Decorating with plants is a surefire way to spruce up your home. Bringing foliage into your living space literally breathes life into it, due to the oxygen-producing qualities of plant photosynthesis.
Humans depend on nature for their survival and with more of us living in cities than ever before, biophilic design (which incorporates nature) is on the rise in architecture and interiors.
The lush greenery is beautiful and makes us feel good too. It doesn’t matter if you’re at the beginner houseplant stage or an expert with a green thumb, it’s good to decorate with plants.
“I encourage my clients not to treat plants as an afterthought, but as an important feature of the space,” says Irene Gunter, founder of Gunter & Co.
“It’s our job as interior designers to identify areas in the home where plants would make a difference and bring them to the customer’s attention.”
Decorate with plants
“In addition to proving their health benefits, thanks to plants’ ability to purify the air in our homes, they also provide a sense of tranquility and can be used to soften a space or add color,” says Paula Ellis, floral designer and home buyer at Toast (opens in a new tab).
“Many homes don’t have outdoor space, so we can grow indoor plants when we don’t have a garden.”
So what are some cool ways to decorate with plants?
1. Grow an herb garden in a kitchen island
Do you like to cook and eat well? Growing an indoor herb garden will not only improve your home, but it will also improve your health and the flavor of the food you prepare.
So if you love being able to find fresh basil, cilantro, rosemary and other flavors to add to pasta dishes, curries or even cocktails, incorporate an herb garden into your kitchen design.
“You can upgrade your kitchen island with a central bin for fresh herbs,” Irene Gunter tells Gunter & Co. (opens in a new tab). “It takes some serious green fingers, but when done right, it’s a great way to inject the space with gorgeous scent and color.”
2. Soothe the senses with symmetry of color and tone
Interior decorator Michael Kelly (opens in a new tab) has used plants to good effect in his projects, especially in his own seaside vacation home.
In the breakfast room, she curated the perfect color combination, with a row full of terracotta pots displaying verdant green plants at similar heights, crowned by a mini monstera in the middle of the fireplace.
Placed against the yellow ego yellow walls, the honey-colored logs below, and the green accents in the room, it’s a look that’s both cool and cozy.
“Plants look great in abundance and I always prefer to use real ones whenever possible,” says Paula Ellis, Toast’s floral designer and buyer.
“The choice of flowerpot can be as important as the plant, I like to use organic shapes such as earthy terracotta planters.”
3. Plant a tree in your workbench
To make a real impact in your space, decorate big with plants by opting for one of the best indoor trees to add sculptural form to your space.
The creative co-founder of Notonthehighstreet and Holly & Co. (opens in a new tab), Holly Tucker wanted an olive tree in her kitchen. It’s not the most unusual request you might think, until you realize it appears to “come from” the island’s Corian countertop.
“It took eight big guys to hoist it because it weighs hundreds of pounds,” says Holly. “And that was after they got him through the front door, which at one point seemed impossible.”
4. Dress up a dining room with a living wall
In this modern renovation owned by John Hitchcox, founder of yoo (opens in a new tab) and his wife Phoebe, a small garden with an unused outdoor dining area has been incorporated indoors into the living space.
The addition of a retractable roof and a lush vertical garden gives the space an outdoor feel and allows family and friends to dine under the stars whenever the weather permits.
John loves how they created an oasis filled with light green. “The mirrored door that opens into the dining room feels like entering a secret garden,” he says.
5. High Foliage Path for a Hanging Pose
Running out of storage space in the bathroom? No problem, hang ferns, golden pothos and other trailing, moisture-loving species from a beam, ledge or post installed just below the ceiling.
Make sure your plants have enough light and that you can access it to water them. When it comes to watering your plants, hanging planters like these can be easily unhooked and taken down for weekly watering.
“Create a hanging installation with varieties hung at different levels to create depth and balance,” says floral designer Paula Ellis. “Personally, I love trailing or creeping plants such as Philodendron Scanden because they have a tendril root.
“Chestnut vine is also a wonderful climbing plant, although harder to find and Grape Ivy is a wonderful trailer that looks great in a hanging planter.”
