Our Top Tips for Arranging Indoor Plants
Once you know how to arrange indoor plants, you'll see how they can bring life and joy to every room in your home.
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
Fill Your Space
Even the most beautifully furnished room benefits from the magic of well-placed plants. When possible, incorporating the plant and planter into the room’s initial design allows the space to be intentional and cohesive. After the fact, with proper placement and choice, the houseplant can be a design problem solver, as well. Is your room a bit spare? Bring on the houseplants and transform the space into an inviting, hospitable space. Can’t keep house plants alive for long? Even the anti-green thumb can handle one of these indoor plants that literally can’t be killed.
Corners can be a huge blank spot in a room. An indoor tree easily elevates and fills the space, turning it into a focal point. In a bright room, the classic fiddleleaf fig (Ficus lyrata) spreads to fill a large area, while an architectural dragon tree (Dracaena marginata) requires less room and light. Always leave the plant in its original pot and choose a decorative container to set it into. A large indoor tree requires a substantial pot or basket to keep it both stable and visually proportionate. Always place a plastic saucer inside the decorative pot to catch water and protect floors. Keep this in mind to help your house plants make it through the winter.
Cluster for Impact
A large tree can get pricey, so here’s another way to gain a similar impact with a trio of smaller plants. Choose a taller plant (maybe a small version of the trees mentioned above), and two more, descending in pot size. Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) and Limelight Dracaena (‘Dracaena fragrans ‘Limelight) go willingly from bright to low light and have foliage that plays well together. Then, add decorative pots. One great look is the mid-century modern planter on legs that elevates plants in a simple, clean look. Many times they are sold in pairs. Add a third lower pot to the mix and you’ve created a stunning display. The containers can be of the same material and color, or mix and match, depending on your style.
Try these first-aid fixes for common problems with your indoor plants.
Plant Stands Rule
Plant stands come in loads of styles and serve numerous design purposes. Do you have a view out a window that’s less than perfect? A tall, substantial plant stand is one answer to this problem. The plants will love the light and easily diffuse what’s going on outdoors. Keep in mind the stand’s shelf height when choosing plants, and remember to always place a saucer under each one to protect surfaces.
Turn It Into Art
If you have a blank wall begging for something special, consider an architectural plant stand. Here, the stand adds to the beauty of the display and the overall look of the room. This is the perfect place to show off a collection of plants; maybe you’re into succulents or bonsai. Remember to always consider how much light the plants will receive and choose accordingly.
If hanging plants seem like old news, think again. Here are a few key places where they work best.
- In a window, a large hanging plant (of several smaller ones) will serve as a buffer between you and the outside world. This is especially useful when the view out the window is not the best. Hang the plants low enough to fill the window.
- In an empty corner, hang a basket of neon pothos (Epipremnum aureum), spider plant (Chlorphytum comosum) or silver philodendron (Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ ) for easy-care success.
Tip: Let the hanger itself provide as much of the impact as the plant. Macrame is back! To make life easy, choose a hanger with a basket attached so a saucer will easily fit below the plant. For a more casual look, a moss-covered basket lined with plastic brings the outdoors in and solves the dripping water problem.
Coffee tables beg for a houseplant display. Here’s the place to let your plants shine up-close and personal. You might enjoy a single specimen, like a beautiful orchid or perhaps a trio of plants is more your style. Plants with beautifully patterned leaves are attention-getters in a display like this. Keep pot size appropriate to the size of your table, and go from a larger one (6-inch diameter) to several smaller pots (4-inch diameter). Use stacked books to create a tiered “plant stand” so the display will have some dimension.
Put each plant in a decorative pot, noticing whether or not it has a drainage hole. Those with holes will require a saucer either inside the pot, or outside to protect your coffee table. Match the pots, or choose a more eclectic mix if that’s your style. Remember, indoor plants should remain in their original containers.
It’s fun to tuck a plant into an unexpected spot, or display them in a unique way. Air plants (Tillandsias) and succulents offer opportunities to show off in unusual places. Place a ceramic holder on a bathroom vanity or a fun air plant on your refrigerator door!
According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, these air-purifying plants—all of them very common and easy to find—are great at getting rid of the dangerous, cancer-causing toxins that you’re breathing in right inside your home.
When you think about a terrarium, do you conjure up a science experiment gone bad? In truth, a terrarium can be a lovely glass container filled with petite plants, rocks and moss. Perfect for a coffee table, where it can be viewed easily, this garden in glass is a statement piece. It’s easy to make your own with a kit. Or, check out your local garden center for all the supplies and instructions.