I brought home a biggish $16 palm from Home Depot this weekend and put it in the parlor. I had hoped to find something tall that was not a palm for a good price, but all the other plants they had were much too small. IKEA and Lowes didn't have anything better, and the greenhouse I tried was closed until spring (whenever that is). This guy kind of makes a big difference in the coziness factor, doesn't it? See corner before. Alex was impressed, too.
The Home Depot lady said that after 20 years of killing plants, she has finally learned not to water them from the top, but to let the plant suck up the moisture from the bottom. Her formula is: keep the plant in the cheap plastic container it came in. Put that inside a clear plastic liner tray from the garden center or cheap disposable party bowl from the dollar store, and set both of those inside the pretty decorative outer pot. Every week or so, put water in the clear liner tray for the plant to absorb. Give it Miracle Grow once or twice a month.
We'll see. I'm starting with this guy, and then I'll branch out (har har) into some of the other plants you guys recommended in the excellent comments on this post.
Also note the cute curly fig on the table, too. Best wishes for a long life, little fella.
Update: as requested, here's the pot I put the palm in. It's from Kroger.