M oving into our Miami apartment this year was SUCH a breeze compared to last winter. We were lucky enough to find a spot in the same condo building and so we already had a good idea of what our furniture set-up would be. Plus, we already HAD the furniture, which was a huge change from last year when it took us over six weeks to search for all the various components of a living space. It still took a concentrated effort to move all of our things out of the storage unit and I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone (particularly moving 16 pallets – Bobby gets bigger and bigger muscles with each move) – but we still felt miles ahead of where we were last winter.

All of this meant that our brain space was freed up to enhance our space even more. Translation: make it into a Miami jungle (within reason).

On a random trip to Home Depot, I started swooning over all the plants and dreaming of how green and lush we could make our space. Have you been to Home Depot lately? Their plants are CHEAP. Most of the large ones hover around $12. That’s a great investment if I’ve ever heard of one! As if you needed more convincing, they even have a 1 Year Guarantee on their plants – if they die before a year is up, you can bring them back for a refund. I’m hoping we don’t have to take advantage of that, but it’s great peace of mind. (Just FYI, Home Depot is not sponsoring this post but they totally should be. 😉)

Since we’re only here for 6 months, we were strategic about the areas we wanted to fill with plants. If we were here permanently, I’m sure we would have filled even more nooks and crannies with greenery. As things are, though, we tried to go with a happy medium. The first focus was our living room. Here’s what it looked like before:

This was the overhead view:

I saved my West Elm-inspired succulent planters from last year so we just needed to get new plants to pop inside. We also decided there should be some greenery on one side of the couch. We found a nice, leafy beauty and started to repot it. I felt exceptionally lucky that we had tile floors for easy cleanup.

Dirt was everywhere. (After these pictures were taken, the mess cranked up a notch.)

We teased out the roots a big before putting it in the new pot.

Graham was intrigued.

Here’s the “after” picture. So much more fun! So much more jungle-y!

Upon moving in, there was an AWFUL fake plant that was left on our balcony. It had lost nearly all of it’s fake leaves and was a pretty big eyesore. Even Graham was skeptical.

We wanted to replace it with a real plant but figured that we should salvage the huge pot. I mean, how hard could it be?

HARD.

It turned out that the “stems” of this plant were made out of thick wire. These were then planted in a sea of fake, mossy covering. As we started to tear out the moss, we quickly discovered that the previous tenant had used this as an ashtray. Charming.

We tore away at the moss and cigarette butts and discovered styrofoam that had been drenched in some type of glue to hold everything together. I chiseled away at this with a fork while Bobby ripped at it with an old pocketknife. I was over it after about 5 minutes of this. Bobby, however, has a tenacity and optimism that is unparalleled in these situations. He insisted that he didn’t think the styrofoam went down that deep. “If we just dig a little more, I bet it’s hollow for the bottom half.”

We kept chiseling away, developing blisters on our hands (for real). I started wondering aloud how much money someone had spent on this monstrosity. I bet it was at LEAST $100. Only in America would we pay buckets of money for a FAKE version of something that would be so much nicer (and less expensive) if it were simply real. Irony. Okay, I’m stepping off my little soap box now.

After what felt like an eternity, we finally got the entire “plant” free of its styrofoam trappings. VICTORY.

We continued to chisel out all the remaining styrofoam. Once we finally got the pot cleaned out, we added real soil (sans cigarette butts) and our real plant. Here’s the replacement. A gorgeous thing with magenta-streaked leaves.

Can you spot the new-and-improved version through the balcony window?

Next up was our bedroom. I wanted something huge and wild and glorious at the foot of our pallet bed. (If you’re curious about the construction of the bed, you can find that in this DIY post.) First, some “before” pictures.

(As a side note, I’m still working on a piece of art for behind our bed – I loved the clothespin art instillation last year but I want to switch things up this year.)

We plopped our new plant into a beautiful pot and, voila! Instant transformation.

Here’s our view when we go to bed and wake up. I love it.

While in New Orleans this October, we also found this amazing little terrarium at a cute new store on Magazine Street (Red Arrow Workshop – check it out if you ever visit New Orleans. I basically wanted everything they had for sale.). We carefully transported the terrarium to Miami and now it’s hanging in our bedroom window.

The orange shell and red dinosaur were obviously huge selling points. Combined with the neon colored moss, we knew it was meant for us.

We also transported the geometric clay pots that I made for our air plants while up in Vermont. Sadly, most of our air plants died during the trip down but I was able to find some replacements online. If you’re looking to purchase some of your own, I would definitely recommend this air plant shop on Amazon.

We decided to hang the air plants from fishing wire from the railing above our kitchen area. Our apartment is a loft style set-up, so the air plants hang down from the bedroom railing and serve as a visual divider between the kitchen and living room.

I think they’re nice and happy in their new Miami home!

We thought we were finished with our plant adventures and then – just this week – Bobby brought home two beautiful orchids that some members gave him. Yes! Bring on the jungle!

So there you have it. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly, unique, life-filled way to spruce up your space, I would wholeheartedly suggest looking into some houseplants.

They make all the difference!