Biophilic Design for Beginners: 17 Ways to Incorporate Biophilic Design into Your Home

At the beginning of the year, we predicted that biophilic design would be a 2021 interior design trend to look out for. Spoiler alert: biophilic design is one of the year’s biggest trends! But what is biophilic design exactly? Let’s take a closer look at biophilic design and how you can incorporate it into your home.

What is Biophilic Interior Design?

You may not be familiar with the term, but biophilic design is a concept in architecture and interior design that’s all about feeling more connected to nature and embracing the positive health and environmental benefits that come with that. It comes from the term biophilia, which means a love of nature and everything that is alive.

As an architecture and interior design approach, biophilic design is a relatively new concept—with much of today’s approach developed by Stephen Kellert in the 2000s. Kellert was a professor of social ecology at Yale and created a framework around how biophilia can be used in interior architecture to fill the human need for nature.

The core principles Kellert developed include direct and indirect experiences of nature in your home. Direct experiences include elements that offer tangible contact with natural elements—like celebrating natural light; being conscious of airflow, temperature, and humidity; and incorporating water, plants, and animals into your space. Indirect experiences of nature are more about representations of nature in your home. Examples of this can range from the more literal, like landscape paintings and the use of natural materials and colors, to the more abstract like the use of natural shapes and patterns in furniture and decor.

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How to Incorporate Biophilic Design into Your Home

It’s easier than you might think to apply these core principles of biophilic design in your home. If you want to increase your connectivity with nature in your own home, read on for 17 ways to incorporate biophilic design into your home! We’ll start with some tips that will help you bring some direct experiences of nature into your home, then help you explore some indirect experiences of nature in your space.

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1. Invite Natural, Layered Lighting

Make your home’s environment feel more natural through lighting that simulates nature. Start by assessing the natural light in your space and how you can use windows and skylights to optimize your home’s natural lighting. Arrange your space in a way that celebrates the different lighting throughout the day; perhaps you want your sofa to bask in the afternoon sunlight or for your breakfast nook to catch the morning light. Take some time to assess the light patterns in your home and plan your layout accordingly.

You’ll also want to keep layered lighting in mind—from overhead lighting and floor lamps to a variety of candles, sconces, and table lamps. Intentionally choosing lighting for your home will help you have more control of the lighting in your space and let you change lighting levels depending on your mood and the time of day. Rather than feeling artificial, this lets you change the lighting in your home in a way that mimics the way light changes in nature throughout the day.

You can also use reflective surfaces like glass tables and mirrors to bring more reflection of light into your space.

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2. Let in Some Fresh Air

Considering the way air moves in your space is a significant way to incorporate biophilic design into your home. In the simplest terms, this involves stimulating some airflow. The most natural way to do this is to simply crack a window and let in the natural breeze. (Bonus: depending on where you live, this will also invite sounds of nature inside!) For rooms without windows air flow or on days you don’t want to crack a window, you can use a fan for a subtle breeze. (We love the look of a vintage desk fan, but ceiling fans are also great!)

Temperature and humidity are other things to consider when it comes to the air in your home. How you approach this is up to your personal preferences (some people love humidity and hot temps, others don’t). But using humidifiers or diffusers are two ways to impact the air quality and your experience of it in your space.

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3. Incorporate Houseplants and Flowers

Ever wonder why people say that plants make them happy? This idea is straight out of the biophilic design playbook. If images of nature are beneficial, the real thing is even better. Meaning: the more plants, the merrier! This is a simple way to directly invite nature into your home! But there are some other benefits as well—certain houseplants help clean your air, and taking care of plants and taking the time and effort to nurture them can give you a sense of purpose (without the commitment-level of caring for an animal!). And, of course, you can’t beat a vase of fresh farmer’s market flowers!

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4. Play With Fire

Fire offers a direct experience of nature, and as such it is pleasing to the human eye—offering color warmth, and movement to your space. If you have a fireplace in your home, you have an easy way to incorporate some flames. Don’t have a fireplace but craving those cozy vibes? You can always install a gas fireplace into your home! But if a fireplace isn’t possible, lighting candles throughout the house—on your desk while you’re working, on the coffee table during movie nights, or at the dining table—is a simple but impactful way to spark some natural coziness in your space.

5. Bring in a Water Feature

Some people feel strong connections to water. If this is you, consider ways you could incorporate this element into your home. Two of the easiest ways to naturally incorporate water? The use of a water feature, like a tabletop fountain, or a saltwater aquarium. They not only literally bring water into your space, but they also bring in the sound of flowing water!

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6. Display Images of Nature

Don’t have a great view? Create one! Some studies have shown that images of nature can be emotionally and intellectually satisfying. Hanging landscape paintings or framing photographs from your own travels are a perfect way to bring images of nature into your space. Photos or artwork of places that hold special significance to you are an especially meaningful way to bring this idea to life.

If you don’t want to go quite so literal on the landscapes, you can try other nature-inspired art—like botanical prints or animal art.

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Biophilic design transitional living room

7. Incorporate Natural Materials

A super easy way to jump on the biophilic design bandwagon? Use natural materials in your decor and furniture, and even the finishes throughout your home. This can be really simple—a wood dining or coffee table, a jute rug, a stone side table. Live-edge and raw, unfinished woods will give you a more natural vibe than finished and manufactured wood—but both approaches will still bring visual texture and depth into your space. But don’t stop at wood; explore other natural materials like stone (think: granite, marble, concrete) as well as woven natural fibers like wool, jute, cotton.

