Three Apartment Plants to Upgrade your Zen

There’s no better way to celebrate the coming of spring by adding greener colors to your life! Planting a range of plants in your apartment is a sure way to get into the spirit of spring and add clean air and zen to your space. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the perfect Chicago apartment plants, how to take care of them and where to get them!


Known for their bamboo plants and succulents, this hidden Chicago gem is located in Uptown! The best thing about the shop? The help you get inside! Yelp reviews rave about the type of help they receive and the staff is ready to help in every way!

Where to place: Bamboo plants and succulents range in care but they’re the easiest to take care of. Getting a few small succulents to place on your window sill is preferred because they need a ton of sunlight. Plus, succulents are soooo in right now.

Succulents and bamboo plants are usually in small pots. At Horizon, we love textured pots with neutral colors and white is our favorite.

Taking care: The trick to taking care of succulents is not to over-water them. The best way to do this is adding an ice cube to their pot once a week. If you notice a little bit of brown on their leaves, add another ice cube to the pot.

Asrai Garden

Asrai Garden is a great place to purchase unique bouquets. You won’t find any other bouquets like them anywhere else! Although many might think to pick one up for special occasions, a couple Sunday’s a year never hurt anyone!

Where to place: Unlike succulents and bamboo’s, bouquets are perfect for a centerpiece in the kitchen, dining room or coffee table. Simple and elegant, these flowers are perfect to keep for a week or two. If you’re terrible at keeping plants alive, these are for you!

Taking care: The perfect way to keep them in place is through a clear glass vase. These are easy to obtain and awesome to reuse for decoration. Adding a ribbon to a vase won’t hurt either. Just make sure it’s sturdy enough.

Since bouquets usually don’t last longer than a week (have you heard of the 80-week roses?!), making sure the water is fresh is the key to beautiful bouquets.

Old Town Gardens

Old Town Gardens is a staple of north-side planting. They have every type of plant imaginable and are a great alternative to Menards or Home Depot. We recommend purchasing large floor plants such as the bamboo palm, also known as Areca palm, or an aloe vera plant to destress your home and add peace and balance into the room.

Where to place: Purchasing an oversized bamboo plant and leaving it in a corner or next to a window can create an illusion of more space and a little more “homey.” We love planting bamboos in tall wicker baskets or a neutral black colored vase –whichever one you feel most comfortable with.

Taking care: Bamboo palms can very in height and some can even get as tall as 12 feet. Bamboos are relatively easy to take care of by just making sure their soil is moist. As soon as it’s too wet, take a step back. Be careful in not over-watering it. If the palm leaves ever become too dry, cut them off and move them to a warmer, brighter space.

Fall Decorating – Bring the Outside In

Fall is my favorite time of year and decorating is always about bringing the outside in. So when I decided to Fall-up the lobby mantle here at the Uptown Regency, I chose to keep the colors and feel of the décor exactly that… organic and simple.

The most important tip for decorating a mantle is to keep it balanced.  Nothing to heavy or tall on one side if you aren’t balancing the other side.

Here I just started layering… first some green leaves and tree limbs… then the pumpkins, squash, lemons and other natural elements.  I positioned the lanterns and then decided I needed something tall on either side.  I chose the two tall vases with the sunflowers to tie in all the colors and textures.  And the finished project is perfect for fall right thru Thanksgiving.  Maybe you prefer Halloween décor instead… just remember if you do a mantle for that you will have to change it again once November 1 hits… and then again after Thanksgiving.  This mantle will get you through the end of November without much upkeep. Enjoy this wonderful time of year!


5 Tips to Make Your Space Feel Bigger

Recently, I moved from a three-bedroom home to a one-bedroom apartment.  I had to get rid of a lot of stuff… and it was hard!  Now, with a lighter load so to speak, I feel my apartment looks better than my house did and has the illusion of a bigger space.

Maybe you are moving into your first place or like myself, are downsizing.  How will you make this small apartment feel like a bigger space and still feel like home?  Here are five tips that worked for me…

  1. Plants add color and freshness to a home. I love having fresh flowers and a few green plants in my space.  (Farmer’s Market season!) The green color really pops with the lighter palette.
  2. Less is more. With my new space I didn’t feel the need to cover every wall with pictures. I wanted it to feel homey without being overdone.  I left space on the walls, on the tables, etc.  I picked my very favorites things to display and saved the rest or donated it.
  3. Lighten up the colors in your small space.  As you can see(photo below), I chose a white, beige, gray color scheme and it feels lighter and spacious because of it.  An accent wall in a darker color is great but lighter walls will give a more spacious illusion.
  4. Ceiling to floor curtains add height and make the room appear bigger. I just love my striped curtains and how they give height and pattern to my living room and bedroom.
  5. Furniture size is important in a small space. Choose furniture that is smaller scale, so you aren’t crowded by large, over-sized pieces that make it difficult to move around.  Have defined walkways.


bigger space tips

These are a few suggestions for making your new, smaller space work efficiently and give you the warm feeling of home.  I often find inspiration on blogs too. A couple of my favorites are Thistlewood Farm and Finding Home. Share your tips in the comments. Happy Decorating!


  • Amy France-Vena is not only a Horizon Realty Group property manager, she is also a resident! Amy is a certified stager and before joining Horizon, she had her own staging company. Her skills have certainly come in handy at the property she manages, The Uptown Regency. Looking for a new home with a built-in manager/decorator? Find Amy there!