Indoor plant ideas: 20 ways to create stunning house plant displays

From trailing beauties to leafy giants, these indoor plant ideas will revitalise every room in your home

indoor plant ideas
(Image credit: The Joy Of Plants)

Indoor plant ideas can help lower stress levels, replenish the air and make your home look rather gorgeous too, so who doesn’t want to fill their home with plants? One look at these latest style tips and you will be reaching for new pots and planters, ready to breathe life back into each room. 

However big or small your home, there’s definitely room for a leafy beauty or two  – from tiny living stones to stately palms and figs they can pep up a mantlepiece, filter light coming through a window or even help divide and cosy up an open-plan living space. They can add contrast and texture to the simplest decor, turn a dull set of shelves into a stunning statement or add a stylish flourish to a new coffee table or kitchen island. 

What’s more, the best indoor plants offer an excuse to have fun and get hands-on creative too – whether it’s a striking pairing of leaf and pot, a thoughtful tabletop arrangement, a beautiful landscape in miniature or trying your hand at the Japanese art of Kokedama (simply stunning!) there are plenty of different ways to bring these charmers into your home. So keep reading to find out how you can transform your interior with these creative ideas. 

1. Try a Bonsai

bonsai plant on a coffee table

(Image credit: Tranquil Plants)

If you love minimal style, then a lovingly tended Bonsai could be your perfect, leafy fit. Meticulously tended their intricate shapes and textures look stunning displayed in an alcove or centre-stage on a coffee table, against a simple and well-ordered backdrop. Detailed and intricate, varieties such as Juniper, Yew and Pine are great for beginners as they are slow growing and will tolerate different environments. Choose whether to grow yours in a shallow pot or tray or try a moss covered Kokedama, such as this Buddhist Pine from Tranquil Plants

2. Make a hallway more inviting

Swiss cheese plant in a hallway

(Image credit: Crocus)

Add a touch of calm and grandeur to a busy hallway by going large. A tall, potted plant popped on the floor in an empty corner will unify an awkward space and make it feel much more welcoming too. Look for shade lovers with large glossy leaves – such a Swiss Cheese Plant, Dragon or Corn Plant – as these will reflect the light, add texture and tone and help to visually break up the sharp, angular lines of architraves, stairs and doorways. Check out Crocus for a wide selection.

3. Cultivate a terrarium

terrarium

Air Plant, Succulent and Cacti Mixed Terrarium by Dingading Terrariums at Not On The High Street

(Image credit: Not On The High Street)

Lower your stress levels and lose yourself in a mini landscape. Filled with the intricate and mesmerising shapes of tiny succulents and air plants, and dotted with gravel and pebbles, a terrarium can become a calming and absorbing feature. Place it in full view – on a coffee or side table – so you can sit back with a quiet cuppa and admire. To keep air-loving succulents happy, look for a glass dome or lantern with an open top or side to ensure plenty of ventilation. 

4. Play with colourful foliage

selection of colourful house plants

(Image credit: Crocus)

Turn a low-level table-top, windowsill or shelf into a beautiful, living artwork with a group of carefully chosen foliage plants.  By simply repeating a single plant type in all its colourful variations you can make a beautiful and unusual feature perfect for any room. Look for low-growing varieties that have intricately patterned leaves – ivies, Tradescantia and these Fittonias all work really well – and pop them into identical pots. Containers in neutral and mono tones work best, as these highlight the varying leaf colour. Arrange the plants in simple rows, rings, squares or rectangles as your space dictates, and sit back and enjoy watching your display thrive. 

5. Design a leafy divider

trio of fiscus plants

(Image credit: The Joy Of Plants)

Need to cosy up or zone an open-plan living space? Then try using a group of large container plants as a divider. Not only do they look great pulled close together, with their varying leaf shapes, colours and markings, these tall beauties will also let the daylight gently filter through to the different parts of the room. Look for upright, multi-stemmed types of Ficus, such as the large leaved Banjo Fig, glossy leaved Java Fig or the iconic rubber plant Fiscus Elastica, and go for square planters to create a neat, space-efficient barrier.