Visual complexity and lack of uniformity, which are found in abundance in nature, makes environments more visually stimulating, versus the uniformity of man-made materials. This essentially gives your brain more to “chew on.”

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8. Embrace Earth Tones

Using a neutral or earth-tone palette in your home is a subtle way to bring some nature into your space. Consider colors commonly found in nature, like subdued tones of brown, green, and blue. These earth tones have soothing vibes and act as neutrals throughout your space, while still feeling bold and saturated. Incorporate these hues into your home through decor, furnishings, and finishes like flooring and paint colors. In contrast, use brighter colors sparingly so your home has a soothing balance!

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9. Play with Organic Shapes

Organic shapes are those with soft curves, abstract forms, and asymmetrical shapes. Essentially, they’re the types of lines you would expect to find in the natural world. They bring a beautiful imperfection into your space. You can bring these organic shapes into your home through furniture, decor, architectural details, and even the layout of your space.

Move away from shapes you wouldn’t find in nature. (AKA, no sharp corners, straight lines, or perfect symmetry!) Mid-Century Modern is a great style to use as a foundation for bringing organic shapes into your home, as it’s a design style that celebrates organic forms. You could also opt for its little sister Organic Modernism, which offers a more earthy approach to a modern aesthetic.

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10. Try Out Mismatched Furniture

Just as you won’t find perfectly straight lines in nature, you likely won’t find two identical shapes. You can translate this idea of variance to your home by skipping matchy-matchy furniture. Rather than going for a full living or dining room set, try styling your space with different accent chairs, mismatched dining chairs, or mismatched nightstands. Doing this adds variance and intrigue to your space—plus gives it an individual look that’s totally unique to you.

This idea of variance and mismatched furniture is a staple of bohemian design. This is one of the many reasons why people often find this design style to feel more “earthy” or in-touch with nature.

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11. Vary Your Heights and Scale

We just mentioned that, in nature, perfectly straight lines and symmetry rarely exist. And the same goes for height. In nature, you’ll see trees and plants in different shapes and sizes, living side-by-side. An abstract way to translate this idea into your home is to vary the height of your decor when styling your space.

Having items of similar size, shape, and scale will feel contrived and man-made—whereas variation mimics the randomness of nature and is visually appealing. On the console pictured above, the vases and bowls are different sizes, shapes, and fullness (as are the plants in the vases). It creates an easy balance that’s pleasing to the eye.

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12. Bring in Some Textural Richness

Nature is full of texture—both visual and tactile. So a fun way to try on biophilic design is through bringing a variety of textures into your space. Having varying textures and materials—like different woven upholstery, plus smooth and rough materials next to each other—will bring visual richness to your space. And this is not to be confused with busyness! It’s not about bringing more stuff into your space, but rather about considering the texture of what you do bring in and how that texture plays with other pieces in your space. This also ties in with the idea of the vast complexity and textural richness of ecosystems in nature!

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13. Opt for Materials That Have a Patina

In nature, things age and change, so use items in your home that will, too. Decorating your home with materials that age and develop a patina help signal our brains that time has passed and things are changing. Some of our favorite materials that develop a beautiful patina are copper, brass, marble, and leather. Both copper and brass can be kept shiny—but there’s something comforting about a brass bed or a copper tea kettle that is well-loved and shows signs of use and aging. Marble tabletops tend to change hues and smoothness over time. And leather sofas and chairs develop a rich patina over time, darkening and developing scuffs and scratches from everyday use that only add to the beauty of the material.

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14. Integrate Natural Patterns

We love a good patterned wallpaper or rug. But have you thought about the repetitive patterns that naturally occur in nature? Honeycombs, rippling waves, and the patterns found on a plant leaf or animal hides are some of the most beautiful natural patterns out there. Take inspiration from these naturally occurring patterns and incorporate them into your home—whether that’s through a honeycomb wall shelf, a glass wall that has a wavy pattern in it, baskets with scalloped edges, or even a good ol’ animal print blanket.

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15. Carve Out a Cozy Nook

Having a place for “refuge” is known to enhance our well being in a space, giving us a sense of safety. (This is where our human evolution diverges from the wildness of nature.) Alcoves, nooks, and cozy corners are comfortable and help us feel safe and nurtured. So, carve out a designated place like this in your home and use it for reading, meditation, phone calls with loved ones, or simply unwinding after a long day.

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16. Emphasize the View

Just as having cozy nooks gives us a sense of safety, creating a space that emphasizes horizons and spaciousness is also a great biophilic design technique. Designing a room in a way that emphasizes the view outside gives us a sense of surveying our surroundings. There’s something primal about looking for movement and sources of danger—but there’s also a beautiful simplicity in just taking in the views of nature. We love the idea of bringing this to life by setting up a window nook, balcony, or porch where you can kick back and enjoy the views.

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17. Create Easy Traffic Flow

The ability to easily move through a space increases our feelings of security in a place. So, making sure you have clear walkways in your home is important! When arranging a room, ensure your pathways are uncluttered, there’s enough space between furniture, and there’s a clear sense of entrances and exits. Essentially, moving throughout your space should be comfortable and easy. This is also a key tenet of Feng Shui; unblocked entrances create energy flow in your home, and clear passageways keep that good energy flowing throughout your home.

