Houseplants are renowned for their air-purifying benefits, and that’s a pretty compelling reason to fill your house with them. However, they are also incredibly attractive decorative items. Interior designers adore indoor plants, and whether you prefer one or two statement plants, a few small plants dotted around shelves or a full-on in-house jungle, adding houseplants to your living space adds plenty of visual interest.
Why Decorate With Plants?
Plants are excellent accents for home decor. Not only do they brighten up a room, but they can draw the eye upward or downward and make a space appear bigger than it is. Plants are also highly portable, making them a great choice for renters or those who like to change things regularly.
On top of all that, each plant is unique. So, even with the most neutral decor, your room won’t look the same as everyone else’s. Treating plants like any other ornamental item makes the most of a space and is a great way to decorate white walls.
Low Maintenance Plants
If you’re new to plant parenthood, low-maintenance options are a great place to start decorating with plants.
Spider plants are the ultimate low-maintenance plants. They are also renowned for being easy to propagate, meaning you can fill your home with lush greenery in next to no time. Mature plants produce spiderettes, or spider babies, on long stems. These can be snipped off and rooted in water before being transferred into a pot of soil.
Spider plants thrive in bright, indirect light and prefer moist, well-draining soil. Check the soil about once a week (less often in winter) and water if the top layer feels dry. These are fast-growing plants that are ideal for beginners. They look fabulous on a shelf or let their linear leaves trail from a hanging basket.
With a reputation of being almost impossible to kill, snake plants are a brilliant option for new plant parents. Their upright, elegant, often variegated leaves bring a real sense of style to any room in the house. These houseplants are ideal for any space. They thrive in bright light but are happy enough growing in a more shaded part of the home.
The biggest risk factor for snake plants is over-watering. Lightly water your plant every couple of weeks, ensuring the soil has completely dried out first, but don’t stress too much if you forget – snake plants are said to thrive on neglect.
You don’t need a massive room to decorate with plants. Draw the eye upwards by hanging plants from the ceiling in decorative baskets. Alternatively, hang planters on the wall and fill them with lush greenery trailing down the bare wall. A few plants are toxic if ingested, so hanging them is a great way to keep them out of reach of children and pets.
Ivy is a classic trailing plant, and this variety is one of the best for complementing any decor style. Its heart-shaped leaves trail on vines, creating a stunning effect spilling from pots and baskets.
Devil’s ivy is incredibly easy to care for too. It survives in most light conditions, though it grows faster in bright indirect light. It is generally forgiving of missed waterings. This plant loves a humid environment and is a great choice for bathrooms and kitchens.
String of Pearls
These trailing succulent houseplants can grow up to 1m long, and their unusual foliage makes them ideal for decorating the home. Long stems produce bead-like, mid-green leaves (hence the name) that create an interesting effect cascading from pots and planters.
String of pearls likes bright indirect light, and its succulent foliage can store moisture, so it doesn’t require frequent watering. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, and try to ensure the foliage doesn’t sit in wet soil.
Side Table and Coffee Table Plants
Side tables are the ideal surfaces for hosting plants. They have a similar appearance to plant stands and can be home to just one plant or a few. Smaller plants are ideal for brightening up the coffee table and adding different shapes and textures to the living room.
Peace lilies are excellent table plants. They are tall enough to act as standalone houseplants but are equally attractive placed alongside other plants. Peace lilies boast large, glossy, rich green leaves that grow on upright stems. Mature plants produce with flower spathes throughout spring and into summer.
These air-purifying plants are easy to care for and thrive in bright, indirect light. Water every 7-10 days whenever the top 2-3cm of soil feels dry, and mist occasionally in drier rooms. Wipe the leaves regularly to remove dust, encourage photosynthesis and maintain a glossy shine.
These flowering houseplants have a compact growing habit and are ideal for decorating a coffee or side table. African violets are valued for their furry, velvety textured leaves as well as the display of purple, blue, pink, red or white blooms that flower throughout the year, often for months on end.
The trick to healthy African violets is to get the lighting just right. Too much direct light can scorch the leaves, while too little indirect light results in fewer flowers. A table next to a north or east-facing window is perfect. Allow the top 2cm of soil to dry out before watering, and ensure no water gets on the flowers or leaves, which are easily marked.
Floor plants create a stunning focal point in any room, as tall plants bring elegance to a room and maximise space.
Fiddle Leaf Fig
Also known as banjo fig, fiddle-leaf fig plants boast large mid-green fiddle-shaped leaves growing from upright stems. These tall plants can reach up to 6 feet tall indoors, making them perfect for a living room or dining space.
Place your fiddle leaf fig plant in a bright spot out of direct sun and water once a week during the growing season. Mist the leaves regularly to provide humidity and help promote photosynthesis for healthy new growth.
This tall plant is ideal for any living space. It is easy to care for and almost unkillable, so it’s the perfect floor plant for a new plant lover. The dragon tree has one or more central trunks growing from the pot, giving way to green palm tree-like foliage to create a tropical appearance.
Dragon trees cope well in most lighting conditions and are happy enough decorating a dull corner. They are drought tolerant and prefer the soil to dry out completely before being given another drink, although they do appreciate the occasional misting.
