Decorating with plants is like adding colour, atmosphere and freshness to a home. It’s also a way to add dimension and a sense of space. Adding space is parcularly important in smaller urban apartments, but plants can also be used to emphasise the space available in bigger homes. For instance, placing a plant high up in the room draws the eye upwards above our urusal eye level – as if raising the ceiling. And plancing them in far corners draws our eye out of the small sofa space where we normally congretate.
No living room is complete without a plant, and if you have only one plant in your house or apartment, please let it be in the living room where we spend most of our waking hours at home. A plant is a living creature and you’ll be able to appreciate how it changes over time – it’s a bit of the outside world brought indoors. But what plant to choose? There’s an almost infinite choice of plants of all colours, but here we focus mainly on green indoor plants.
Green plants come in many different shades of green and shapes and sizes. Green plants are easier to coordinate…they all complement eachother. And any constellation of the different green colours is complementary to the interior – particularly complementary to the pale Scandi palette. They add a breath of fresh air to a room rather than fireworks.
Where to put Plants in your House
Where we put plants in our house or apartment will affect our sense of comfort and aesthetic feeling at home: in large pots on the floor, in a vase on the table or on the mantelpiece, on a shelf or in the window… here’s a top tip: find the furthest corner or the highest shelf – spread the plants around the room, away from the centre of the room.
That’s how to draw the eye in different directions and add a feeling of space if not actual physical space to the room and make it look bigger than it really is.
A quick tip: if you don’t have outdoor space, let that not stop you from starting your own garden indoors. Check our post here on how to sow and grow your own sunflowers and marigolds indoors – if we can, anyone can.
Hanging Plants indoors – Flaunt It if you’ve got It
For the serious plant lover and aesthetic it’s the jungle effect that’s in vogue – over the last five years or so hanging plants hve become hugely popular. Not only because our homes are becoming smaller, certainly homes in urban areas. As we run out of floor space, we’ve resorted to using the ceiling, giving us a vast new space for ‘placement’. It’s a sophisticated, on trend look modern first time buyers are asking for.
But finding the right spot in the ceiling from where to hang a plant may be easier said than done. Furniture and other objects limit the choice. First, look for light which the plant may need to survive and then what is below…. Avoid hanging it over a chiar, should it somehow fall and land on someone’s head. London’s Evening Standard newspaper is full of good ideas on how and where to hang plants. Read the paper’s feature “Hang Cool” with top tips for hanging planters here.
For more excotic plant arrangements it is once more the Millennials who lead the way… Creative thinking, such as using spare step ladders for level placements agains the wall, a wicker basket on the floor and on top of cupboards give the home an original twist and puts their on personality stamp on it.
So on trend are plants at the moment that they’re being designed into fashion accessories as motifs to make products “go with everything” and appeal to everybody. There’s a whole industry fashioned around our growing love of plants and getting closer to nature. Handbags, t-shirts, art… And vases, pots and urns, which once were mere ‘by the way’ accessory playing a supporting role to planlife have become statement pieces in their own right.
Best Indoor Plants for the Living Room
You’ll soon know which plants are best for your living room because they’ll respond to the level of light in the room. When shopping for indoor plants people often make this mistake … browsing amongst the plants displayed outside. They may be prettier and there may seem to be a greater choice, but they are displayed outside for a good reason: they are almost all outdoor plants which won’t survive long indoors.
