Even if you don’t follow the world of interior design too closely, you’ll undoubtedly have noticed that indoor gardening is all the rage right now. We’re not surprised: who doesn’t want to come home to a lush green space? Houseplants work well in all types of homes. Including rentals, since they offer a decorative effect without having to make any permanent alterations to the home.
One of the perfect places to grow houseplants is the living room. After all, greenery is proven to have a relaxing effect(*). Which is exactly what we’re after in this area of our home. So how do you make good use of indoor plants in your living room? Below, we’ll discuss some of the best indoor garden ideas based on living room type and go into the importance of the right containers and holders!
No green thumb required
When it comes to plant decoration in the living room, keep the focus on easy but decorative. This is the space in your home you retreat to in order to relax. Because of this the last thing you want is a bunch of fussy plants with dried up leaves glaring at you from the corner because the humidity is 5% too low.
Unless you’re an experienced houseplant grower, leave the flashy prayer plants and ferns for what they are for now. There are plenty of easier plants that look just as good in your living room! We’ll list five of our personal favorites below.
Monstera (Monstera deliciosa) | Living room eyecatcher
If your living room is still lacking that perfect green centerpiece, the Swiss cheese plant (Monstera deliciosa) might be the ideal choice for you. This Philodendron species can grow very large if left alone and is sure to catch the eye with its funky split leaves.
A Monstera will appreciate a spot close to a window that receives bright indirect light. But its soil should be kept lightly moist at all times for it to thrive. The species naturally grows up slopes and trees, which means it’ll like having some support. A plant totem works well. But you can also opt to secure the vines to your wall or even suspend them from the ceiling if you really want to draw all the focus to this exquisite piece of greenery!
Worried a Monstera deliciosa will outgrow your living room but still like the look of its split leaves? No worries. The smaller Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is another Philodendron species that looks quite similar but won’t reach a size nearly as intimidating.
Jade plant (Crassula ovata) | For the sunny living room
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If your living room has windows that receive direct sunlight or if you tend to use the sunroom as your relaxing place, you’re in luck. Lots of sun is exactly what most succulent species need. This means you can decorate your windowsills with one or multiple of the various easy varieties out there.
Our personal favorite succulent out there for plant decoration in the living room is the Jade plant, or Crassula ovata. It’s one of the most popular species out there for a good reason. It’s easy to grow, comes in multiple leaf shapes and honestly thrives best on slight neglect. This makes it perfect for those that are looking to spruce up their living room with some green but fear they might have a black thumb!. Go for the original Crassula ovata for a classic look, try a variegated variety. With striped leaves and pink tips for color, or opt for Crassula ovata ‘Gollum’ with its finger-like leaves if you’re looking for something a little funkier.
Corn plant (Dracaena sp.) | For the shaded living room
If your living room is located on a side of your house that doesn’t get a lot of light, you might be worried there aren’t many options when it comes to greenery. Plants are décor, but they’re also alive and they have certain needs that should be fulfilled if you want them to thrive – light being one of them.
Luckily though, there’s no need to worry even if your living room windows don’t let in a lot of light. Certain houseplant species are used to shaded conditions because they naturally occur in areas where higher tree canopies would block out most light. One of the most widely appreciated examples of one of such plants is Dracaena. This genus contains many different popular houseplants, like the corn plant (Dracaena fragrans) and the dragon tree (Dracaena marginata). All are very undemanding and still highly decorative: perfect as plant decoration in the living room. They can grow quite tall and make a great low-maintenance lounge centerpiece. Just keep the soil lightly moist and consider applying a diluted liquid fertilizer during the summer months to watch your Dracaena thrive!
Air plants (Tillandsia sp.) | For the compact living room
Tiny living is all the rage right now and we love it. Unfortunately, having a small living room does come with the disadvantage of not having much space for plants. Luckily, as you might have gathered from this decoration guide so far, there’s a plant for every type of space and that includes tiny ones.
There are actually three reasons we love air plants from the Tillandsia genus for the small living room. First off, many of these funky little plants don’t reach much of an impressive size at all. In fact, many will generally stay small enough to be able to fit in the palm of your hand! A great example of a teeny tiny air plant species is Tillandsia ionantha.
Because air plants are naturally epiphytes that grow on trees and rocks, they don’t need soil to survive (hence their name). This means you can be as creative as you want with their placement and they won’t take up much space at all! Attach them to your windows by hanging them from suction cups, for example. Or use an air plant frame to place them on your wall like a piece of living art.
Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) | For tall shelves & hangers
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There’s a good reason many classics are classics, especially when it comes to houseplants. The spider plant is a good example of this: your grandma probably owns one, but it’s still just as relevant in the décor world now as it was all those years ago. Easy to care for, fast-growing and quite lush, this species is perfect for both beginning indoor gardeners and houseplant veterans.
Spider plants work well if you’re looking to add some greenery to those tall spots that are easy to forget about. Healthy specimens produce pups (known as ‘spiderettes’). This dangle down from the mother plant like little spiders, making them perfect for shelves or hangers.
Your spider plant won’t need much to stay happy and healthy. Simply keep the soil lightly moist and offer bright indirect light. Direct sun will be a little too intense for this species. So if your living room gets a lot of light you might want to consider a sheer curtain to break up the harshest rays.
The pot makes the plant
Houseplants themselves are a no-brainer: they will fit pretty much any type of interior. Their containers, though, are a different story. You’ll have to choose wisely in order to be able to combine functionality and style! Pots and planters are an essential part of plant decoration in the living room, but which one will work best for your space?
Style & function | The self watering planter
Forgetful? It happens. I blog about houseplants professionally and even I neglect to water my plants for a few days too many at times!
Worried your plants will go thirsty in your care? There are many self-watering planters out there that will solve this problem for you. They work by means of a water reservoir, which can be filled up every few days or weeks and distributes water to the plant’s roots slowly rather than all at once. Perfect for those that work too many hours to be thinking about watering the plants, or interior enthusiasts that tend to be away from home for a few days at a time.
Which self-watering planter works well for your living room will of course depend on the style you’re looking to go for. We personally love something minimal that leaves the emphasis on the plant.
The modern one | Cotton plant basket
If you love using soft materials and fabrics in your home, consider a plant basket. These are made of woven cotton rather than plastic or ceramic. This makes for a gentler look that perfectly hides the inner plastic nursery pot that most like to grow their houseplants in.
The minimalist | White ceramic
If you don’t want to put too much emphasis on your plant’s pot and keep the spotlight on the greenery itself, minimal is the way to go. Classic terracotta pots look great, but their orange-brown hue doesn’t work with all interior styles. For those that are not into terracotta, it might be better to go with a basic white ceramic instead.
The space saver | Macrame plant hangers
Photo by Paul Hanaoka on unsplash
Remember the spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) that we discussed earlier? As mentioned, due to its dangling leaves and spiderettes this species works perfectly for hanging planters. A basic hanging basket will work just fine. But if you really want to give your spider plant (or other species!) a stylish suspended home then consider a macramé hanger. These intricately knotted holders are the perfect addition to the boho-style living room and work well to hold any type of plant pot.
The funky one | Air plant frame
Back to the tiny living room: what do you do if floor or shelf space is simply not a luxury you can afford to provide your houseplants with? Your home doesn’t have to go without greenery. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, air plants are an ideal option for smaller living rooms. Also are one of the best way to display them without having them take up any space is an air plant frame. Simply hang the plants in the frame (glue won’t be needed) and hang your collection on the wall for a beautiful piece of living art.
Shelves & stands
So, we’ve got our plants sorted and we’ve got our planters sorted. What more does a green living room need? If you’d like to simply place your greenery on the floor or side table, you’re ready to go. However, the goal here is to really put the plants in the spotlight, and what better way to do that than giving them their own personal throne?
If you don’t like the idea of placing a plant on the floor or want to elevate it so its vines can dangle downward freely, a stand with legs is a great option. The stand can be as simple or intricate as you like. We do love the combination of green leaves and wood as plant decoration in our living room.
For the addicts
Are things getting out of hand? Though some indoor gardeners display great self control, some of us honestly just can’t stop adding more plants to the collection. If your living room is becoming hard to navigate, it might be a good idea to move some plants to a shelf to free up space. One of our favorite shelves that we’ve come across so far is the window shelf. It combines functionality (saving space and providing our plants with light) with simple elegance in the form of a minimal look and transparent shelving that doesn’t distract from the plants.
It doesn’t matter how you styled your living room or whether you have a green thumb or not. Plants in the living room have become an essential part of creating a relaxing and pleasant space, and luckily there’s a species for every type of lounge! Combine your greenery with a decorative pot or stand for extra effect and voilà, your perfect indoor garden is complete.