10 Houseplant Decor Ideas for Big Impact

woman reads book on green couch surrounded by various large house plants

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

You don't have to have an entire garden room to make a statement with your indoor plants.

There is a lot to be said for for having houseplants. They provide all kinds of health and wellness benefits – doctors are even prescribing them for anxiety, depression, and loneliness. They are also a beautiful, zero-waste decorating option. Why buy more junk for decor when living green things have so much visual impact, are enduring in style, and won't end up in the landfill?

victorian houseplants
 Boston Public Library / Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Decorating with houseplants is somewhat straightforward, as long as you give each plant a place with appropriate conditions, it's almost hard to go wrong. That's the beauty of plants, they just look great. One trend of late is the "indoor jungle" look, which brings to mind some of the more exuberant plantscapes favored by the Victorians, see photo above. It is hard to deny the impact of basically having an entire garden inside! But a plethora of plants may not be for everyone – and if it is not for you, worry not!

Following are some ideas for how to make some impact without relying on simple abundance.

1. Go big

tattooed arms position a large ZZ plant in terracotta pot on rattan ottoman

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

The top photo shows that you don't need a lot of fussy plants to make a statement – just go extra-large. Big plants like, palms, fiddle leaf figs, ZZ plant, rubber trees, et cetera can be pricey, but if you buy them younger and raise them yourself, your patience will pay off.

2. Ivy League inspiration

ivy houseplant trained to climb up a cork board pinned with various art

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Flip the script on old Tudor houses and elite schools by growing ivy on interior walls instead of outside. Trailing plants like the lovely pothos can be trained to climb, as can ivies and of course any other type of vining plant.

3. Mobilize a tree

large house plant in wicker basket sits on wooden tray with wheels for moving around

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Put a tree on wheels! This is a great way to move your tree around to get more light or get it out of an area that may be too cold ... or to keep you company in different rooms. Who needs plants in every room when you can have one plant in all of them? It also makes it easy to wheel your baby outdoors for some outside time when the weather is suitable.

4. Use surprise plants

floating shelves filled with dry goods in glass jars and a green potted houseplant

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

A pantry plant? Why not? Scattering small plants around in surprising places is a delightful way to perk up any space.

5. Put a monstera in there

monstera swiss cheese house plant enjoys sun near window with gauzy curtains

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Remember in Portlandia when they "put a bird on it" to turn mundane things into hipster treasures? Monstera deliciosa may be modern-day equivalent in houseplant form. They are dramatic and whimsical and absolutely lovely, making them the perfect plant in just about every plantscape you'll see on Instagram. They may be trendy, but I think no home should be without one!

6. Consider complimentary colors

shiny green rubber plant is striking contrast against a pale pink wall

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Complementary colors are pairs of colors that live opposite one another on the color wheel – and when placed together, they make each other POP. Shades of green and shades of red/pink are complimentary, so placing plants in areas with reds and pinks will ensure some bold pizzazz.

7. Take over a new room

large scooped bathroom sink with tiled wall surrounded by ferns and other house plants

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

Currently ninety-nine percent of my houseplants live in my bathroom and it is heaven. I wrote about them in "8 'shower plants' that want to live in your bathroom" and I stand by this scheme! Although I love my rainforest bathroom, you could create a similar garden room anyplace that you might not have considered before. There are great reasons to have plants in your kitchen or bedroom, for example.

8. Make a mix-and-match shelf

floating shelves filled with assortment of house plants, art, and dry goods

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

There is something comfortingly old-school about having a big simple shelf filled with a frowsy mix of pretty plants – and it looks so great! This is a particularly good option for homes with children or pets, as some houseplants can be toxic to both sets.

9. Try a fruit tree

close view of calamondin, dwarf orange tree, with ripe fruit growing indoors

Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

Sadly not all of us can have an orangerie like Marie Antoinette did – but you don't have to have a greenhouse dedicated to citrus to have oranges year round. As long as you have enough light, you can grow citrus inside. Dwarf varieties like calamondin (Citrus mitis) and trovita (Citrus sinensis) can thrive indoors with eight to 10 hours of light a day. The very dedicated could try putting a little orange tree on wheels and moving from window to window if they don't have good southern exposure.

10. Make it a jungle

couple talks animatedly on green couch surrounded by large house plants

Treehugger / Sanja Kostic

When all else fails, pick one room where you and guests spend the most time and fill it to the brim with your favorite house plants (or whatever happens to grow best!) Even just a few green friends scattered around a couch can make a space feel that much more lush and inviting.