To make sure, for the newbie indoor gardener, look for the small card usually inserted into the soil – it explains how much light and watering this particular plant needs. It’s a good guidance, but only when you’ve had the plant for a couple of week will you really know if the light you have given it is sufficient as it starts to grow and thrive or droop. Here are some good indoor plants:
- Chinese Evergreen
- Ficus Bonsai tree
- The super durable Iron plant
- Weeping Fig
- Cactus of course although it is not the prettiest of plants
- Snake plant
How to make Indoor Plants look prettier with decorative Stones for House Plants
Decorative stones completely transforms the look of a pot plant. Cover the soil in the pot around the plant with small or larger stones, coloured according to your indoor colour scheme, and see the difference. Leave enough space in the pot for stones and gravel when re-planting…as well as water, at least a centimetre from the edge. Stones can be bought at most good garden centres or online – and they come in dozens of colours from natural dirty brown or grey to shiny green, matt green, yellow, pink, black and so on…
The stones have the dual purpose of deterring irritating flies from nestling in the pot where they feed off the roots and destroying the plant. Cover the soil fully to block access. Decorative stones are part of the relatively new Nordic interior look – the Scandi Boho look. And they add hygge to the plant decor…a little plant glamour and a sense of cosiness and lived in feeling to a room filled with greenery. Read also our post on Scandi hygge and how to live like ‘the happiest people in the world’ here. We’ve found that decorative stones are less available from smaller sellers, which is a pity as they really brighten up the look – Danish megastore Plantorama has the most phenomenal collection.
Plant Decoration Tips for the Balcony
If you live in the city but have outdoor space – even the tiniest balcony or terrace – a well-placed plant will make it look more spacious and cosier. Indeed, how about turning it into your own mini-garden? Make the most of it, it’ll be a source of joy. Heather is one of our favourite outdoor plants because of its tough, natural look and striking white and lilac colours. If there’s a spare spot on the balcony floor, you can make it look even homelier by placing a small, long-leaved plant – for instance the Snake plant in the corner. If the space is just too small, consider getting a fastener which will hold the plant in place on the railing. But think safety first, it may require a professional to fix it.
Bathroom Plants that absorb Moisture
Plants liven up the bathroom too. Make use of shelves, ledges, window sills or above the medicine cabinet for greenery. We spend quite a bit of time in the bathroom, let’s make it an enjoyable experience. And plants seem to love it too as they soak up the moist from the shower and bath through their leaves which helps keep them green and fresh looking. The Peace Lily, English Ivy and Boston Fern are eager absorbers of moist in this way.
The cactus plant is a good de-humidifier. Cacti, such as aloes and some palms have hairy leaves or thick stems which catch water from the air. (For tips on how to refurb a small bathroom read also our blog on how to refurb the bathroom, Scandi style, here.) The tiny pores in leaves soak up the moist and into the xylem, which is the plant’s transport tissue. Here water and nutrients are carried from the root up through its stem to the leaves. We often forget they are living creatures who eat and drink too…
Decorating the Bedroom with Plants
If you’re looking for a good night’s sleep – plants are the answer here as well…. It is argued it is healthier to sleep next to plants than next to another human being – in terms of respiration. Official, apparently! Plants help cleaning up and purifying the air. They filter indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene which we are surrounded by because of refrigerators, wall paint and nail varnish. Whereas, of course, another human being exhale air we don’t need and compete with us for oxygen.
Best Plants for Bedroom Air Quality
And although plants emit carbon dioxide (not to be confused with the dangerous carbon monoxide) during the night, it is less than what another person would. And they then convert carbon dioxide to oxygen during the day… Except for the snake plant, also known as the Sansevieria. The Snake plant converts carbon dioxide to oxygen during the night – that’s why it’s a firm favourite in the bedroom. It’s arguably the easiest houseplant to look after as it can survive for days without water and direct or indirect light. But the snake plant isn’t just a bedroom plant. Look around and you’ll see they are everywhere – particularly in smart office buildings and lobbies, perhaps to help generate fresh air…
Where to place indoor Plants that like Shade
Light, or lack of light, is the issue to work around when decorating an aparment with plants. It is tempting to buy an outdoor plant for the home because it is pretty or matches the decor, but you’ll soon find that it doesn’t work. No matter how much we are willing it, an outdoor plant won’t last much longer than a couple of weeks indoors. Ensure you’re shopping in the right department and find a plant that does not need lots of natural sunlight.