What Are the Benefits of Biophilic Design?

As humans, we crave a connection with nature. And a strong connection improves our well-being. That’s why biophilic design has risen in popularity. Using environmental psychology as a launching point, architects and designers are embracing biophilic design to increase that connection, especially in urban areas where access to nature is more limited. Here are some of the benefits people say biophilic design brought them!

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved mental health
  • Cleaner air
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Feeling more creative

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Tips for Choosing a Planter for Indoor Plants

If you’re a plant parent (or an aspiring one), finding the best planter for your greenery is a must. Whether you have a small houseplant or a tall leafy tree, choosing the right planter for your indoor plants will make all the difference in their growth, health, and lushness.

There are some key considerations when shopping for indoor planters. Style is a huge part, but you’ll also want to factor in planter size, what it’s made of, and if it has drainage holes.

To help you pick the best indoor planters, read on for our tips on what to look for, then check out our stylists’ favorite planter picks!

Not sure how to work in more plants in your home? Check out our tips on how to style indoor plants and our houseplant care guide!

What To Look For In A Planter

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Consider Material

Indoor planters are made in many different materials, and they can have an impact on the health of your plants.

For instance, a wood plant pot is porous so it provides better drainage and is also resistant to rusting from water, which means they’re a great option, especially for indoor-outdoor spaces.

If you have indoor plants that need to be watered a lot, try a metal or plastic planter since they won’t absorb the water (unlike wood) and will keep the plant and soil moist. A small metal plant pot in brass or silver can also be great if you have mini faux plants that don’t require any real maintenance. The metal will make the plants appear extra lush.

For those looking for an easy planter that’s stylish AND practical, you can’t go wrong with a stone or ceramic design. They’re all-weather, so they can be used indoors or out, and they have a sculptural appeal that will give your houseplant an extra-vibrant look.

Pick Your Style

Planters come in every shape and style, so you’ll want to choose designs that blend in with your space. Outdoor planters tend to be bigger and more rugged, while indoor ones are smaller with a wider style variety.

If your taste is more modern and contemporary, try metal and ceramic planters for their clean-lined look. If your space is more rustic and boho, consider wood and stone planters that bring in a natural element and an organic touch. You want to pick indoor planters that go with the overall vibe and look of your room, so take your time to decide on the color, shape, and details that work for you.

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Look For Drainage Holes

The most important detail to consider, drainage holes are essential for healthy indoor plants. A pot that has lots of drainage holes is great for plants that need a ton of watering, but it might dry out other plants that thrive in soil that’s on the drier side; you’ll want a plant pot that has one draining hole to keep in moisture for those. Likewise, if you have a plant that requires lots of watering, avoid single drainage hole planters—they’ll clog the roots and end up drowning your plant with “overwatering.”

Also good to note: If a planter doesn’t come with holes (and you can’t drill them yourself), then it’s meant to be a decorative holder for either greenery that’s already in a plastic planter that can be placed inside of it or faux plants.

Size Matters

Pro Tip: Plants grow bigger and taller when they’re potted in slightly bigger planters than the plastic ones they come in. It’s always a good idea to switch newly purchased plants out of their plastic holders once they’ve grown to a fixed size and repot them into slightly larger planters to help them grow more.

That means you should always take root size into consideration along with how much soil and/or rocks you’ll be filling your planters with. Look for indoor planters that are big enough so that the roots of your plants can grow deep.

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Don’t Forget The Details

Some other elements to keep in mind when shopping for indoor planters are the type of soil and the appropriate amount you need, whether drainage rocks or pebbles are a good idea for your type of plant, and if a plaster tray is what you need (they can prevent leakage but can also end up collecting water and drowning some plants).

When it comes to these details that vary from plant to plant, we suggest making a trip to your local nursery or plant store and asking an expert. Experienced plant parents are always happy to help other plant lovers!

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Houseplants Care 101: A Guide to Choosing and Caring for Your Indoor Plants

Raise your hand if you love a good house plant! We sure do! They add so much life to your space—not to mention color and texture. And we’ve waxed poetic more than once about the health benefits of houseplants. (Cleaner oxygen! Boosted moods!)

But as people who have killed more than our fair share of house plants, we know it’s not always a rosy outlook. Some plants are very finicky or downright difficult to care for. Even the easiest-to-care-for plants need the right light and environment and a solid watering schedule. And this might leave you wondering—are indoor plants worth the work? We say: yes. If you’re not convinced, we dare you to keep reading our indoor plant care guide and discover the best house plants for your lifestyle and your level of plant expertise!

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What Kind of Plants Should I Get?

The plants you choose depend on a couple of factors:

  • Do you have kids or pets? (Some plants are toxic if ingested!)
  • What lighting levels do you have in your home?
  • What space are you trying to fill—big or small?
  • How good are you at keeping plants alive?

Each of these variables impacts what house plants you should bring into your home. To help break it down, we’ve divided some of the most popular indoor plants into three categories, from easiest to care for to the most needy of the bunch!

Level 1 Plants: Easiest to Care For

What we’re calling “Level 1 Plants” are the plants that are easiest to care for. These are the ones that can go weeks without water and not drop a leaf. (And they can handle some overwatering, too.) They’re able to battle through bad soil conditions, poor lighting, are more resilient to pests, and can tolerate neglect. Think of these as your “set it and forget it” plants.

