If you’re ready to spruce up your home for spring or tackle your next home improvement project, this weekend’s Downtown Raleigh Home Show can offer inspiration.
At the three-day event, Feb. 25-27, you can get up to speed on the latest home design trends, plus get exclusive deals from vendors that can help you with building, remodeling and more.
You can also glean design advice from featured presenter Carmeon Hamilton, winner of HGTV’s “Design Star: Next Gen” and star of the network’s “Reno My Rental.”
Hamilton, a self-described “plant parent,” will give a presentation called “Elevate the Everyday,” which will focus on “small changes that make a big impact for living a beautiful life.” She’ll present live on the “Fresh Ideas Stage” three times throughout the weekend.
Ahead of the show this weekend, The News & Observer talked with Hamilton about what attendees can expect to take away from her design presentation, plus tips for being a better “plant parent” in time for spring.
Here’s what she had to say, along with more information about the Downtown Raleigh Home Show and how you can attend.
Why are plants an important design element?
One small change that can elevate any living space is to incorporate plants, which add life and greenery to any space.
Many people added plants to their homes during the pandemic, when we started spending more time at home and inside, and wanted to dedicate more resources and energy to making our spaces feel like a true “home.”
Hamilton, who said she’s been a “plant parent” for more than 10 years, experienced the same thing when she got her first apartment.
“I grew up in a house full of plants, and I know it took me a while after graduating from college and getting my own apartment . . . I couldn’t figure out why it didn’t feel like home,” Hamilton said. “And it took adding plants that really triggered the memory of growing up in a house where my mom had plants all over, and it just felt like someone cared about that space.”
Hamilton offered three main benefits that plants bring to homes and other spaces you design:
▪ Plants can purify the air in your home. Plants absorb carbon dioxide in the air, then release oxygen, which can improve the air quality in your home.
▪ Plants can encourage you to care more about the space you live in. Plants, almost like pets, require love and attention, and you want to see them thrive. That can encourage you to maintain an environment in your living space where your plants can prosper, which can make you feel more comfortable in the space as well.
“Plants help trigger the brain to where you want to take care of the environment that they’re in,” Hamilton said.
▪ Plants can add a hint of color to almost any design in your space. “They come in all different shades of green, but they’re the shades of green that go with every color in the rainbow because they come from nature,” Hamilton said.
Tips for adding plants to your home
Think you’re ready to add plants to your living space, but not sure where to start?
If you’re new to the world of house plants, Hamilton suggested three easy-to-care-for plant varieties that can kick-start your collection.
▪ Pothos — Hamilton said pothos plants, which are known for their flowing, vine-like appearance, are her favorite plants. They are great options to put on coffee tables or bookshelves, but can also be hung from the ceiling, making them a versatile choice for design purposes.
▪ ZZ plant — The ZZ plant, which Gardening Know How says grows in “a graceful, wand-like shape” with “fleshy, oval-shaped leaves,” can add height to a design, while also being able to withstand “months of neglect and low light.”
▪ Snake plant — There are several varieties of snake plants, but they tend to have stiff leaves, with various color patterns, that grow vertically.
“All three of these plants are capable of surviving in pretty much any level of light, whether you have a ton of natural light or not,” Hamilton said.
The plants also don’t require constant watering, adding to their easy-to-care-for nature.
“Pothos plants, specifically, will let you know when it needs watering. It kind of just goes to sleep, so if you notice the leaves drooping a little bit, that’s when it’s time to water,” Hamilton said. “And the ZZ plant and the snake plants need watering probably once every three weeks.”
Where should you buy plants?
While you might think that embarking on a plant parenting journey will require you to seek out plants from high-end specialty stores to get the best product, that’s not necessarily the case, Hamilton said.
She suggested shopping local, including at local nurseries, but said most grocery stores also carry plants, and that can be a great, convenient option for buying plants as well.
“Now that the industry is as big as it is, almost everyone is carrying plants now,” Hamilton said.
What tools do you need for plant care?
To make your plant parenting journey a bit easier, Hamilton recommended a few tools to keep on hand.
▪ Watering can. Of course, you can use just any cup you have around your house, but a watering can can “keep you from filling up a plastic cup in your kitchen and going to the sink 32 times if you have more than two plants,” Hamilton said.
▪ Plant shears. Plant shears, or “snippers,” as Hamilton likes to call them, will be helpful for cutting away any dead leaves from your plants.
▪ Fertilizer. Plant fertilizer will provide your plants with extra nutrients, promoting better growth. Hamilton recommended fertilizing when the plant would naturally experience growth in the wild — most likely in spring or summer. Hamilton said she prefers to use Miracle-Gro liquid fertilizer, which you mix with water.
