Styling your home with houseplants

Written by: Nicola Harding

Last updated: December 2023

Where to grow hellebores
Where to grow hellebores

Winter is the ideal time of year to bring life into your home with houseplants. Not only are they proven to have properties that purify the air and improve mood, they also allow you to create drama and architectural impact at a fraction of the cost of art and sculpture. If you're daunted about where to start with styling your home with houseplants, then here are some of my guiding principles to help you get started.

I've also worked with the team at Crocus to put together a collection of my favourite houseplants to style with, along with some pots and accessories to bring it all together.

1. First think about height

When considering where to place your houseplant, make sure you choose an aspect where you can elevate the plant to create sculptural impact. When elevated, you can see the full shape of a plant, particularly important when placing a plant with a trailing or arching habit. Choose plant pedestals, sculpture stands or stools, or look at Crocus's range of hanging pots which work beautifully filled with trailing plants.

2. And next, think about light

Lighting houseplants is an easy and effective technique to create drama. Whether it's uplighting a tall houseplant or placing a lamp next to one on a sideboard, shining a light on them shows them off to their best effect.

3. Consider plant shapes

Think of choosing a houseplant, like choosing a piece of sculpture whose silhouette is going to add dynamism to the room. I'm not drawn to spiky plants, I prefer softer shapes and I tend to avoid variegated varieties. Monstera Deliciosa is my go-to for a tough-as-nails, sculptural habit that will complement almost any space. Sometimes the shape of your houseplant doesn't become apparent until the plant is relatively mature and is given the chance to spread out - so keep the faith!

4. Houseplant scaping

If you're placing a number of houseplants together, choose varieties that have different leaf shapes and contrasting but complimentary colours to create a harmonious effect. I personally enjoy graceful simplicity, so I tend to keep to a relatively small number of varieties but I might repeat the same variety at different sizes and place them at different heights. Much like anything in the horticultural or art world, odd numbers always work best together.

5. Houseplant trees

Houseplant trees are having a moment right now. Their architectural shapes bring drama and impact to the room. I love Ficus Lyrata - Fiddle Leaf Figs because of their sculptural leaves and the handsome stature that, given time, they acquire. Go as big as you dare.

6. Right houseplant for the right place

Choose your houseplants based on where in the home they're going to live. Houseplants whose natural habitat is the shadows of the jungle floor, are going to shrivel and die if sat by a window in bright sunlight. Moisture loving plants such as Asplenium antiquum 'Osaka' and Nephrolepis exaltata 'Montana' thrive in bathrooms; and jungle floor dwelling calatheas such as Goeppertia veitchiana 'Medaillon' are brilliant to bring life and colour to a dark corner of a room.

7. Create harmony with the pots that you choose

If you're displaying houseplants together, you'll need to choose pots whose materials and colours sit harmoniously together. It also works well to choose different pot shapes, but made in the same materials. Avoid strongly contrasting colours. At the end of the day, the pots are the support act. You want the houseplants to take centre stage.

Nicola's favourite indoor plants and pots

To find out more about Nicola Harding's work or Nix her new collection of timeless homeware essentials, visit www.nicolaharding.comExternal Link

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