Spider Plants: Spider plants are highly adaptable and can grow in a range of conditions. Their arching leaves give them a graceful look and make them perfect hanging plants. They thrive when planted in well-drained soil and sitting in bright, indirect sunlight. Spider plants occasionally flower, producing babies or “spiderettes” which makes them easy to propagate. Spider plants are non-toxic and safe for humans, dogs, and cats.

Succulents: Succulents are a group of plants that are characterized by storing water in their leaves—resulting in leaves that are thick and fleshy. There are many different types of succulents out there, but in general they thrive in dry climates and don’t like too much humidity. This means they can handle infrequent watering. However, make sure you plant them in a pot with a drainage hole, as succulent roots that sit in water for too long will begin to rot, and will ultimately kill the plant.

Snake Plant: Sometimes called “Mother-in-Law Tongue,” snake plants are a fan favorite. With coloring ranging from light yellow-green to a variegated dark green, we love the architectural shape of these hardy plants. Put a snake plant in indirect sunlight, and let the soil dry out between waterings. Snake plants are mildly toxic to humans and pets and can cause mouth and stomach irritation if ingested.

ZZ Plant: Known for your ability to kill off even the hardiest of plants? Then a ZZ Plant might be for you. It’s said that these plants are virtually indestructible; they can withstand months of neglect and low light and still look wonderful. However, they do best in moderate to bright indirect light. Let soil thoroughly dry out between waterings—the one way you can kill this plant is by overwatering. ZZ Plants are mildly toxic to humans and pets and can cause stomach irritation if ingested.

Pothos: The trailing vines of a pothos plant can add a lot of visual interest to your home—whether it’s potted in a hanging planter, or set on a shelf with the tendrils trailing downward. They do well in bright, indirect light and nutrient-rich soil—but they handle low light and nutrient-poor soil with aplomb. And, in fact, they can survive without soil at all! They can be grown in water, and happily stay alive, untouched, simply sitting in a vase. Pothos is mildly toxic to humans and pets and can cause stomach irritation if ingested.

Level 2 Plants: Require a Bit More Attention

These plants are a bit more sensitive than their Level 1 counterparts, and they require a bit more attention. But they’re not so sensitive that they’ll keel over after one missed watering session!

Broadleaf Ferns: Broadleaf ferns are distinct from the more common leatherleaf or Boston ferns in that their leaves are undivided rather than compounded. So, their name literally comes from their broader leaves. Ferns are generally low-maintenance houseplants. But they do require a more specific environment. Since ferns originate in dense, shady woodlands, they need lower light and plenty of humidity. Mist your fern daily and keep it out of direct sunlight to keep it happy!

Philodendron: Philodendrons are a type of plant that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes (nearly 500 species!). They can range from tall, tree-like plants to small, vining varieties. We love the fact that a philodendron readily adapts to new conditions and will tell you exactly what it needs. (Droopy? It needs water! Leaves yellowing? It’s getting too much light!) With simple adjustments, these houseplants will stay happy for a long time. Place philodendrons in bright, indirect sunlight and allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. And keep out of reach of kids and pets, as philodendron leaves are toxic when ingested, causing swelling in the mouth, upset stomach, and vomiting.

Dieffenbachia: Dieffenbachia plants have beautifully variegated leaves, making them a lovely decoration in your home. They’re fairly adaptable to different environments—but they’re sensitive to overwatering. Keep their soil moist but not soggy, and allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. They like filtered light best, and require being rotated regularly so that all sides of the plant receive adequate sunlight.

Fittonia: This compact plant has striking patterning on its leaves, often with pink veining. Fittonia plants prefer bright, indirect light and like to be kept moist. While average household humidity is generally fine, these plants like it on the humid side—so regular misting will keep them very happy. Bonus: fittonia is non-toxic and pet-friendly!

Level 3 Plants: Needy But Beautiful

Ready for a challenge? These plants make a beautiful statement in your home—but they definitely require some babying. They’re very sensitive to over or under-watering and some need a lot of humidity. And they absolutely won’t tolerate incorrect lighting conditions, the wrong type of soil, pests, or any other adverse conditions. But don’t let that neediness scare you! These beauties are worth the work.

Calathea: Known for their bold, patterned leaves, calathea are unique in that their leaves fold up slightly at night, revealing a beautifully colored underside. They do best with medium to low indirect light, and they like when their soil is kept moist but not saturated. You should also mist it regularly, as these plants appreciate some extra humidity. Calathea are also non-toxic and pet-friendly.

Fiddle Leaf Fig: Fiddle leaf figs get their name from their large, violin-shaped leaves, which can make quite a statement in your home. They grow best when exposed to consistent, bright, filtered sunlight. You’ll want to turn the plant every few months, as fiddle leaf figs are prone to leaning toward sunlight. Let these plants dry out between waterings, then really drench them when you do water them. It’s good to keep them in pots with a drain hole so that you can water them to the point that it drains to the saucer. And since these plants are native to the tropics, they like regular mistings to keep the humidity levels up. Fiddle leaf figs are mildly toxic to humans and pets and can cause mouth and stomach irritation if ingested.

