This is just a small detail that can make all the difference. You can have a perfectly formed and styled room, with all the pieces you love and yet, it doesn’t feel finished. Something is missing. Now just add a touch of green. Look at the room again, imagining it with a tall plant in the corner, or perhaps a small succulent on the open shelf. Yep, I thought so: that was just what was needed!
Why do we overlook plants and stems so often, I have no idea. I am also guilty of it and yet I know it can transform a room.
Plants bring a living component to a space that is effectively static brick and mortar. By nature, a plant will constantly evolve by growing, changing shape or even flowering. It will adapt to the place it sits in the room and fill it with life. Psychologically it will automatically create a lived-in and established interior scheme. Remove the plant and it becomes a still environment. In effect, a plant is a reflection of us, living species, and it’s nice not to feel too alone in our own space from time to time! It’s the equivalent of a very nice and domesticated pet really…
Plants are also an old-time favourite in interiors because they introduce a much-needed visual break. A break from colours that you may have on your walls, in your furniture. Even the smallest plant will add a pop of green that will nicely contrast against your backdrop and energise the whole space. A plant also helps to break the usual geometry we find in a room: horizontal and vertical lines. The organic shape of a plant defies these lines and bring a small but welcome visual chaos. It adds height and width in completely random directions which form a lovely point for the eyes to pause on and take in the rest of the room. It also adds depth to a space which could be otherwise quite blend and predictable.
Which plant though? This really depends on what you like and the room you have. Big structural plants are very trendy at the moment (think emerald green fiddle-leaf fig or palm-leaf plant). They create such a sense of nature and simplicity with their fairly unfussy shape, and yet they are very grand, statuesque. They work beautifully in simple spaces such as a Scandi lounge or a white bathroom because again they bring that colour and shape contrast while being not too over-complicated. Or think seasonal tall branches in a vase for a similar visual effect.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, I quite like small little pots of plants. I think they work wonderfully in an apartment as you can move them around easily and change your décor in an instant. I styled a dining room for a client recently and we decided to display silver pieces she already had on a silver tray. It looked good but it was too flat. It needed some contrast and ‘breathing space’: I simply styled it up with a succulent in an earthy pot and the whole thing just sang immediately!
And what about faking it?! Absolutely. There are some fun and amazing faux plants out there these days and they have the same effect as the real stuff, ensuring long periods of interior happiness. You get what you pay though so go for quality rather than quantity here. Another trick of mine: I buy a bunch of fresh hydrangea that I enjoy for a couple of weeks in a vase on the dining table. Then, I dry them. The dried blooms still look fantastic in the winter and give a touch of instant style to any space.