5 Tips For Using Plants in Design

5 Tips For Using Plants in Design

Last Updated On: July 19, 2022

Plants and design go together hand and hand. Whether bright and colorful, or more subtle, adding foliage to your rooms can take your interior design to the next level. In this article we’ll look at some tips to keep in mind when using your plants for design. These tips will help you make the best decisions when decorating your rooms, and help you bring your final aesthetic vision to fruition through the beauty of plants.

1. Match The Plants To The Room

The first step is always to make sure that the room you’re decorating is conducive to the plants you’re choosing. Particularly, you want to make sure that it gets enough light to support your chosen plants.

Nothing is going to ruin a design worse than having a sickly plant due to lack of light. So, start by keeping that at the forefront of your mind. A low light room doesn’t mean you can’t grow plants there, but it does limit which plants will thrive.

You should also be mindful of where in the room you’re placing your plant. While it may be bright near a window, that intensity drops off quickly as you move deeper into the room. Look to keep most plants as close to the windows as possible for optimal lighting.

If you’re in a less lit room, or looking to spruce up a darker area of a room, consider going with low light plants. Ultimately, you’ll have much more success working with plants that are naturally adapted to where you’re growing over trying to force them into a sub-optimal location.

2. Use Tall Plants To Accent Corners

When considering location, tall plants do wonders in room corners and other areas of vertical space. Small trees will naturally grow up and fill the space they’re in, which can often add appeal to a neglected area of your room.

We like fiddle leaf figs quite a bit for this purpose. These easy to grow plants can get quite tall, and make a striking piece in any room. There are lots of other plants that fit this same use case, the fiddle leaf is just one option, so choose one that fits your overall aesthetic.

One word of caution, try not to go overboard with these tall plants. Their size means that they take up a good deal of space, and that also means they tend to draw the eye. Adding too many to a single room can make it feel too busy and negatively affect the visual experience you’re trying to create.

3. Don’t Neglect Hanging Plants/Baskets

Hanging baskets are another great option that many gardeners and designers neglect. The great thing about baskets is that they can occupy space that otherwise goes unused. This allows gardeners more space to grow their plants, but also adds to the design as a hanging basket can look quite dramatic.

The key here is picking good plants that thrive and look aesthetically pleasing in hanging baskets. English Ivy is one good example as it will naturally tend to “trail” out of the basket and gently hang over the edges. When growing in hanging baskets look for plants with this property for the best effect.

Similar to above, you don’t want to go overboard here either. Too many hanging baskets can make a room feel busy and chaotic, and feels more like a fun house than a well put together design.

4. Match Your Plant’s Color With Its Design Purpose

Plants come in a huge array of colors; really any color you can imagine there’s a plant that fits that palette. For a cohesive look you want to match your plant’s colors with your overall aesthetic and the purpose of the plant.

Remember, the more bold the colors of your plant the more likely they are to draw the eye and become a centerpiece of the design. That’s perfectly fine, and there are many plants that fit that role, but sometimes you may want a more subtle look.

Going with non-flowering foliage is a great way to add to a design in a more subtle fashion. A small green plant can be just as beautiful as a brilliant flowering orchid in the right conditions. It really does depend on the overall design itself.

You should also keep in mind a plant’s size. Larger plants will tend to draw more attention, while a smaller plant on the table will be more subtle. You can also mix and match to create a flow through the room.

The key is to think about what role the plant plays in your design and find the correct plant to fit that goal. Do you want the plant to be the focal point that immediately draws attention? Or, should it be more subtle and add to the design without being the focus?

5. Group Plants For Dramatic Effect

Grouping multiple plants together is another great technique that can add some drama to your design. When doing so, keep in mind how the plants look together including their colors, leaf shape, and size.

Matching these properties together can create a sense of order and cohesion. It can also make an area look “fuller” as the multiple plants will take up extra space.

On the other hand, you can mismatch these properties to create an interesting look. Many designers will purposely put varying leaf types together, like Pothos and a fern, to create a visual difference between the plants. This can work well, and all depends on your goal for the room.

Also, keep in mind the idea that odd numbers tend to be more pleasing to the eye. Going with sets of 3, 5, or 7 plants is often more interesting than an even numbered amount.

Where To Go From Here?

Interior design and plant design is a big topic, and these 5 tips only scratch the surface. Hopefully, they’ve got you thinking and you’ll start to come up with ideas to spruce up your home.

This is only the first in a planned series where we’ll be diving into the many facets of interior designing with plants. We’ll update this article over time with links to other resources and articles, so check back often if you’re interested in learning more.

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