Alocasia: Alocasia plants can grow quite tall—up to 8-10 feet! Their height, combined with their arrow-head shaped leaves and tall stems makes quite a statement in your home. They thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. Just make sure it’s not direct, as their leaves will burn; conversely, they also can’t handle a dark corner. Alocasia is fairly tolerant if you forget to water them, but they prefer to be kept damp. And they love extra humidity—so make sure to mist them regularly, and you could even consider keeping a humidifier nearby! (They also love to live in bathrooms, where humidity is higher!) Alocasia is mildly toxic to humans and pets and can cause mouth and stomach irritation if ingested.

Bird of Paradise: Considered the queen of indoor plants, birds of paradise add a tropical flair to your home. These large, upright plants can adapt to a wide variety of lighting conditions, but they especially thrive in the sunny corners of your home, with the ability to handle direct sunlight. Keep this plant on the drier side, and especially make sure that its roots aren’t sitting in wet soil. Occasionally misting these plants will keep their dark, glossy leaves looking great. Bird of paradise plants are mildly toxic and can cause stomach irritation to humans and pets if ingested.

house plants

What supplies do you need when caring for plants?

Ready to bring home a new indoor plant (or five)? Just like bringing home a pet, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared with the right supplies for proper houseplant care! Here’s what you need:

  • Pots: You can’t plant a houseplant without a pot! There are a ton of beautiful plant pots out there, but you don’t need anything fancy. Just be aware of if your plant needs well-drained soil, as this requires a planter with a drain hole and tray.
  • Soil: Make sure you buy potting soil that specifically suits the plant you’re potting. (Desert plants will want a “cactus mix,” others can tolerate an all-purpose potting soil.)
  • Watering Can and Mister: A watering can makes watering your plants easier because of their long, slender spouts. But plants don’t just want water in their soil—they love a nice mist on their leaves, too!
  • Fertilizer: Fertilizing your plants is a way to introduce nutrients into the soil. Think of it like taking vitamins, but for your plant!
  • Pest Control: Unfortunately, with house plants, pests are inevitable at some point. Be prepared for any outbreaks of mealybugs, spider mites, or scale with the proper pest control.
  • Clippers: Regular pruning helps keep your plants happy and healthy. Invest in some clippers rather than using household scissors, as you’ll get a cleaner cut. Bonus: These are also great for trimming the ends of fresh flowers!

real houseplant

Common Houseplant Pitfalls

Of course, even with the easiest and most low-maintenance plants you’ll encounter some pitfalls. (And certainly with the needy varieties!) Whether it’s the wrong amount of water or lighting, some sneaky little pests, or a pot that’s too small, little shifts can dramatically improve the quality of life of your plants!

  • Overwatering or underwatering: Many plans come with basic watering instructions. But you can always do a quick Google search to find out what your type of plant needs!
  • Incorrect lighting conditions: Some plants can’t handle direct sunlight; others crave it. The right lighting conditions will make a big difference. This is another case of Google being your friend to figure out what your plant needs!
  • Root binding: As plants grow, sometimes they outgrow their planters to a point that they become root bound, with their roots densely packed within the planter. This can be detrimental long-term—but a simple upgrade to a larger plant pot can easily improve its outlook. Just try to untangle and loosen up the roots before transferring it to fresh soil and a new pot.
  • Dry air or conditions that are too hot or too cold: Some plants are very particular about their conditions. They may need slightly warmer and more humid conditions, while others can happily thrive in cooler or drier conditions. Figure out what your plant needs and make simple adjustments to their environment.
  • Pests, disease, and nutrient deficiencies: Mealybugs, scale, spider mites, fungus, mold, rot. Who knew so many gross things could grow alongside your plant?? Regular observances of your plants during your watering routine will help you quickly notice abnormalities or pests and allow you to deal with them quickly and more easily.

Overwhelmed by all that can go wrong with plants? If you want to avoid these pitfalls and the risk of dead plants, you can always opt for faux plants instead! While they won’t help clean your air, they’re certainly more low-maintenance than their live counterparts—one of the many benefits of faux plants.

real houseplant

Additional Houseplant Care Tips & Tricks:

  • Create a watering schedule so that you never forget to water your plants.
  • Rotate your plants around your home once a month to switch up the angle from which they receive sunlight.
  • Every plant varies in how often they need to be fertilized—but in general, fertilize your plants approximately once a month during their flowering or growth phases to continue bringing nutrients into the soil. You can skip fertilizing in the winter, though, when many plants go dormant.
  • Keep your plants clean by periodically dusting or wiping down leaves with a damp cloth. If they get too dusty, it impedes their ability to take in sunlight and photosynthesize!
  • Don’t forget to prune your houseplants to get rid of any dead leaves or unwanted growth.
  • Finally, learn how to style indoor plants and integrate your plants into your home’s decor!

11 Simple Ways to Style Indoor Plants

If you ask us, a plant-filled home is a happy home. When it comes to decorating with plants, there’s no shortage of ideas for making them part of your decor, be it a tall leafy tree in the living room or an array of low light plants and cacti for your office. But knowing what greenery to bring in and how to arrange indoor plants to suit your style and space can be a challenge, especially if you’re a plant beginner.

For starters, choosing the best indoor plants depends on the space you’re decorating, how much light the room gets, whether you want it potted or hung from the ceiling. Or maybe you’re thinking watering and planting is too much trouble altogether and want to go with faux plants instead.

