When I flip through home decorating magazines or catalogs, I notice that they frequently include indoor plants to make the space appear more bright, lively, and “lived-in.” A few well-chosen plants can be just the thing you need to freshen up your space, whether it be a home office or a bedroom.
I love the look of life and movement that plants and flowers offer, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time buying or tending to live plants. While I’m a fan of live house plants in general, I’ve had mixed success maintaining them in my apartments and homes. I’ve had too many plants and indoor trees that have failed to thrive due to over-watering, under-watering, bug infestation or inadequate sunlight. Live plants, especially the larger ones, can be pricey to replace. The “it” tree of the design world, the fiddle-leaf fig tree, will easily cost you over $100 to buy so it’s not something that I’m willing to replace annually.
After years of frustration with fake plants that look too fake and live plants dying on me, I’ve come up with a solution that fits both my taste and my lifestyle. Want to know my secret? I use a combination of real and artificial plants around my house. Using artificial plants is often considered a faux pas because it conjures up images of gaudy looking silk flowers arranged in cheap looking vases at grandma’s house. The key to successfully using artificial plants is selecting the right plants and putting them in strategic places. Because real flowers are hard to imitate, I wouldn’t dream of using fake flower arrangements on my coffee or dining table where there is high visibility. Besides…fresh flowers make me happy, are relatively inexpensive, and fast and easy to arrange. On the other hand, placing a high-quality artificial fiddle-leaf fig tree in a dark corner of the room or a fern on top of a shelf can have a big impact on your interior design without being so obviously fake.
I snapped a few pictures of plants around my house to give you some examples of how I’ve incorporated real and artificial plants in my home.
Below is an inexpensive indoor palm tree I bought at Home Depot for under $20. I placed it in a sunny spot by our French doors and it gets watered once a week. I’m fond of using baskets with handles for my indoor trees. Just remember to use a plastic planter liner to catch the excess water runoff.
Here is an artificial fiddle-leaf fig tree (c/o) I used in a less sunny corner of my bedroom. It stands 4 feet tall and is perfect for adding a little pop of color in a small unoccupied space. It comes in a very small pot so I used a $20 basket from Home Goods to give it a more designer look. Silk Plants Direct has a huge inventory of artificial plants if you need ideas. Use promo code BLOGGER10 for an extra 10% off your purchase.
My living room has a very high ceiling so I chose a taller (7 feet) artificial fiddle-leaf fig tree to fill up more space.
I’m also very fond of using artificial leaves like these eucalyptus leaves in sea glass vases around the house. At $3.99 per bunch, they are a very inexpensive way to add some greenery without the cost or maintenance of real plants. In retrospect, I think I should have added water to the vase to make it look more authentic.
Orchids are my favorite type of flowering plant for the home because they are fairly low-maintenance and the flowers last so long. The orchid in the picture below has bloomed three times in the five years that I have had it. The secret for keeping orchids happy is to keep them in a sunny spot by the window and only water once a week.
If you’re thinking about using artificial orchids, I would suggest going with white flowers rather than colors. I think artificial white orchids tend to look more real and elegant. I purchased the white orchid below from Target for under $20.
I love the smell of fresh flowers, so whenever possible, I’ll pick up a mixed bouquet at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s when I go grocery shopping to make my own flower arrangement. To see how I put an arrangement together, see Easy flower arrangement in 5 minutes.
Do you keep house plants? What’s your opinion of using artificial plants? I guess if reality star designer Joanna Gaines uses fake flowers and plants, it must be okay!
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