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Top 5 Indoor Plant Styling Tips

I once had a lecturer at college who said; "The only excuse for indoor plants was to cover up bad architecture". That may have been true in the '90s, but not now. Ever since I went to the Milan Furniture Fair in 2016, plants have been a growing phenomenon in interiors. Pun intended!

Interest in plants was visible then on fabric and in some acknowledgement of furniture styles, and the use of actual plants in the stands styling.

We now know that apart from their decorative and sculptural presence in an interior, there are many other benefits - happiness, clean air, and so on. I won't pretend that I know about these aspects, but I do know about their use in interiors from a decorative perspective.

So, here are my top design and styling tips for placement of your plants and pots in your home:

1. Repeated Object

This is something we use often to add presence and symmetry when accessorising. If symmetry is something that appeals to you then this is a great styling option. Use the same item – e.g. small pot with cactus - in a row down a table.

The idea is that the repeated objects become their own object. The trick is the slight variation - not quite the same cactus, or not quite the same pot - BUT with a relationship.

2. Symmetry

My amazing Principal and colleague Meryl Hare has a favourite saying; "Symmetry is the product of a tired mind".

Basically, the eye and the mind find asymmetry stimulating. For instance, group 3 or 5 pots instead of lining up just 2 or 4. So, this is an add on to the repeated object!

3. Proportion and Balance

Of all the design principals that I have learnt, both in college and on the job, the most important is proportion. It is subtle but impactful. Simply put, you are at ease if it’s good and off balance if it’s not.

Let’s take an example:

  1. Take a shelf - add a plant in a beautiful pot! Easy!!
  2. Doesn't look quite right... Why not? Think proportion and balance.
  3. Is it too big or small for the space? Just trust your instinct!
  4. Should the plant overhang the edge? Creating a link to what's happening below?
  5. Does it need a friend to balance it? Remember our repeated object.
  6. Does it need a stack of books to give it height, balance or gravitas?

And, don't forget to look at the whole space you are accessorizing for. Yes, you have just got the most wonderful pot and amazing plant - with texture and colour. But it will never be seen in isolation - so look at the whole picture. The whole group of objects and its surrounds. 

4. Colour and Texture

We all love colour - some colours we love in our home; some we love to wear. But colour touches us every day!

So, colour is complex because its soooo personal. And everyone sees colour slightly different. So, I think the trick with colour is to pick a colour you love with the situation in mind... For example:

White Shelves

You have white shelves that look fresh and clean - try a bright clean colour for your pot or try a dark colour for stark contrast and drama!

Dark Shelves

You have dark shelves that look moody - pick an ‘off’ colour, not a clean one (off being slightly muddy, not pure or primary). It could be light for contrast or dark for subtlety.

And remember, texture adds depth. It draws the eye, intriguing the mind. This is why it works so well in interiors.

When you add your plant to your pot you have instantly added texture. Add this combination to a surface - table, desk, shelf, floor and you have added another dimension that defines the space and adds intrigue!

5. Layering

Layering is simply adding. But adding until its right, until it’s enough. How do you know when its enough? Back to our principals of proportion and balance!

Layering is combining objects to create visual balance and proportion. For example:

Your amazing Curly Sue will look great (actually in anything) but especially in a simple matt pot because it will add texture to the flatness of the matt finish. Layer this with some beautiful quirky shapes in Resin, Glass or Metal - and you have textural distinction which complement each other.

These styling tips are 5 simple ways to effectively enhance the effect of your beloved plants and pots in your home. And, of course if you need any more plants or pots to compliment your indoor aesthetic, Greenhouse Co is always here to help and some amazing plants and pots can be delivered fresh to your door within 2-4 days.

January 01, 2020 — Josh Douglass