If all that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. You don’t have to figure all of that out on your own. Head to your local nursery or garden center where you’re picking up your indoor plants and ask an expert there. They’ll be able to show you the best options for your space and walk you through all the plant care tips you need to know.

Before you step foot into the plant store, though, you’ll want to make sure you have a general idea of what you might want for your space. To inspire you, we’ve rounded up 11 vibrant ways to decorate with plants in your home. Take a peek and pick up a few stylish design tips below.

Tablescape of Foliage

No need to stick to pots and vases for your indoor plants. Get creative with a simple dining table centerpiece that’s a mix of greenery and florals. Garland greenery is perfect here.

Decide whether you want to go with real florals, dried varieties, or faux ones. Then, add in candles, votives, and vases and weave your flowers and foliage through these accents for a full and textured look. Make sure your centerpiece runs the length of your table.

The Best Part: It’s great for all seasons, dining table sizes and shapes, and dining spaces big or small. It’s also a gorgeous way to dress up your table for special occasions and holidays.

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Raised Focal Point

Turn house plants into a focal point in your bedroom by hanging greenery above the windows. It’s a clever way to add in greenery without it taking up space on your nightstand or dresser top.

Opt for a drapey plant that gives you a full overflowing look when it’s hung up. It will add instant texture and color, and it will give your room a more dynamic look. Round it out with botanical elements, like floral art and pillows, and a few small succulents on your bedside tables.

The Best Part: Indoor plants can enhance the mood as well as set a calming atmosphere in your bedroom. Certain plants, like lavender, rubber plant, dracaena, and the spider plant can purify the air and result in a fresher, cleaner bedroom.

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No Green Thumb Needed

If you love the idea of indoor plants but aren’t good at caring for them and keeping them alive, consider dried stems. The pampas grass here brings texture and a beachy vibe to a living room corner without taking up tons of floor space.

If you’re allergic to plants or have high-energy pets or kids, dried stems and flowers can be a simple and sculptural option. You can also swap in eucalyptus, which has long leafy branches that can introduce eye-catching shape and color as well.

The Best Part: Try for a mix of faux and live plants. Using faux plants and dried stems is not only low-maintenance, but they also look so real that they can actually go nicely with other live plants around them.

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Curated Cluster

Stumped with how to arrange indoor plants for a curated and purposeful look? Group plants in cool planters together in one corner of a room. This works great with taller indoor plants, but you can also use varying height plant stands to prop up smaller plants.

You can’t go wrong with this approach, which is why it’s probably our favorite way to decorate with indoor plants. Combine different plants, like palm plants and cacti, to play up a lush jungle vibe. And be sure to use complementary plant holders in a range of materials and colors to give your plant cluster an organized look.

The Best Part: Think of the plant holders and plants themselves as room decor, not an afterthought. The more diverse your plants and planters, the more they’ll add to the overall mood of your space!

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Center Stage

For a minimalist approach to decorating with indoor plants, focus on one type of greenery and make it the spotlight in your room. Arrange it in an attractive vase so that it’s the visual focus on a main surface in your space, like your entry console or your coffee or dining table.

Our go-to is always a bouquet of eucalyptus, which gives you a bold dose of color, shape, and organic texture. Or if you’re planning to put your plant in a windowless room that doesn’t offer a lot of natural light, consider a low light snake plant, which offers the same visual impact.

The Best Part: If you’re decorating with one specific greenery or plant, pick something that is full and tall so that it has a lot of presence and isn’t dwarfed by other items in your space, especially if it’s for your dining table.

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Welcome To The Jungle

Any greenery or plant in your entryway is sure to set a welcoming mood. In addition to serving as vibrant decor, plants will also help deodorize the space with their natural fragrance.

Since it’s one spot that doesn’t get a lot of sun, low light indoor plants are best for this high-traffic area. Try seeking out tall and lean plants, like snake grass or a fiddle-leaf tree, that you easily fit into smaller, more narrow entryways as well as tight corners.

The Best Part: Faux trees and plants in the entryway can be a practical choice. You’ll also save yourself the trouble of having to water the plants and clean up fallen leaves regularly. Finish by diffusing earthy essential oils to fake the natural scents.

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Vibrant Vignette

If you have a no-functioning fireplace, rethink the entire space as a display of indoor plants. It’s a creative way to liven up an unused space and make it a focal point in the room.

Mix different types of plants in a range of sizes, arranging taller and bigger greenery around the hearth and decorate your mantel with smaller potted plants. Once you have your plants, layer in other accessories like books, vases, bowls, and art to really bring the space to life.

The Best Part: The plants you choose should be as bold as your fireplace design. Our picks for the best indoor plants here would be a large philodendron or a monstera, both of which have sculptural leaves that are sure to always stand out.

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Perfect Plant Corner

In case you haven’t noticed, we love finding new uses for furnishings for an unexpected look. One of our favorite hacks is to use books and house plants as decor on a bar cart.

Wherever your bar cart is placed, turn it into a corner of its own by adding shelves above for more storage and plants. The key is to spread out your indoor plants from the ground up, starting with large trees on the floor, medium leafy greenery on the shelves, and small succulents on the bar cart. This way you’ll see a pop of green at all levels

The Best Part: You basically have free reign to use whatever planter or vase you like here. Just keep them neutral so that they don’t overpower the plants. Try also using lightweight terrarium gardens and faux flowers so that there is less worry about plants spilling or toppling over.

