Houseplants and Interior Design

Often overlooked, one ornamental object that can be considered interior designed, architectural or decorative are houseplants. Modern homes and apartments may have open plan areas, large windows, climate control, or central heating making exotic and tropical plants ideal to make a statement in any room.

With a wide variety of leaf shapes, sizes, colours and textures, houseplants can be used to decorate homes that are more conventional as well and they serve a wide variety of design purposes.

For instance, houseplants can be used to make a room look larger. If you want to make a ceiling appear higher, place a tall, slender plant, such as Dracaena marginata, in a corner. To fill in dead corners, use a tall, bushy plant like Ficus benjamina. If there is not enough space for larger floor plants, consider hanging houseplants, which will often be of a flowering variety.

If you have windows with greenery outside, houseplants near the window can draw the eye so that the indoors seems to be an extension of the outdoors giving a spacious feel.

You can also use houseplants to make large rooms look smaller. Accomplish this by bringing in a plant that is over sized for the space, which will make the ceiling feel lower, or choose a plant that grows up and then drapes. A good draping choice is the ponytail plant (Beaucarnearecurvata). Plants can also be used to break up large living spaces and create transitions between rooms.

For successful decorating with houseplants, try some of these options:


Houseplants especially blooming ones add to a room’s decor when placed in the spotlight. Rather than putting short-lived cut flowers on the dining room table, try orchids, African violets, anthuriums, or plants with colourful foliage. Other good spots for eye-catching plants are coffee tables, entrances, the foot, or top of stairs, kitchen counters, and fireplace mantelpieces.


Plants can be used to create intimate spaces. Flank a sofa with flowering plants and on the coffee table add a plant with a similar colour, and the whole space will feel comfortable and cosy.


Clusters of small plants add a decorative touch to certain areas of the home such as desks, pianos, fireplace mantelpieces, dressers, and nightstands. Bathrooms are a logical choice for plants as the steam and warmth help them to thrive. In individual pots or grouped together they add interest especially with different coloured foliage and flowers


Houseplants have style too. The type of plants you choose will dictate the feeling of each room. Some plants, like orchids, lend an elegant, sensuous atmosphere to a room, while others, such as the rubber plant (Ficus elastica), and tend to give a room a more informal, heavier feel.

With the easy availability of plants from all over the world, you can bring a real difference to your home with the right types of plant enhancing the décor of your rooms and bringing you the enjoyment of having natural living. Plants are also good for improving air quality too, so there is this additional benefit as well.

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