So you’re a budding, self-proclaimed interior designer, or you’ve at least decided to start making your home look worthy of an Insta shot or two, and you’re ready to become a plant parent! But first, let’s dive into the do’s and dont’s of plant + pot hunting from a home decor perspective, shall we?? (Disclaimer: for tips and tricks on plant care, growth, etc. head over to Tonkadale’s blog for their expertise– we’ll be focusing on the stylistic effects our green friends have on space in this blog post.)
You can have the world’s most beautiful room complete with compelling architecture, tons of natural light, and stunning furniture, but without the presence of house plants–what’s the point?! Don’t be a house plant-less room owner. Just don’t do it. Indoor greenery is psychologically proven to improve mood and biologically proven to better air quality in any given space. I don’t make the rules, that’s just the way it is. It’s science. You can also check out these much more reputable sources like this article from NASA or this study from the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine if you don’t believe me–no #fakenews here, folks. Speaking of cold hard facts, plants have the power to introduce strong design elements including balance, movement, proportion, repetition, and contrast. This is what creates aesthetic, people!! If your eye finds joy in a plant’s placement, you’re likely experiencing one of these principles at work. Playing with height variations, textures, shapes, colors, and more are all key to achieving these interior goals. Pretty neat, eh?!
Let’s look at a time we had to stage an entire house with greenery for the filming of one of our episodes of HGTV’s “Stay or Sell.” We needed to convey a modern boho rustic feel to a national audience. Sounds like fairly low stakes, right? Luckily, we had the chance to work with Tonkadale Greenhouse, a local plant nursery here in Minnetonka, to make it happen. They couldn’t have been more helpful! We met at the home for an initial consultation to provide them with the design direction room by room. They took some notes, headed back to the greenhouse, and came back a few days later to supply allll the goodies. We’re talking unique plant species, endless size and color variations, and beautiful containers. Oh, and they installed all of it on camera! Owner, Jessie, and her dad are seen below loading plants into the spaces where we planned for them to go.
Create Movement + Balance
Check out that happy, healthy fiddle leaf to the left of the fireplace that draws your eye up from the floor to the mantle. You continue scanning, pausing at the monstera deliciosa painting by Colleen Elizabeth Art, and then following the mantle off to the side where you find an overflowing bundle of loosey-goosey plants (technical term, duh) that are separated by containers of three different heights and a mix of materials: ceramic and wicker. A little guy rests on a geometric, wood plant stand among other accessories below to end the path of movement across the focal point of this cozy living room. And there you have it! Your eyes did an amazing job of scanning across this space and helping you process a whole lot of elements in a smooth, linear fashion. Good job eyeballs!
Pay Attention to Proportion + Scale
I think one of my favorite design situations we created was the dining room. We had a huge wood and marble table anchoring the room surrounded by lightly framed wishbone chairs. With proportions and scale in mind, I knew we needed something long and narrow to gently perch on the tabletop as a strong centerpiece. Tonkadale suggested this jaw-dropping boat vase filled to the brim with ferns and I just about lost it. She is beauty. She is grace. She is miss United… you get the point. I’m a fan. It sort of mimics the play of light vs. heavy and is compelling enough to stand alone without any additional accessories. Boo-ya! To wrap things up, a pair of high-low plant stands from the same collection as the boat vase sits in the corner adding interest without competing with any of the furniture in the room.
Don’t Be Afraid of Contrast + Repetition
Ok be honest–who doesn’t love a good, juicy wall of plants?! We had the perfect opportunity to create this fun installation in our homeowner’s office space just off their foyer. Our vision here was to achieve an easy-going, boho vibe. A little macrame can go a long way, ladies and gents! And because we were hanging greenery along this wall, we elected to paint a backdrop to contrast. We went with Cavern Clay by Sherwin Williams, which make the various small plants really pop. Placing your plants near warmer color tones does wonders. To jog your memory of fifth-grade art class, colors in the green family are nearly opposite the color wheel from the orange family, which helps to make each color stand out when next to one another.
We told Tonkadale about our plant wall idea and they basically said “Shhh. Say no more. We’ll be right back.” and came back to us with a whole crate-full of a wide variety of pointy guys, viney guys, and shrubby guys (more technical terms, obviously). Repetition of many identical sized plants was important to pull off this look, but we did choose to vary the species and look of each one. What was so nice about Tonkadale is that they not only had endless plant selections from palms to pothos, but their containers range in textures, shapes, and materials. Although repetitive, this green wall is anything but boring!
You’ve Got This!
Congrats—you’ve made it this far, and now you’re a seasoned, professional plant stylist! Next time you head over to Tonkadale and take home a truckload of new greeny babies, be mindful of your design principles and make aesthetic decisions that create visual harmony. You’ll have a magazine cover worthy, Instagram famous space in no time! And if all of this just sounded like a bunch of hullabaloo, we hope you’re at least feeling inspired and amazed and like you’ve never seen better-arranged plants in your life. We’re leaving you with a final photo of the guest bedroom just to let you know you need a Turkish Fig Tree in your life. That’s it, thanks for reading, we hope you come again!