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How to Style Houseplants Like a Pro: Essential Do’s and Don’ts

Discover the art of decorating with houseplants with our handy guide. Get all the insider tips on how to style houseplants beautifully and avoid common pitfalls to keep your indoor garden thriving and stylish.

House plants are a super trendy – yet also timeless – way to decorate your home.

Whether you are hoping to start a houseplant hobby or just want some interesting, textured home decor, adding indoor plants into your home can be a great option.

It’s no secret that I am a plant lover – hello, I ended up starting an entire houseplant blog just to talk about them!

But there are definitely better ways to display your collection so that they look more aesthetically pleasing in your space.

Let’s talk about the best way to style your houseplants (sometimes called “plantscaping”!) for an interior designer look!

how to decorate with houseplants

How to decorate with houseplants

Here are some of my top tips for turning your green thumb into the star of your home!

Focus on the plant’s needs

The most important part of including house plants in your home is that you take the plants care needs into consideration when choosing their pot and placement inside your home.

Of course, needs vary by plants, but in general most house plants need bright, indirect light, medium to high humidity, and watering about once a week.

If you have a dark corner of your home, you can add a low light house plant, but you might be better off adding a fake plant instead.

There’s nothing more frustrating than killing plants, so let’s set yourself up for success from the beginning.

fiddle leaf fig in a corner

Stick to one aesthetic

It’s great to collect a wide variety of plants, but generally it looks aesthetically nicer if you keep the house plants that are at least in direct proximity to each other the same aesthetic.

So what I mean by this is, if you go for a tropical look, ttick to tropical plants in that space.

If you want more like succulents, do a whole succulent display.

You can, of course, mix plants, especially if you have a plant stand with a lot of different plants altogether, but the easiest way to get a designer look is to have it feels super cohesive and intentional.

misting potted plants

Think about height

One of the best things about decorating with houseplants is that they are a great way to add height to a boring empty area.

A great way to do this is with a taller tree like a fiddle leaf fig or an olive tree.

Another way to add height with house plants is to hang a hanging pot or planter from the ceiling. This will draw your eye up and add a small focal point in an unexpected spot.

Swiss cheese plant hanging from hanging plant shelf

Get creative with plant stands

Think out of the box when it comes to plant stands. Of course, you could build a plant stand with a hanging bar to display just a ton of plants.

Or, you could get something like an old side table or console table and upcycle it to be home to potted plants.

I have found that using wood furniture to hold a group of plants is a great way to get more of a designer look than using something that is more clearly a plant stand, and might feel like it straight out of a garden center or patio set up.

hanging wooden plant hanger

Use houseplants for texture

I’m really big on considering texture when decorating your home. If you don’t want to bring in a lot of pops of color, bringing in texture is a way to make a space feel interesting without being too busy or over the top.

House plants are perfect for adding texture since their leaves can be rippled, bumpy, or even shiny.

Consider the existing textures in your space and think about selecting house plants that might have a contrasting texture just to be interesting.

Completed simple DIY floating shelves

Cluster smaller plants

Sometimes, having a few small potted plants around the room can feel really random and disjointed.

If you have a lot of smaller sized plants, consider clustering them together. This has a few benefits.

From a plant care perspective, clustering plants can boost their humidity and actually make a lot of tropical house plants very happy.

From an aesthetic perspective, clustering potted plants creates a focal point and a real moment in your space.

If you want the plants to really catch your eye, putting them all together will be a lot more eye-catching compared to a few small pots scattered around the room.

living room with accent wall

Pick pretty pots

Of course, don’t forget to choose pretty pots that are cohesive with the aesthetic of your space. Swapping out pots. It’s a really easy way to refresh your plants and make them feel like an intentional decor choice.

You can also get creative with pots – I have been known to thrift old ceramic canisters and spray paint them for affordable, beautiful plant pots.

how to style houseplants like a pro

Mistakes to avoid when decorating with houseplants

Of course, any decor that makes you happy is A-OK in my book. But, if something in your plant display just doesn’t feel quite right, here are some common issues.

Don’t consider the plant’s needs

The biggest mistake that you can make when decorating with plants is to neglect your plants basic needs. It doesn’t matter how bad you want it, most plants are not going to survive in a dark windowless corner.

You need to also make sure that they get plenty of airflow and are away from any vents which can blow super cold or hot air on them.

If you don’t have the right conditions for a plant, there’s no shame in purchasing a faux plant. As long as you keep it clean, and choose a high-quality one, they can look super good.

Neglecting drainage needs

Another common issue that I see when people decorate with plants is that they pick a beautiful ceramic pot that does not have any drainage holes. This means that if you overwater your plant, even a little bit, excess water will pool in the bottom of the pot and can drown the roots and kill your plant.

My favorite way to solve this is to leave house plants in their plastic nursery pots and just set that pot inside the ceramic pot. This way, excess water drains out and you can dump it easily from the ceramic pot.

The other option is to drill drainage holes in your ceramic pot. This will make sure that any excess water drains way, you just have to be really careful when watering so that you don’t end up with water pooling on your table top.

Drilling a hole for drainage in the bottom of a ceramic container to use as a pot

Mixing random plants

Another reason that your house plants might look weird is if you are mixing aesthetics in one space.

For example, if you have a shelf over console table and you want to style three plants in the space, don’t mix one cactus with one tropical plant with one African violet. These plants all have very different vibes.

It’s better to stick to one aesthetic and anyone vignette of plants. This will give you more of a styled look and less of a “plant sale rack at Home Depot” type feeling.

Too much of the same

Along those same lines but in the opposite direction, too much of the same plant can be boring as well. I get it, I have a ton of golden Pothos because it just keeps growing and I just keep propagating it.

But just putting five of the same plant around the same room can feel kind of weird and claustrophobic.

It’s definitely better to mix it up, even with slightly different varieties of the same plant, so it feels interesting.

Take those extra duplicates and join a plant swap, and trade for something new!

How to clean houseplant leaves

Forgetting to dust

Finally, a bit of housekeeping. House plant leaves get dusty. It’s just a fact! It’s important to dust them for a few reasons.

One, they look bad when they’re dusty and dirty.

Two, dust can block the leaves from completing photosynthesis and make them just a little bit less healthy.

Just take a damp paper towel or soft cloth and wipe the leaves down a couple of times a year to keep them clean and happy.

Want to show your houseplants some love?!
–> How to clean plant leaves
–> How to propagate a plant (free eBook!)
–> When to repot a plant
–> Rotating houseplants
–> When to cut leaves off of plants

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