It was when I recently caught myself standing at a garden centre checkout with a Maidenhair Fern proudly packed into my basket, that I realised just how much of a plant ‘obsession’ I have developed in the past year. Even as little as two years ago, I would not have been caught dead purchasing such an old-fashioned plant – the Maidenhair Fern, with its delicate showers of lacework leaves suspended from long, spindly stems, was the plant of choice for my grandmother’s generation, often found sitting on a bathroom window ledge or hall console table. It was not the choice of interior accessory that someone remotely youthful (even as remotely as I) would contemplate as a must-have in their home… and yet, here I am, pleased as punch with this most recent addition to my growing plant family.
Greenery of all shapes and sizes is really in the interior spotlight just now. In fact, no room scheme is complete without a plant tucked in there somewhere, so as someone who is firmly in Team Green, I wanted to show you some ways you can use plants in your own home to solve a common interior decor dilemma or simply to complete a room scheme.
Pep up a boring bathroom
Bathroom looking a bit flat and clinical? Use pops of greenery to enhance the space and take it to another level. Set a trailing ivy onto a bathroom shelf and let it hang elegantly down the wall, pop a luscious, shade and damp-loving fern onto a bathtub corner or simply a big leafy palm set into a woven basket in a corner to add height and textural interest. Many plants thrive in humid bathroom conditions and they help create that sought after, spa-like feel. All you need is a pile of big, fluffy, white towels on the side!
Best plants for bathrooms? Choose varieties that love warm, humid conditions, such as Aloe Vera, English Ivy (also good for purifying the air!) Peace Lily, Snake Plant and Ferns (these grow best in darker bathrooms).
In this bathroom, the stunning plant helps to enliven the space. I also love how it’s illuminated by the light from the window behind.
Add interest to open kitchen shelving
With more new kitchens featuring open shelving than before, it’s important to keep those shelves carefully styled for maximum impact. Tucking leafy green fresh herbs such as Rosemary and Thyme in amongst the carefully arranged ceramic bowls and glassware gives the eye something to rest on and breaks up the textures a little. Greenery pairs perfectly with industrial style shelving and lighting as seen below, because I think it softens any harsh edges and metallic finishes, resulting in a cosy, rustic vibe. Pop your kitchen plants into a variety of pots and empty tins for added interest.
Best plants for kitchens? Herbs such as Rosemary, Thyme and Basil are the obvious choice, but try to avoid the force-grown supermarket potted types and grow your own from cuttings or seeds or buy from a garden centre for a longer-lasing, healthier plant. Other plants that look good on kitchen shelves are trailing ivy, Aloe Vera or Spider Plant, the latter two of which require very little maintenance – perfect for a busy chef or mum!
Lift a muted decor scheme
If your home has been painted in a palette of muted greys, creams and pastels, plants are a fabulous way to lift your decor scheme and prevent it from looking too, well, ‘meh’.
Take the room below, for example. The addition of a gold statement light fitting certainly helps to add interest, however in my opinion, it’s the Calathea or ‘Prayer Plant’ that completes this room. It’s also a great air purifier and only requires a light watering twice a week to be happy. It’s perfect set into this pink midcentury style planter, as it complements the pinkish tinge to the plant’s leaves.
Other great plants for lifting muted decor schemes include the Areca or ‘Butterfly Palm’ and the ever popular Swiss Cheese Plant.
Make monochrome less monotonous
There are fewer more striking interiors than monochrome ones, you only have to check out how the Scandinavians work their magic with black and white to see why. The only drawback to restricting your decor to monochrome pieces is that it can look a touch cold and uninviting, however this can be quickly and easily remedied with the addition of a few new plants. Architectural plants with spiked or oversized leaves look best set within a monochrome scheme, as seen below, where a dainty little plant with feathery leaves just won’t cut it. Remember to add in plenty of rustic wood finishes for warmth, too.
Best plants for adding cool vibes to monochrome schemes? Try the Swiss Cheese Plant as mentioned before or a large leafed palm.
Brighten up a dark and moody interior
Dark and moody interiors are gaining popularity right now, but they do really benefit from different textures and finishes to add definition and depth. In blogger Fiona’s home below, she favours deep and luxurious colours and I love how she has added interest by way of different shaped plants dotted about at varying heights. The shiny, textured leaves really pop against the charcoal walls, don’t they? Such a cosy and inviting space.
Similarly, in the picture further below, the variegated leaves look fantastic against the deep green wall, which would perhaps look a little too flat without them. Along with the patterned cushions, the plants enrich the overall look and feel of this window seat.
Here are a final few pointers for you:
- A tall, large leafed plant looks great set into the corner of a room to help define the boundaries of an area and break up empty wall space. This method works well in bedrooms or living rooms.
- Trailing varieties look fabulous hung from the ceiling or below a high shelf, helping to fill otherwise empty space.
- Succulents are an effective way to add interest to shelves, bookcases or desks – pop them into coloured pots and arrange in odd numbers for added impact.
- Use plants grouped at varying heights around or near a patio door – it really helps to blur the boundaries between outside and inside, thus creating the illusion that your garden is just another room of your house..
- Every bathroom should house at least one plant. Just trust me on that.
- Finally, set aside time in your busy week to check on all your plants! Most need a light watering once a week, whilst others (such as succulents and peace lilies) benefit from being left alone until their soil feels dry to the touch. Remember to feed houseplants once a month at least – they will thank you for it with their fuller, glossier leaves!
Have you embraced plants in your own home to complete a room scheme or simply to add interest to a dark corner or plain shelf?
Would love to know your favourites!