More plant care tips from Carmeon Hamilton
While the plant varieties Hamilton suggested for beginner plant parents should be low-maintenance, you could still feel overwhelmed once the plants are in your space.
Keep these tips from Hamilton in mind:
▪ Start small. It can be tempting to buy lots of plants at once and fill your space immediately, but Hamilton recommended starting small, with just one or two plants.
Even when you begin to feel confident in your ability to care for your plants and want to purchase more, Hamilton suggests sticking with the same type of plant. Doing so can reduce the amount of stress you feel in bringing new plants into your home.
“I always suggest that people buy the same type of plant, especially if you successfully cared for one and you’re comfortable with that one,” Hamilton said.
▪ Most plants can survive with little human interaction or interference. “The main thing people need to remember when bringing plants home is plants don’t necessarily need humans,” Hamilton said. “They’ve been a part of the earth for millions of years, taking care of themselves. So, don’t stress over the plant. The plant itself knows what to do.”
You’ll still need to create an adequate environment for some plants — including the right amount of light and the appropriate amount of water — but, in general, they’ll do what they need to in order to survive, adapting to conditions in your home as needed.
▪ Don’t over-water your plants. “It doesn’t necessarily rain every day, 24/7 where our plants live out in the earth. Even in the rainforest, it may drizzle every day, but it’s not a downpour every day,” Hamilton said. “So, give your plants time to drink the water that you’ve given them.”
You can find more tips for plant care in Hamilton’s guide to plant parenting, available at carmeonhamilton.com/shop.
Hamilton: How to ‘Elevate the Everyday’
Hamilton’s presentation at the Downtown Raleigh Home Show will focus on elevating the everyday — essentially, taking mundane elements of your life and adding something special to them.
“It’s really just taking those mundane things that we do all the time without thinking — you know, making a cup of coffee or getting dressed or going to HomeGoods to get something — but really elevating those, or taking a moment to elevate them past what we would normally do,” Hamilton told The N&O.
Being at a home show, Hamilton said her presentation will equip attendees with tips and tricks for elevating larger home purchases, such as flooring and windows, but will also focus on smaller, more manageable changes that attendees can make after leaving the show — all with an eye towards elevating the space you live in, as well as your life.
Hamilton offered a few examples of changes you can make to elevate your life, including:
▪ Adding cardamom or other spices to your at-home cup of coffee.
▪ Opting to use dinnerware, such as china that you’d typically reserve for special occasions, on a more regular, day-to-day basis.
▪ Choosing cloth napkins instead of paper, both in your everyday life and when you’re entertaining.
Hamilton said many people are looking for ways to add these special touches to their lives, especially during the pandemic, when it’s been harder to go out for special experiences, such as restaurant dining.
“I think it’s important that people realize that they can create those moments for themselves at home,” Hamilton said.
More information about the Downtown Raleigh Home Show
The Downtown Raleigh Home Show will be held this weekend, Feb. 25-27, at the Raleigh Convention Center (500 S. Salisbury Street).
▪ The event runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 25, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 26 and 27.
The event requires tickets, which can be purchased online in advance or on-site at the convention center. To purchase tickets online, visit downtownspringraleighhomeshow.mpetickets.com.
▪ Tickets for attendees ages 13 and up are $9 if purchased online, and $12 if purchased on-site at the box office.
▪ Children ages 12 and under can attend the event for free if they are accompanied by a paying adult.
The show is offering discounted rates to some groups on certain days of the event.
▪ Seniors (ages 60 and older) can attend for $6 on Friday. Tickets must be purchased at the box office to receive the discount.
▪ Also on Friday, anyone can attend the event for $5 if you enter the event after 5 p.m. Tickets must be purchased at the box office to receive the discount.
▪ Friday is also “Hero Day.” All active military personnel, veterans, firefighters, police and other first responders can attend the show for free on Friday only. Present a valid ID at the box office to receive your ticket.
▪ Sunday is “Teacher Day.” Teachers and school staff can attend the show for free on Sunday only. Present a valid faculty ID at the box office to receive your ticket.
Curious about which vendors are going to be at the event? You can find a full list of exhibitors for this year’s show at raleighspringshow.com/virtual-home/shop-the-show.
Carmeon Hamilton at the Downtown Raleigh Home Show
Hamilton will present live on the Fresh Ideas Stage at the following times:
▪ Friday, Feb. 25, at 3 p.m.
▪ Saturday, Feb. 26, at noon and 3 p.m.
This story was originally published February 24, 2022 8:39 AM.