6. Opt for a greenhouse effect
Most plants need plenty of natural light, so they’re likely to thrive in a well-glazed room. If you have an area with generous amounts of glazing, such as a skylight or large windows, large tropical species can thrive.
Bringing their great bountiful beauty to your home, Bird of Paradise, banana trees and similar leafy giants will deliver holiday vibes all year round.
“Plants bring liveliness and interest to a space, drawing your attention to certain areas of a room or bringing color and texture together,” says Elisabeth Rogoff, director of Design Champalimaud (opens in a new tab).
“Once I’ve decided on the tallest pieces in a room, I’ll bring in plants as a second layer of props, to elevate and bring my designs together.”
7. Frame a doorway with foliage
A bright bathroom is usually a good place for plants, as there are many species that thrive on humidity. If it’s a smaller space without a lot of natural light, research the best plants for low light levels as well. If you’re short on space elsewhere, a shelf above the door is a great spot, especially if you can also use the brackets to hang planters.
“Shelves dressed in creeping plants always look very stylish in a bathroom,” says Irene Gunter of Gunter & Co.
“I never forget to add plants. It’s just about matching the perfect plants with the customer. Some clients have green thumbs, so you can get creative. Other people need plants that are low maintenance and don’t require a lot of TLC.
“You can also hang plants from the ceiling at different heights for a touch of style – it looks especially stunning in the bathroom,” adds Jane Rocket, co-founder, Rockett St George (opens in a new tab).
8. Opt for a lively centerpiece
For pure eye-catching drama, a real tree growing through a loft in the middle of your home takes a beating.
“I have sometimes worked an indoor tree into my designs,” says Irene Gunter of Gunter & Co. “If you are considering this, think about where the tree is going to go, what species will work best, and if you have the ceiling height to accommodate it.
9. Offset a verdant green on a black background
Think about where you place your plants and what you place them in, as this will influence the look of the room.
“The trick with decorating with plants is to play with height and texture, just like you would with any other display or style point in your home,” says Jane Rockett, co-founder of Rockett St. George.
“I have lots of stylized trailing plants on shelves in my kitchen and dining room and pair them with smaller leaf varieties and dried eucalyptus in vases to create this variation in height and texture .
‘Another tip for decorating with plants is to be bold with color and don’t be shy about creating contrast. I like to use black as a backdrop for the greenery in my house. Whether used on walls or for larger furniture, dark colors will simply make your plants shine.
10. Choose a trendy planter
The types of plants you choose for your arrangement are important, but so is what you display them in. Consider the planter as carefully as the plant, making sure that the color, shape and style of the pot suits the plants you have chosen. .
“I always think that adding a plant to a bespoke planter is a great way to add sculpture and height to a room,” says Elisabeth Rogoff, director at Champalimaud Design. ‘
“I love the Kentia palm – for its elegance and stature, or Monstera with its huge glossy leaves that are striking to add big impact.”
How to use plants as decorations?
Place a large, lush plant like a Kentia palm or Monstera in a bare corner to liven it up; line a row of succulents along a shelf or hang Boston ferns at varying heights in the bathroom. “Plants have the ability to refresh a room and create a welcoming environment,” explains Elisabeth Rogoff, director of Champalimaud Design.
“While I love using plants to create a seamless transition between outdoors and indoors, you should always be aware not to overwhelm a space with plants and think carefully about where you place them.”
Why decorate with plants?
“Plants create a sense of connection to the garden, they are the perfect way to introduce harmony between the indoor and outdoor spaces of your home,” says Jane Rockett co-founder Rockett St George. That’s why I always style a lot of plants in the rooms of my house that face nature.
How do I style my indoor plants?
“Consider first how much maintenance a plant will require, then decide whether to hang it or place it where the best source of light is in a room.” The ideal is to choose a plant that is undemanding but stylish,” explains Elisabeth Rogoff, director at Champalimaud Design.
“Succulents with their varying sizes, shapes and colors make for an eye-catching display when you group and layer them.”