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Secret Garden Cove

Transform a reading nook or awkward inlet into a garden hideaway with a large potted house plant and some hanging greenery. Just make sure the space gets plenty of natural light so that your indoor plants can thrive.

This is a great way to warm up a small space or an unused corner in the home. Layer in nature-inspired finishing touches, like ocean-print and botanical pillows, a sheepskin rug, and a compact wood stool, which will usher in major comfort and charm.

The Best Part: Keep in mind that plants on the ground can provide texture to your floors while hanging plants are great for high ceilings. Try hanging a few chain lengths and different hanging plants to create a cascading effect.

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Lush Shelf Life

Turn any bookcase into a captivating display and storage space. Mix an array of indoor plants with books, knick-knacks, objects, and mini sculptures to make your storage look like a curated collection of unique finds and plants.

There’s no rule for how to arrange indoor plants on your bookshelf, but a good rule of thumb is to make sure you have a wide variety of leafy greenery, tall cactus, and some small trees and flowers. They’ll provide lively contrast to all your books and objects.

The Best Part: A plant-filled bookshelf is perfect for small living rooms and home offices where storage is key. The greenery will open up your room and bring in tons of visual texture without making the space appear cramped.

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Room With A View

Whether it’s your living room or bedroom, framing a large window with lively house plants and greenery will help play up the view inside and outside.

Bring together hanging and floor plants in front of your window and choose eye-catching vessels for them. A woven basket planter is perfect for a tall leafy tree while brass hanging planters are great accessories for adding a touch of glam. Think of this combo as a high low mix that will help ground and center your focus on your window scene.

The Best Part: Consider indoor plants like aloe vera, jade plant, African milk bush, and snake plant for greenery that can handle a lot of sunlight by a window.

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Time to Go Faux? Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Faux Plants

Artificial plants have a bad reputation in the world of interior design. To some people, they are only slightly better than weeds in the plant kingdom hierarchy. And frankly, the faux plants of yesteryear deserved this bad rap. They were made of thick plastic and looked about as real as you’d expect (that is to say: not real at all).

Fortunately, those days are long gone and the faux plants of today are realistic, long-lasting, and absolutely beautiful. They look so real that you might even find yourself watering them – whoops!

So, if you want to infuse your home with some greenery and decorate with indoor plants but aren’t sure real plants are for you, consider some faux alternatives. Still not convinced? Read on to get some of your burning questions answered and learn a little more about why it might be time to change your tune on faux plants being a faux pas!

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Is it ok to decorate with faux plants?

The short answer? Yes! Like we said, faux plants don’t have the same tacky reputation they used to. (No shabby plastic plants here!) Some people prefer real house plants (we love them too), but artificial plants can be better for certain homes.

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What’s so great about faux plants, anyway?

1. They’re Low Maintenance

Not everyone has a green thumb. If you’ve struggled to keep your plants alive, and often find yourself overwatering or letting them dry out, listen up! With faux plants, you get all the beauty without the worry. Plus, no more asking the neighbors to take care of your plants while you’re on vacation—you can have your tree and not water it, too! With a faux option, you’ll never have to stress about it dying on you. How’s that for freedom?!

2. They’re Durable

While real plants can be delicate, faux plants are as beautiful as they are durable. Real plants also demand a certain amount of sun, the right amount of water, and protection from pests and diseases. When a real plant has been around a few years, it can feel like a miracle. On the flip side, our faux plants are made out of durable materials. So not only do faux plants last for years, they also maintain their good looks the whole time.

3.  They Look Good

One of the best benefits of faux plants today is how real they look. Unless you really know your way around the garden, you probably can’t tell the difference with the new, better materials used today.

At Modsy, we partnered with the leading manufacturer of artificial plants, DW Silks, to add some of the most-popular and long-lasting faux plants to our catalog. We’ve dubbed them our So-Real-You-Can’t-Tell-They-Are-Fake-Line. No one will ever call your striped agave an imposter!

4. They’re Versatile

Perhaps the best benefit of faux plants is that you can put them anywhere. When you are a parent to real plants, you have to accommodate your photosynthesizing babies by giving them the right spot and sunlight amounts to thrive. In contrast, faux plants thrive no matter where you put them, regardless of your environment!

faux plant ideas

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Are fake plants more expensive than real ones?

To be totally honest, they can be! If you look through the faux plants in the Modsy catalog, you’ll quickly realize that high-quality fake plants can be a bit of an investment. But just remember: these are for the long haul and can last for years and years when properly cared for. And hey—if you have a track record for killing plants, investing in some artificial plants might just be a better use of your money. After all, a faux plant is a one-time purchase, while replacing a dead plant every couple of months can really add up!

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So, should I get real or fake plants?

Ah, the heart of the matter: is real or faux the way to go for you? This totally depends on the person. But here are a few things to consider:


Real plants require more work than faux ones. So, consider how much maintenance time you’d like to put into the greenery in your home. If semi-regular dusting is all you can muster, faux is the way to go. Same for if you travel a lot for work, as it can be difficult to keep up a consistent watering schedule.

However, it can be rewarding to care for something and watch it grow. If you don’t mind putting in some facetime with your plant babies and digging your hands in the dirt, maybe you should give real plants a try! (Just be sure to dig into our houseplant care guide before you get started!)


