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5 Tips on Decorating with Indoor Plants

Everyone seems to have a plant decorating obsession. All you need is to see these hashtags on Instagram #instaplants, #houseplantclub and #livingwithplants to know that we are not alone in our fixation. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Plants are known to have numerous benefits. Not only are they known to be soothing for the soul, they can also uplift our moods and purify the air. The best part? They’re super instagrammable. Of course, it’s not just about buying plants and putting them anywhere. You want to convey a sense of stylish curation rather than clutter and mess, because, trust us, it’s easy to go overboard. So here are some tips to help you get started on your plant decorating journey. Green, brown or black thumbs welcomed.


1. Decorate an empty corner

Design (from clockwise): Artistroom, Three-D Conceptwerke, Nitton Architects

A corner of your room looking just a bit empty? Fill it up with a plant rather than that extra armchair. It’s a great place to go big, so opt for floor plants that have large, boisterous leaves that make a visual statement. Don’t get one that’s overly tall if the rest of your furniture is too low though, as things can look a little visually imbalance. Taller plants are OK if you’re living in a loft, double-volume space.

Design: Jesswan Interior

What plants to get: Nurul Anisyah from Noah Garden Centre recommends the Fiddle-leaf fig and Monstera deliciosa. They are super trendy plants with big leaves that can make a big visual impact. However, if you have small children or pets at home, you might want to avoid them as their leaves are toxic. Another option is the Yellow Palm, which is great for corners that don’t receive a lot of sunlight as the plant doesn’t need much of it. To check if the plant needs watering, dip your finger an inch into the soil to see if it’s wet. If dry, water until it seeps from the pot’s draining hole.


2. Use a bench, trolley or shelves

Design (from clockwise): Free Space Intent, Kuro+, DC Vision

Getting a few plants together and placing them on a bench, trolley or shelves not only helps to elevate plants to a higher level (for easier watering), it also adds a variety of height, keeping things visually more interesting. Get a trolley with castors and you can move your plants around the home to whichever room needs sprucing up. Place cascading plants on taller shelves or levels to show off their potential.

Design: Lemonfridge Studio

What plants to get: Mix and match plants that are more plain with ones that are more striking such as Calatheas, which has leaves with remarkable patterns. On top of being pet- and kid-friendly, this plant can also help to purify air from toxins. Anisyah also advises placing toxic houseplants such as Devil’s Ivy (cascading type), English Ivy (cascading type), Snake Plant, Peace Lily and Dumb Cane on higher shelves, out of reach from kids and pets.

No green thumb? Get the ZZ plant, an extremely low-maintenance plant that thrives on neglect. “It prefers spaces with partial sunlight or full shade and needs watering about once a week when the soil is dry to touch,” says Anisyah. If you are placing it in an environment that doesn’t have any sunlight, the horticulturist at Chin Ling Nursery recommends going for cacti and succulents as they can be grown under grow lights due to their need for brighter lights.


3. Dress up your windows

Design (from clockwise): Three-D Conceptwerke, Design Zage, Hello Embryo

Most plants need sunlight, so it’s a natural choice to place them by the windows. Build a window ledge for your plants to sit on. Make the ledge wider if you’re planning to turn it into a bay window sitting area. Instead of curtains, you can use hanging plants as a window furnishing. Install elephant hooks from the ceiling or hang an iron rod across the window. Bulkier plants can sit on the floor by the window.

Design: AO Studios

What plants to get: According to Anisyah, most herbs require at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight to grow well. So they are best suited near the window. Easy-to-grow herbs include mint, chives, parsley and rosemary. To invigorate the senses, go with oregano which has an exotic, spicy fragrance or lemon balm, which lends a citrusy smell with a hint of minty freshness. Cacti and succulents are also great options to dress up your windows with.


4. Hang them up

Design (from clockwise): The 80’s Studio, Free Space Intent, Arkhilite

If you’re short on floor space, you can always hang up your plants from the ceiling. Cascading ones create the biggest visual impact, but all sorts of greens work. For bohemian feels, macramé plant hangers are a good option. Pair your greenery alongside your pendant lights—we like using exposed Edison bulbs—for that rustic, glamour vibe.

What plants to get: Besides common cascading plants like Devil’s Ivy and English Ivy, Anisyah also recommends Spider Plants and String-of-pearls, which can add a bit of variety and texture to your hanging plants collection. If you’re looking to add a hanging plant in your bathroom, Spider Plants are a good choice as they thrive in a moist and humid environment. They will eventually form little plantlets along the perimeter of the leaves which look like small spiders—hence their name—that can be cut off and grown once their roots are formed.


5. Opt for a green wall

Design (from clockwise): The Roomakers, Free Space Intent, Free Space Intent

Another space-saving option is the green wall/vertical garden, which also helps to dress up an empty wall space. There are many types of vertical gardens, including ones that have a self-watering/irrigation system in place so you don’t have to maintain it as much, pocket planters where plants are placed within a fabric type plant medium material that allows them to grow better, as well as planters mounted onto a trellis.

Design: KNQ Associates

What plants to get: Plant choice should depend on where you place your green wall. Get varieties that require similar care. If you’re using a shared irrigation system, get plants that require the same amount of watering. Plants like Philodendron ‘Gold’, Lipstick Vine and Cryptanthus bivittatus work well together in a semi-shaded spot with moderate amounts of watering. If you’re placing your green wall in a sunny spot with full sun, you can go with plants like Bunching Onion, Yellow Peanut Plant and Indian Birthwort. The Boston Fern is also a popular green wall plant thanks to its generous foliage, which can hide any planter underneath to give the appearance of a seamless green wall. It will work with the Pellionia repens and the Rabbit’s Foot, which like the Boston Fern, require indirect sun and moderate watering.

Do read up on the toxicity of the plant types if you have small children or pets at home. “Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing, while touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations,” cautions the horticulturist at Chin Ling Nursery.


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