Over the past few years, it seems that there’s one thing every designer agrees on—no matter your personal style or home’s aesthetic, every room can use some greenery.
But even if you’re confident in your own indoor gardening abilities, adding plant life to a space can be overwhelming. With this in mind, we turned to a few of our favorite experts to ask for their best plant styling tips for any and all spaces.
Meet the Expert
- Margaret Costello is the owner of the multi-disciplinary design firm, Margaret Costello Interiors & Design Studio. She loves adding plants to her designs.
- Gary McCoy is a store manager at Lowe’s serving the Charlotte, N.C. community.
- Christine Vroom is the founder and principal of Christine Vroom Interiors.
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First, Assess the Space
Before you hightail it to your local nursery or garden center, designer Margaret Costello suggests assessing your room first.
“Look at the space and determine what is needed: height, fullness, or both,” she says. “Think also about using a grouping of three plants instead of one.”
It’s also important to consider where in the room you’d like to place your new friend. “Depending on the space, height can be an extremely important element when selecting a plant," Costello shares.Continue to 2 of 7 below.
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Consider the Logistics
As you assess your space, Costello also suggests looking at the logistics to determine plant placement.
“Always consider the natural light, and think about what you are willing to do to keep your plant lush before committing to a particular plant species," she notes. "Do you have the bandwidth to water regularly? Will the plant need to be moved on occasion to get sunlight?”
Plant pro Gary McCoy, a store manager at Lowe’s, agrees, noting that you should determine light sources before investing in new plants.
“First, determine if your home offers bright or low light," he says. "For areas that lack natural sunlight, indoor house plants, like bamboo, are wonderful options. Likewise, plants like bonsai or fiddle leaf figs are great house plants for areas drenched in sun."Continue to 3 of 7 below.
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Look for Blank Space
As Christine Vroom of Christine Vroom Interiors tells us, plants are perfect for filling out the spaces that are otherwise left bare. “What I love about plants is the extra dimension they give,” she says “They bring life and brightness to a space. I try to mix textures as much as possible when I'm styling the home.”
Just as you would add additional decor when looking to style a room, Vroom sees plants the same way. “I view plants the same way I view furniture or accessories: if there is an empty space that is begging for something, typically, the answer is greenery or plants,” she says.Continue to 4 of 7 below.
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Consider the Scale
Vroom says her next consideration is the scale of the space in terms of the plant needed. “Do you have an empty space in need of a floor plant?" she suggests asking yourself. "Or, maybe you have a bookcase that is feeling really one-note, and a succulent or mini palm would do the trick."
According to Vroom, design is all about achieving balance in color, texture, space, and feel—and plant styling and selection should factor into this.
“Selecting a plant height is a part of that balance—it's as easy as taking in the space and feeling out what makes sense," she explains. "For example, if you have an empty corner, you might need something tall. Or, if you have a bookcase that has smaller shelves, you will want to decide if you want a smaller vase with a larger plant behind it, or maybe a low succulent arrangement on a stack of books.”Continue to 5 of 7 below.
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Work With What You Have
As Vroom tells us, plants are perfect for finishing touches. “View your plant like an accessory, and look for spots in your home that need some greenery and life,” she says.
Costello agrees, noting that plants can help give a room its final pieces of perfection. “Plants can be a great way to create balance, anchor a room, enhance your color palate, and more,” she notes.Continue to 6 of 7 below.
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Create a Room-by-Room Plant Plan
McCoy also suggests looking at which plants work best by room. “Herbs, for instance, are a great plant to add to a kitchen, as they can easily be propped on a window ledge or countertop—plus, they double as an ingredient while adding a pop of color and aroma to the space,” he tells us.
Continue to 7 of 7 below.
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It’s Okay to Go Faux
If you love the look of greenery but really don’t trust your own brown thumb, McCoy tells us that faux plants are perfectly fine. “Faux plants can offer the authentic look of real plants without the hassle of watering, trimming, and fertilizing,” he tells us. “Without any sunlight requirements to adhere to, you can place them anywhere—near a sunny window or in a dark, cold room."
But if you do go faux, McCoy has some suggestions.
- Faux plants and flowers made from silk offer the most realistic look of any artificial option—and McCoy notes to keep this in mind when shopping for artificial flower arrangements.
- When it comes to caring for artificial plants, there’s really not much to be concerned with. For best results, keep silk plants out of direct sunlight to minimize fading—this is especially important if you have artificial flowers outdoors.
- To dust them, simply use a feather duster or a damp rag to wipe down leaves.
Vroom is another big proponent of adding faux greenery to your space. “Maybe it's a beautiful vase of dried eucalyptus, or even a nice tall live tree planted in a gorgeous sculptured pot—the key is finding vendors that focus on truly capturing the faux and making it look as natural as possible," she notes. "If you can do that, then the plants feel exactly the way a real plant does."
Real or fake, one thing is certain. "Plants add an extra special element in the space that you would otherwise not have," says Vroom.