When comparing the merits of real vs faux plants, consider your home’s environment, specifically the lighting and temperature. Some plants need certain living conditions to thrive. If your house doesn’t get a lot of natural light, certain plants might not be happy there. If your home’s air is super dry or you like to keep things cold, but you love the look of tropical plants, you may run into problems.

Think about what types of plants you’re drawn to, then do some simple research to see if they’ll thrive in your home’s environment. That can help determine where your real plants go in your home or if you should opt for faux plants since they can go anywhere!

Household Dynamics

The presence of kids or pets in your home can also be a big determining factor in if you get real or fake plants. Certain plants are poisonous or simply irritating to the digestive system if ingested, so you want to be conscious of the real plants that you do bring into a home if you have a pet or toddler who might get into your plants. And if you have a kiddo who loves to explore or a dog with an out-of-control wagging tail, plants can easily tip over. With real plants, the dirt can spill and scatter all over the place. That may drive some people nuts while others may see that as simply par for the course.

So, your family dynamics and personal preferences can affect your choice of plants, and even the types of plants you get if you decide to go for the real deal.

Skill Level

Do you have a green thumb or have you killed every houseplant you’ve ever owned? While you can certainly level up your plant care skills, if all your plants die, maybe go faux. No shame in that!

faux plants decor

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Do fake plants make you happy?

We’re big believers in the idea that bringing plants into your home decor can add to your happiness. But do fake plants have the same effect? Well, that depends on you! We dug into this idea in episode 5 of our podcast, The Render, when we talked with an expert on environmental psychology. There’s an old adage that “plants make people happy.” (In fact, the hashtag #plantsmakepeoplehappy has over 7 million tags on Instagram!) But the reality is, there’s no magical happiness chemical given off by our leafy friends.

The psychological benefits of house plants tend to come from the happy, satisfied feelings created from caring for a living thing. It can also come from the positive associations we have with the beauty of the natural world. (Which is probably why plants are a great way to add feng shui to your home.) With that second point in mind—if you find plants beautiful but can’t care for a real one, faux plants will likely still activate that psychological response and increase your happiness.

What it boils down to is having a more beautiful home, filled with things you love. This, in turn, makes you happier. So, can fake plants make you happy? That’s up to you!



Stylists’ Picks: The Best Faux Plants

Ready to bring home a faux plant baby? Shop the best faux plants in the Modsy catalog by size!

Small House Plants

Medium House Plants

Large House Plants



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5 Reasons Plants are Always our Favorite Decorative Accessory

Here at Modsy, we’re big plant people. Not only do we consider them a great way to accessorize any room but having living things in your living spaces is also good for your mental health too.

Houseplants have been on the rise in popularity over the past few years. And with good reason. Decorating with plants adds major style to your space, and act as either a major statement in your space or a sweet accent. With so many varieties of plants, there’s a plant for every decor style! Here are a few more reasons why we love to design with plants.

decorating with plants1. They Naturally Add Color

Even if you don’t like a lot of colors in your space, plants are a great way to add a pop without compromising your neutral decor scheme. Since the color comes straight from nature, green plants of all kinds will complement your space, and make for a great decor accent in your next Instagram post.

2. They Add Texture

Ready for one of our favorite design tips? Here it is: There aren’t many rooms that couldn’t benefit from more texture. Texture helps bring dimension and contrast to your space. Plus, it makes a room feel more polished and intentionally designed. And one of the best and easiest ways to add more texture is by designing with plants.

Whether it’s the wide, waxy leaves of a fiddle leaf fig tree, the spiky exterior of a cacti, or anything in between, plants add visual layers to your room. And different shapes and sizes of plants will add a different vibe to your space. So, don’t be afraid to experiment by designing with plants of various shapes, sizes, and textures – even mixing and layering different varieties in the same room.

plants as decor3. They’re Extremely Versatile

Moving? Redesigning a room? Repurposing your space? Don’t worry – plants will go the distance with you.

The versatility of plants means that they go with any style. So, you could move to a new home, and even if the new place is a totally different style, your plant will still fit in. You could also totally redecorate a room with a different color scheme and different decor, and guess what? You won’t have to ditch your favorite plants. Because a good plant goes with any decor style, and can withstand a change of style in its environment without looking out of place.

This makes designing with plants a great investment that you can benefit from for years. Whatever changes life throws at you, your plant will roll with the punches by your side.

decorating with plants4. They Clean Your Air

Aside from the aesthetic benefits, plants (if you go for live vs. artificial) also clean your air. That’s right: Indoor plants remove toxins from the air in your home. It happens through the photosynthesis process, where plants absorb gases in the air through their leaves. These gases travel down to a plant’s roots, where microorganisms break them down and neutralize them, turning it into food for the plant. Isn’t nature crazy? So, while plants require a little love and care, they more than earn their keep!

plant decor ideas5. They Make You Happy

We’ve all been there: We’re in the middle of a stressful week, the weather is gloomy, and life starts feeling a little hopeless. But when we make time for a simple walk outside, or even do something as simple as buying a bouquet of flowers at the grocery store, things start to turn around. And why is that? Well, we think it’s because being near nature – and even bringing elements of the outdoors, in – brings us joy. Many studies through the years have shown the benefits of houseplants and how caring for a living thing can increase happiness. And who wouldn’t want that? So, add a few new leafy friends to your space for an instant mood booster!

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