5 ways to decorate with houseplants

5 ways to decorate with house plants
Jennifer Morgan,-Interiors Editor

There’s a green revolution going on. As we fill our homes with houseplants, we asked the experts to share their tips for styling and living with greenery…

The humble houseplant is a must-have home accessory for 2021, given pride of place on sideboards, windowsills and coffee tables. It’s easy to see why: plants instantly liven up a space, giving us something to care for and nurture, research and shop for, all while adding freshness and vibrancy to our homes. They even help purify the air we breathe. Then there’s the pot itself, which can be simple, textured or even suspended from the ceiling. ‘I love to use plants to gently bring the outdoors in – they can really lift a space,‘ says Bethan Harwood, Partner & Home Design Stylist (@jl_bethan).

Build up your plant collection over time

Before you create an indoor jungle, be practical. ‘Think about how many plants you can realistically take care of,’ says Bethan. ‘If you are just starting a collection try and balance the greenery around your room so there is a plant in each corner.’    

The very act of indoor gardening takes time. ‘With plants we learn to be patient again,’ explains Judith de Graff, one of the Urban Jungle Bloggers and and co-author of Plant Tribe. ’Growth is not achieved within minutes like our social media updates, but it is a fruit of ongoing care and love.’

Use houseplants to bring life to walls

Houseplants aren’t just for sideboards and windowsills. ‘They are great for empty corners too, as they soften edges and make a room feel homely,’ says Bethan. ‘Trailing plants are great for finishing off shelf styling as they bridge the gap between each layer. Hanging plants around a window space will maximise your natural light and are a great trick for wellbeing while working from home. I love using my curtain pole for this purpose.’

Don’t rule out living walls – they aren’t just the territory of boutique shops. ‘They do require some in-depth plant knowledge,’ says Judith, ‘but there are prefab living wall options. Or go for wall-hung planters that you can fill with crawling plants.’

Choose pots that work with your colour scheme

The pot is equally important – it might last longer than the plant, depending on how green your fingers are. ‘For a contemporary look, try sticking to a strict colour palette when choosing pots, as this will ensure they will all sit together if you have multiple plants in one space,’ says Bethan. ‘ Or for a more boho look, mix and match textures and patterns.’

Look for planters on stands – they are a great way of giving height to a smaller plants and can frame a fireplace area during the summer months. They also are easy to move around to change things up.

Pick the right plant for the right room

Morag Hill, co-founder of The Little Botanical knows her plants – even which ones make great air purifiers. ‘In the bathroom, go for the “king of the indoor jungle“, the Boston Fern,’ she advises. ‘It’s safe for all pets, including cats and dogs, and loves a humid environment.’ Looking for a plant for a brightly-lit room? Morag picks a Fiddle Leaf Fig; ‘It‘s large paddle-shaped leaves have made it Insta-famous.’ Need a desk buddy? Then try the Ficus Benjamina, known for its toxin and stress-reducing abilities. And for bedrooms? Morag would go for the Sansevieria Spikey and Sansevieria Punk, ‘They are fantastic air purifiers that get busy while you are sleeping, absorbing CO2 and other toxins.’

Play with scale – from succulents to leafy palms

Houseplants can quickly become part of your family – some even get named, and if lucky, will move with you from home to home. But it‘s not all about the big guys; smaller potted plants are a great way of creating mini styling moments. Try adding a succulent to your breakfast or mid-morning coffee tray; cluster several together on a decorative platter for a Scandi-style centrepiece on your dining table, or break up a row of books with a gorgeous potted aloe vera. If you are the lucky custodian of a big palm or rubber plant, then move it around your home for an easy style refresh. 

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