The Idealist

Indoor plants to enhance your home

Indoor plants have moved on from the lonely spider plant neglected in a corner of a room: they are now a fully integral part of interior decor. With plants ranging from collections of small succulents to big and bold plants making a statement, any interior photo from the last few years will confirm this growing trend.


Plants literally breathe life into a room by filtering out pollutants and releasing oxygen and photochemicals which suppress mould spoors and bacteria. This makes them ideal for homes, especially bathrooms and bedrooms where clean air is essential. They also add humidity which helps to counter dry air caused by central heating which can be a problem of modern living. Adding green life to a home shows that the property is cared for enough to keep another growing plant alive and is particularly important if you don’t have any green space outside.

Plant suitability

Looking at a plant’s origins helps to determine the suitability of a plant to a specific area. Plants that come from hotter tropics prefer to be in warm rooms with moisture in the air so bathrooms are perfect. Succulents and cacti originate from dry and arid climates so sunny window sills and very little watering is best. Some ferns on the other extreme are very thirsty and need frequent watering. It’s always best to look at care labels when buying plants to find the optimum location and level of care needed for your plants to thrive.

Which plant should I buy?

In addition to finding out how much water and light a plant needs, it’s worth bearing in mind the plant’s size and shape. Is it fast growing? Will it need repotting soon? What is the leaf shape, size and colour? Thinking about these questions will ensure you select the right plant for the right space. Popular and easy to maintain indoor plants include palms, peace lilies, Chinese evergreens, succulents, fiddle leaf fig trees and air plants.

How to arrange plants within the home

Take inspiration from website and magazine photos that contain plants. Grouping different plants together adds impact to a room, as does a collection of similar plants. Think about the height of a plant, as large leaf plants such as palms work well in large containers or baskets on the floor whereas others suit plant holders that maximise space and give added height. I often use stools for plant holders that double up as extra seating or side tables when needed. Arranging plants in odd numbers works best so think in threes and fives, perhaps using similar materials and colours in the pots. Terracotta is a classic material for plant containers that never goes out of style.

Bringing the outside in

Having greenery within the home provides a link with nature and being outside. Indoor plants help to achieve this by allowing the eye to connect plants inside and outside. This feels even more necessary now that the nights are drawing in and we don’t spend as much time outdoors, a perfect excuse to bring some plant life into our lives.

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Images Copyright: bialasiewicz, skdesign on 123RF Stock Photo and Clare Murthy Photography at Fiona Brass Interiors.

  • Helen is a fabric designer and lives with her husband and two sons near Bath. She grew up by the sea in Cornwall and is reinventing a modern coastal look of interiors with her debut collection in a minimal graphic design inspired style. Passionate about pattern, Helen is constantly capturing images on her phone for potential design inspiration.

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