Shy and Elegant
With names as delicious as lady's slipper, dancing doll, and vanilla, and colors (yellow, cream, plum, burgundy) to match, orchids are perfect if you're a minimalist but don't want your rooms to look bare. Most varieties bloom once a year, between January and July. They're delicate yet not difficult to care for, says Jamie Gibbs, an interior designer and landscape architect in New York City.
Care and feeding: Orchids are grown in pebbles rather than soil to generate roots. They require fairly high humidity, indirect light, and watering about once a week. (Covering the pebbles with moss helps keep moisture in.) For novices, Gibbs suggests starting with the common phalaenopsis, cattleya, or dendrobium, which are easier to rebloom. Containers with an Asian flavor complement exotic blooms.
From left: Ceramic moss tray, $75, Dimson Homma; ceramic planter, $25, Takashimaya; nineteenth-century brush pot, $350, Dimson Homma; antique Japanese lacquer brazier, $925, Takashimaya; nineteenth-century brush pot, $800, Dimson Homma; Chinese elm table, WaterMoon Gallery