Air plants are amazing houseplants that grow literally anywhere. They don’t even need soil, so they’re ideal for dotting around shelves and windowsills. These tropical plants also look fantastic in glass baubles, bottles or even seashells.
Air plants thrive in humidity and are perfect for bathrooms and kitchens. However, with regular misting, they also do well in the living room, bedroom, or dining room. Because there is no soil, the best way to water these plants is by placing them in a bowl of water and allowing them to soak for around half an hour. Doing this once every 7-10 days will keep your air plant happy and healthy.
It may be the smallest room in the house, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fill the bathroom with greenery. In fact, the bathroom is the perfect room for many humidity-loving houseplants, allowing you to create a spa-like atmosphere.
Boston ferns love moisture in the air. Hang it in the shower or display it on a shelf or windowsill where it can soak up the steam. Give the pot plenty of space to accommodate the Boston fern’s large, bushy habit and bright green fronds.
These plants are easy to grow but do need regular watering (another reason they’re handy for the bathroom). They like bright, indirect light and prefer the soil to be kept moist but well-drained.
If you prefer a more streamlined appearance, look no further than aloe vera. Thriving in high humidity, this succulent houseplant boasts spiky, fleshy foliage that creates a contemporary look. The medicinal properties are a bonus, and the plant can be used to treat minor skin ailments like sunburn.
Because aloe vera stores moisture in its thick leaves, it doesn’t need to be watered very often. This plant is more likely to die from over-watering than under-watering. If in doubt, leave it a few more days before offering it a drink. Aloe vera loves bright light and can cope with a little direct sun, although too much can scorch the leaves.
Peaceful Bedroom Plants
The bedroom should be a relaxing space, and bringing plants into it helps maintain a zen-like appearance. Place plants around the bedroom to purify the air and release oxygen overnight.
For a truly peaceful night’s sleep, the pineapple plant is recommended to help prevent snoring. Thankfully, it is also attractive, making it the ideal bedroom companion plant placed on a plant stand or simply sat on a bedside table.
Pineapple plants are most often grown indoors as display plants rather than edible fruits. They feature a rosette of spiky green foliage with a tall stem boasting a decorative pineapple rising from the centre of the plant. Pineapple plants flourish in a warm room with plenty of bright light and water when the top layer of soil is dry.
Often considered a garden plant, lavender grows surprisingly well as a houseplant. On top of its air-purifying qualities, lavender has a relaxing scent often associated with calmness and relaxation. Display lavender on plant stands or on the window sill where it can soak up the sun for a few hours each day.
Water lavender lightly when the soil starts to dry out, taking care not to over-water the plant. These plants are drought-resistant and prone to root rot if the soil is too wet, so it’s always better to err on the side of caution and under-water the plant if you’re unsure.
Top Tips for Decorating With Plants
Group Multiple Plants Together
Placing plants together makes for a striking focal point and can add life and colour to an empty corner of the room. Group plants with the same light requirements, and if they have similar watering needs, even better – you can water them all together.
Consider Your Home Decor Style
When choosing houseplants, it’s a great idea to consider how they’ll look in the room. For example, if you prefer a sleek, contemporary style, you might lean towards succulents, such as Chinese money plants or snake plants. On the other hand, a maximalist design may be better complemented by trailing ivies and bushy ferns.
Mix Things Up
Choose a range of different species with varying heights, colours, and foliage to add interest to a room. Place some in stands and others on shelves or side tables, and mix and match pots to create a cohesive look. Don’t be afraid to play around with textures too. Channel your inner interior designer and mix glossy leaves with pampas grass or smooth, spiky foliage with hairy, fuzzy-leaved plants.
Reflecting plants is an effective way to make it look like you have more plants than you do. Strategically place mirrors to show off your favourite houseplants, giving you twice as much pleasure from them. Mirrors have the added benefit of making a room appear bigger, and decorative frames can add to the room’s appeal.
General Plant Care Tips
Light is one of the most important factors in whether plants thrive or wilt. Bright, indirect light is usually best. This means keeping plants out of the shadows, but also away from direct sunlight. Close to a window or a bright corner of the room is usually perfect.
Very few plants like to be sitting in water-logged soil. Overly wet soil can lead to root rot, inhibiting new growth and even ultimately killing the plant. Ensure pots have good drainage, with plenty of holes in the bottom for excess water to flow freely.
Create a Routine
One of the easiest ways to remember to water plants is to do it on the same day every week. So, for example, you may choose a Saturday morning as plant watering time. Different plants require different amounts of moisture, so not every plant will need watered every week. However, checking them weekly is a great habit to get into. Larger plants and those in terracotta pots will need watering most often.
Don’t Be Put Off If Things Go Wrong
If you’re just starting out on your plant life journey, some of your green friends will inevitably die along the way. Decorating with plants is often a case of trial and error, so don’t be afraid to move plants around if you notice they’re unhappy in their current position. Some plants are tricky to care for with very specific watering and lighting needs, so don’t be put off if one or two don’t survive. You can always learn from the experience and use your knowledge to help more new plants thrive.