Art isn’t just limited to paper, either. Sculptures, vases, origami – anything that qualifies as an “accent piece” can be seen as art, and a little goes a long way.


Although mirrors don’t replace the color that plants have, they help expand and light up a space, making it seem clean and fresh the same way a plant would. Hanging up a full-length mirror (or whatever size works for you) reflects the light coming at it, which makes its surroundings seem brighter and roomier. This is a must-have method for decorating smaller spaces.


Not only do extra pillows and throw blankets add to the comfort of your apartment, but they can add much-needed color, as well. Once you decide on a set of shades and patterns that go well together, you can add these touches anywhere in your home to make it seem bright, inviting and cohesive. Also, pillows and blankets are easy to move around, so you can keep your place looking fresh even by moving a pillow from your bed to a chair or changing the fold of a blanket.

Warm Light

If your apartment doesn’t get too much sun, make it seem like it does. Whereas bright, white light makes a place seem stark and industrial, warm light makes a home feel cozy. I use this lighting to imitate what I lack from the sun to create a bright, lively environment. 

Bonus Tip: Wallpaper or Paint

Most of us are stuck with those classic, boring gray walls that every apartment has and are banned from changing them. However, for those with the freedom to paint their walls or those with the patience and bravery to try out those peel-and-stick wallpapers, changing the gray to something brighter and colorful is a no-brainer. I’ve included this as a bonus tip because I haven’t had the opportunity to try this myself but have seen some very stunning results in other apartments. If you’ve found some removable wallpaper with great reviews or are willing to risk your security deposit, try this out and let me know how it goes.

These are just a few of many ways to brighten up your space – the things that worked for me. If you have an especially green thumb, however, do what I could never do and grow a little plant in your space.

Contact Daisy Friedman at 


NOVEMBER 09, 2022