top of page
  • Writer's pictureHeather Holcombe

Incorporating Plants Into Your Design

Plants can have a calming influence on us. Their nourishing vibes soothe our souls, and research shows that indoor plants can improve our health. So it's no surprise they've become so popular in recent years. Decorating your spaces with plants is an excellent way to bring a bit of nature indoors while doing something good for your well-being.

Their lush sculptural features can complement and brighten any design style. They can be used in any room. And did you know that there are interior designers who specialize in styling plants? While I'm not one of them, I can offer good tips on incorporating plants into your home's design.

Focal Point

You can use plants to highlight a focal point or create one in a room. You can use a tall statement plant, like a small tree, to create a focal point or highlight a particular feature in a room. Some ideal statement plants include an elephant's ear, pygmy date palm, olive tree, rubber plant, or fig tree.

Accessorize Shelves

Using plants on bookshelves can add interest and softness, especially if the shelves hold books with few other accessories. A plant's sculptural features break up the straight lines of the books and the shelves and add interest. While you can add almost any indoor plant that fits on a shelf, select a plant that doesn't visually overwhelm the shelf or that could damage the surrounding surface or items. Succulents, ivy, or spider plants tend to do well on shelves.

Maximalist Design

If you love plants and can't get enough of them, bring them on! Feel free to add as many plants as you want. It is your home, after all. However, keep in mind that using too many plants in one room can make it look cluttered - or like a plant nursery! Even so, I advise my clients to tailor their spaces to their lifestyles and tastes.

Design Elements

Treat plants like a design element that will be part of the overall aesthetic in a room.

  • Choose a container to match your decor.

  • Stagger plant heights and width for visual interest.

  • Consider adding various plant looks/types.

  • Consider the structural aspects of a plant, how it will look in the space, and how it will look alongside other plants.

  • Cluster them in odd numbers (one, three, five, etc.) groupings whenever possible.

  • Consider how much sunlight and water they need when placing them in a room.

Plant Needs

Before you purchase a plant for a room, consider its needs. A dark room won't be suitable for a plant that needs lots of direct sunlight. Read the labels or ask for advice at a nursery.

Faux Plants

If caring for a live plant is beyond your scope of interest (or ability), consider using faux plants or dried stems like ornamental grass or eucalyptus. They can add the same vibe as a live plant without the upkeep. Besides, bunches of dried stems displayed in an attractive container are very popular these days!

One last piece of advice.

Be sure to protect the surfaces underneath any potted live plant. A container with a drainage hole or permeable material like unglazed terra cotta can leak moisture or water and ruin whatever surface it sits on. Use an impermeable dish or tray underneath the container.


bottom of page