How to Use Plants in Interior Design

How to Use Plants in Interior Design

When most people think of interior design, they consider big factors like window and floor treatments, furniture style and placement, wall colors and art, and lighting. While these are all important for creating beautiful, functional spaces, plants are an often-overlooked aspect of interior design. 

The truth is plants have an amazing power to make indoor spaces healthier, more beautiful, and more comfortable. Here are the basics of why and how to use plants in interior design.

Why Use Plants in Interior Design?

At J.Fisher, we consider plants to be an essential aspect of creating livable spaces, for both residential and commercial interiors. A great interior plant designer knows that indoor plants have so many proven benefits, including:

  • Naturally purify your air. Indoor air is often even more polluted than outdoor air. Indoor plants have been proven to reduce indoor air pollution, filtering out formaldehyde, benzene, and toluene, and creating clean oxygen.
  • Improve your mood. Multiple studies show that indoor plants lower stress and improve your mood.
  • Improve your health. Indoor plants can reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, and even improve recovery times from illness.
  • Beautify your space. It may seem simple, but indoor spaces that include nature are more appealing. Plants create a sense of life and vitality that appeals to our senses and enhances a room.

For all these reasons, plants are an important part of commercial as well as residential interior design. Aside from the wonderful physical and mental health benefits, incorporating the natural world into indoor living is an essential part of Austin home design. Home interior plant design is part of our lifestyle.

What Type of Plants to Use in Interior Design?

Beautiful, thriving plants bring a home to life, so it’s important to choose house plants that will do well in your home and that you can care for. Brown, wilting indoor plants detract from your decor, so choose plants that can thrive in the amount of light and space you have, and that you can easily care for and maintain. Some of the best types of plants for interior design include:

  • Low light houseplants. Low light houseplants are best for rooms that face east or north, or rooms with small windows, where the plant will receive little or no direct sunlight throughout the day. They will also do well when placed far away from windows in large rooms. Some great low light plants include:
    • Spider plants
    • Pothos
    • Snake plants
    • English ivy
    • Peace plants
  • Low maintenance houseplants. If you are prone to over- or under-watering plants, you should choose the type of indoor plants that can tolerate some mistreatment. In most cases, under-watering is better than over-watering, so try to refrain from watering more than necessary. Some great low maintenance houseplants include:
    • Succulents
    • Lady palm
    • Pothos
    • Chinese evergreen
    • Jade plant
    • Yucca
    • Prayer plants
    • Peace plants
  • High air quality houseplants. Some indoor plants are especially efficient at cleaning the air and creating moderate humidity. If you are spending a lot of time indoors, like so many of us nowadays, and want a natural air purifier, consider:
    • Areca palm
    • Snake plant
    • Money plant
    • Chinese evergreen
    • Spider plant
    • Dragon tree
  • Flowering houseplants. Flowers improve your mood, create a pleasing fragrance, and can add a pop of color to your interior decor. If you are looking for great flowering houseplants, consider:
    • Wax plants
    • Anthurium
    • Christmas cactus
    • Orchids
    • Peace plants
    • Cyclamen
    • Amaryllis
  • Fake houseplants. While fake plants may not have the air cleaning benefits of living plants, they are a great option for beautifying homes with little natural light, and they require almost no care at all (clean and dust them a few times a year, though). Consider fake houseplants if you travel often, struggle to keep plants alive, or want to beautify a hard-to-reach area in your home.
  • Types of plants to avoid. If you have children or pets, it’s important to choose plants that are non-toxic and safe. Many popular houseplants are toxic to dogs or cats, so check recommendations for your specific pet. In general, all houseplants should be kept away from pets, who may overeat and get an upset or irritated stomach, but the following species are toxic, and should not be kept in a home with kids or pets:
    • Lilies
    • Philodendron
    • Pothos
    • Sago palm

How to Use Plants in Interior Design

There are so many sizes, shapes, and colors of houseplants, that they offer endless options for interior design. Here are some of the best plant interior design ideas:

  • Enlarge a space. House plants can actually make an indoor space look larger, magnifying the amount of space in a room. Here are some techniques to maximize space with plants:
    • Choose a large tree or plant with huge leaves. A very large plant emphasizes the amount of space in a room and makes everything else look smaller by comparison. It’s a great way to alter the visual scale of a space.
    • Use a trailing plant to create height. Placing a trailing plant in a very high spot, and then letting it cascade down, emphasizes vertical space and height in a room.
    • Use an airy plant for a sense of openness. Choosing a houseplant with an open, stemmy, branchy growth habit, that takes up a lot of space without dense foliage, (like a money tree, sophora, fiddle-leaf fig, or dragon tree) creates visual space without clutter.
  • Draw the eye. A houseplant is a great way to draw the eye and add visual emphasis anywhere it’s needed. On top of a ledge or high shelf, a plant adds vertical space. Peeking around a corner, it adds layers and complexity. Sitting on a windowsill, it merges indoor space with outside views, enhancing natural perspectives.
  • Create visual balance. Consider using houseplants to create balance and symmetry. Pairing matching plants on either side of a window, seating arrangement, or doorway makes a space look more balanced and harmonious.
  • Use amazing containers. Plant containers are a fantastic way to set off and feature plants while enhancing your overall decor. Consider size, style, color, and texture in your plant containers to compliment your entire space.

Interior plant design is an essential way to improve the look and feel of a space, while actually making you calmer and happier indoors. At J.Fisher, we know that the best Austin interior design creates residential and commercial spaces that celebrate nature and promote balance, so contact us for a consultation today.


J.Fisher Interiors’ studio is located in east Austin. To schedule your consultation appointment, please fill out the contact form or call us at 512.954.0904. We would love to hear from you!

Interior Design Consultation

J.Fisher Interiors’ studio is located in east Austin. To schedule your consultation appointment, please fill out the contact form or call us at 512.954.0904. We would love to hear from you!