In these uncertain, often overwhelming times, I’ve found solace in my houseplants. There’s an undeniable joy that comes from a pristine fiddle leaf fig or the moment of repose found while taking in a monstera. Even a small amount of ivy can be a huge relief. My home is full of green friends. Although having a lot of plants is a good thing, it can lead to clutter. If you have too many houseplants, your living room can look like a nursery. That’s why I embarked on a mission to learn how to arrange plants in a living room.
It was quite easy to discover the wisdom to decorate your home with plants. Over the last few years, nearly everyone is honing their indoor green thumb. I’m basing this claim on my friends’ homes and the market. Walk around any neighborhood in my city of San Francisco and you’ll find handfuls of shops selling vibrant pink philodendrons and glossy pothos. My latest find was the best. Little Trees in San Francisco’s Richmond neighborhood. Kathy Ho, owner of the tiny verdant boutique, fills it with such an attentive eye (and treats her green babies with incredible love). I had to tap into her design wisdom about how to arrange houseplants within a living room.
Here, Ho and Bloomscape are asked to be a gardening and design expert. Lindsay PangbornHow to accent your living room with plants. I learned that putting some thought into how and where I place my potted friends can significantly increase the joy I glean from them.
“Plants bring you relaxation, peace, and joy when you spend time with them, either when watering them, witnessing them having a good morning sunbath, or watching a new baby leaf come up,”Ho tells you. “It’s good Feng Sui to have plants in your house—to feel the balance and the positive good vibes.”
What are the Best Ways to Arrange Your Plants in a Living Room.
#1: Small Groups
Ho suggests putting houseplants together in groups of two to three. This will add a sense of calm to the room and prevent clutter. She suggests grouping houseplants with the same care requirements together to make maintenance easier. “This makes it easier to water them, plus they provide one another with some moisture, which plants love.”
Trailing plants—i.e. arranging them from high places to low—provides a reason to look up, which is one of the greatest tricks for making a small living room look bigger. This is one of Ho’s go-to looks she suggests for clients. Her advice: Pair a favorite plant and vase and put it on top of your bookshelf, TV stand, or hutch, allowing the leaves to fall down as the plant grows.
Much like the cascading look, hanging pots bring the eye up—and they allow you to make the most of the space you have, says Pangborn. This look is very simple. This look is simple: Hang a pot from the ceiling.
#4: On the Floor
A common houseplant décor mistake is neglecting to use floor space. You can use the rule of two to three and place plants in an empty corner or near the sofa. If you have the space, place a taller indoor plant, such as an avocado tree or fiddle leaf fig, in a large pot on the floor. These houseplants are larger than the average. “create instant impact in a room thanks to their size,”Pangborn. “And they easily fill out a corner or a bare wall.” Pro tip: Make sure to allow room between a taller plant and any wall art so the two don’t aesthetically compete.
#5: The “Jungle”Look!
If you love the look of lots of plants, Pangborn says to go with it—but vary the sizing and shape. “Choose plants with contrasting leaf shapes and colors to maintain visual interest—for example, combining a bold-leafed monstera plant, burgundy rubber tree, and a lush, fine-textured Kimberly Queen fern makes a show-stopping trio,”She said. Ho adds that you can create your very own jungle in the privacy of your home.
How Many Plants Are Ideal?
This is the ultimate question. And before I get to Ho and Pangborn’s takes, I’ll make this rallying cry: Let your plant flag fly! If it brings you joy, any number is fine. The essential thing to consider isn’t how many plants you should have, but how well you can tend to them.
Here’s what to consider:
#1: Space & Flow
Plants need ample room to show their beauty, says Ho, who implores anyone opting for many plants to ensure they’re not crowded. For healthy growth and extension towards light, ensure that each plant has at most a few inches between its sister.
#2: The Type Of Plant
Extending upon Ho’s above advice, some plants prefer drier air, which requires giving them even more space to promote airflow and keep their foliage healthy, informs Pangborn. “Succulents and plants with semi-succulent leaves, like the whale fin sansevieria, are examples of plants that do best slightly spaced out from one another.”
Pangborn states that plants that are native to tropical rainforest locations thrive under higher humidity conditions. This includes the heartleaf-philodendron as well as the stromanthe triostar. Both of these plants do well in groups. “trapping the moisture released from plants and creating a humid microclimate.”
Image by Steven Karlisch
What are the Best Plants to Use in a Living Room?
One’s home decor is ultimately dependent on personal preferences, says Pangborn. For added depth, color and texture, plants of any size can be incorporated into a living space. These are some of the best for the living room:
4 out of 9
Image by Michelle Nash.
One last tip: Just do it!
Plants should complement your space—and life—and never compete with your flow, Pangborn reminds me. “They can add so much beauty, but if you find yourself stressed about the care requirements or constantly having to shuffle plants around to make room for your daily activities, don’t feel guilty about changing it up,”She said. You can also bring one outside during the warmer months. And if you find one doesn’t bring you the joy it once did, there’s no shame in re-homing a houseplant. Greenery is about keeping your energy positive.