The English Ivy is one of our favourites. It prefers bright indirect light, but can survive in low light. However, can be irritable on the skin. The Maidenhair fern is beautiful and likes indirect sunlight. But it is a high maintenance plant…get the light and the watering wrong and it dies. The popular Parlour Palm grows well in medium to low light. The Peace Lily blooms better the more light it gets and the ZZ plants thrives in darker spots – almost impossible to kill.
Pots for indoor Plants
This is another of our favourite subjects: At Du Your Home we love ceramics, with or without plants. We particularly like hand turned pots. While plants can look similar and add green, ambiance and a sense of space and dimension to a room – pots can really make the look completely unique. But again it isn’t just the look of a pot that matters. Other considerations have to be made when picking a pot. The most important question is drainage – and yet!
Does the pot have a hole at the bottom where water can seep through and help prevent the roots from drowning? If the answer is yes, do you have a plate or feet to put under to stop the moist from damaging the surface below? Is the pot glazed? Is the size right for the plant now and for it to grow? Is it unique looking? Does it complement the plant or does it overshadow it? Does it complement the rest of the decor?
There are many questions to be answered, but pick the most relevant pots. To us its the look and quality of the pot itself and how it looks with the plant. Even if there is a hole at the bottom – and most unique, hand-turned pots are unlikely to have matching plates or saucers – we’ll adapt. Cover the hole with silicone or line the pot with plastic. It does mean you’ll have to keep a closer eye on over-watering because the water will have no way to escape. When and if the soil gets too soggy, the roots will simply rot. But any beautiful, high maintenance pot is better than a dull, standard low-maintenance pot.
Garden centres are great sources for pots – the right ones but not necessarily the nice ones. Major home furnishing store including Habitat and arts and crafts centres will also have their own range. It is at “studio potters” you’ll find one off pots of a super quality. Studio potters are smaller, independet potters who are either keen and good amateurs or professional “artist” potters. They thrive on making the most beautiful and unique pots. Those are the ones which will make your plant stand out and add to the ambiance. See also our blog on ceramics as home decor – ideas on how to add a touch of class to your home with handmade ceramic pots for plants.
Replanting – How to look after your Plants
Our plants will need replanting every so often. Plants we leave to grow and fend for themselves for some time – particularly if we lead busy lives – can suddenly start showing roots at the top or stop growing. Perhaps roots even start showing through the drainage holes. That’s the time when your plant will need a bigger pot and some tidying up of roots. That is quite a simple process as shown below: It can also be that you’ll need a new pot because of over-watering. Too much water – specially if the plant is in a pot without a drainage hole – can drown the roots. You notice this happening if the leaves start drooping while staying green and fresh looking. The surface may be dry but once you remove the plant from the pot you’ll see lots of moist soil.
Possibly even water that the plant hasn’t been able to absorb. Follow instructions that come with each plant but if you have lots of plants it can be difficult to remember which one needs planting. You’ll learn with time and soon get a feel for what each plant needs in terms of water and general maintenance. Be warned: having lots of plants can feel like having children. They need looking after and some are more difficult than others.
Decorating with artificial indoor Plants and Flowers
Some might consider it cheating and actually it is… But today’s production techniques are so incredibly good it is sometimes hard to tell the real plant from the fake. Where you really want a plant, and there’s no chance a real one would survive because of lack of light or similar, a fake plant is perfectly appropriate. Indeed, as some fake plants and flowers are fantastically beautiful and worthy of display in their own right.
Amongst them, fake peonies – they come in many sizes and shapes and colours. And in different levels of quality, too. But a very well made fake peony is a small work of art and costs around $20 or £16-£20. There are some excellent boutiques priding themselves on selling fake plants that look almost better than the real thing. And as the peony season is very short, and the real flower only last two weeks maximum before it crumbles, there is a big argument for having fakes on show.