Psychological And Physiological Benefits Of Plants In The Indoor Environment: A Mini And In-Depth Review




indoor plants, indoor environment quality, psychological and physiological benefits, volatile organic compound


People tend to spend approximately 87% of their time in the indoor environment. There is a possibility that they are exposed to volatile organic compound (VOC) and particle pollution, and to experience stress related disorder. This has potential threaten the well-being of indoor occupants if left untreated. Hence, plants were introduced to alleviate these negative impacts. This paper reviews past literature from 1990 to 2010s, to examine the relationship of plants with indoor environment and identifies how they influence people, psychologically and physiologically, and how they promote indoor environment quality. Most studies suggest that the presence of plants is associated with positive feelings and able to enhance productivity. In addition, they also may help to promote general health such as reducing blood pressure, perceived stress, sick building syndrome, and increase pain tolerance of the patient. Moreover, plants also help in improving the indoor environment quality (IEQ), for instance, they can reduce carbon dioxide (CO2), indoor ozone (O3) level, VOC, and particulate matter accumulation through bioremediation process. Despite all the benefits that the plants could offer, several studies pointed out that factors such as gender, perceived attractiveness of the space, physical characteristics of plants, and methods of interaction with plants may lead to non-identical results. Hence, the selection of the right species of plant in an indoor environment becomes mandatory in order to improve the indoor environment quality; to provide restorative effect; to invoke positive feelings and comfort of the people. In conclusion, this review may provide notable insights to landscape architects, gardeners and even interior designers to choose the right species of plant in an indoor environment, to maximize their psychological and physiological benefits, at the same time, improving indoor environment quality.

Author Biography

Lee Bak Yeo, School of Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment (FOBE), Tunku Abdul Rahman University College, Jalan Tun Razak 50400 Kuala Lumpur

Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment


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