6. Plant up a picture

house plants planted in a picture frame and used as a wall display

(Image credit: Greenlabshop)

View plants from a different perspective by using them as living art. Perfect for pepping up a plain wall or bringing an organic touch to a functional space, these clever Live Picture Go frames from Greenlabshop can house pairs of plants in easy-to slot in cassettes. Position them tight together in rows or grids, where the plants will grow to hide their planting pockets, creating the look of a lush living wall – plants with similar leaf tones work best for this. Alternatively treat them as painterly masterpieces, by choosing striking, coloured foliage – try Devil’s Ivy and Philodendron – and spacing the frames evenly apart.

Want to create a similar effect on an outside wall? Our step-by-step guide to creating a wall display with succulents will inspire you to give it a go. 

7. Go for an easy care hanging display

house plants on a hanging wall shelf

(Image credit: Made in Design)

Let the plants do the talking – en masse – with a hanging display shelf.  A quick and easy way to make an impact with greenery, a simple hanging set of shelves will transform an alcove, blank wall or a less-than-lovely view in an instant. Essentially a series of neat wooden frames that you can slot potted plants into, you can suspend it from a wall or ceiling. Customise the finished look to suit your space by varying your plants. Rows of compact, sun loving succulents such as Houseleeks and Echeveria will create a chic, orderly vibe while a mix of large glossy leaved Peace Lily, ferns and trailing ivy conjure up a more tropical feel.

8. Give shelves a lift

living room with plants used on a storage unit as a wall display

Indoor plants from a selection at Patch Plants

(Image credit: Patch Plants)

Great for storage and for making the most of wall space, shelving units are also perfect display opportunities for plants. Bring shelves to life by mixing plants of different shapes and sizes; choose from upright, trailing and small potted beauties – there are plenty of options to try. Give your display a true designer edge by sticking to a few simple tips. Go for similar shaped pots in a single colour for a unified look. Pop trailing species on higher shelves so they have plenty of space to tumble down. Upright beauties such as Mother-in-law’s tongue need lots of height but ensure they keep within the overall shelving ‘grid’ to maximise impact and to stop them from looking untidy. 

9. Highlight a true beauty

house plant on a bedside tale

Schefflera on Lava plant from Patch Plants

(Image credit: Patch Plants)

Sometimes a simple statement says more – so be brave a give a stunning plant the space it deserves. Look for a plant with a distinctive shape or unusual feature and pop it centre-stage on a side table or stool. Keep the surrounding area clear and highlight with a well-placed spotlight or downlighter. The roots of this exquisite Schefflera have been trained around a Lava rock and will lend a zen style feel to any room. 

10. Create a hanging display

hanging planter in a living area

(Image credit: The Joy Of Plants)

Fancy something a little different? Then gather some trailing plants together and make a feature of them. Show off their delicate shapes and foliage by hanging them in front of a window or in a light or stairwell. Choose simple, barely-there glass globe planters from Amazon and suspend them from a hanging pan rack  (try Wayfair). If you fancy something more dramatic why not frame them within a metal plant stand with an added wire grid. 

11. Choose the perfect pairing

peperomia Pepperspot in a gold planter

Peperomia Pepperspot from Happy House Plants

(Image credit: Happy House Plants)

Let the plant take the lead when it comes to choosing a pot. Take a cue from an unusual leaf colouring, a striking stem or a distinctive leaf pattern or veining and look for a container that picks up on these characteristics. The result will be enchanting and oh so chic. Try this pairing of a gold Hanging Planter – try The Nest Homeware - and trailing Peperomia Pepperspot from Happy Houseplants. 

12. Show off trailing beauties

trailing indoor house plant

Pearl Queen (Senecio) from Indoor Plant Shop

(Image credit: Indoor Plant Shop)

Ok it sounds pretty obvious, but trailing plants look best when they have space to, well, trail. Pop them on a high shelf, overhanging a mantlepiece or even on a high stool or side table all of their own so they can overspill their containers and charm with their graceful and often unusual forms. Plant them in pots that are taller than they are wide to accentuate the tumbling shape.

13. Display on different levels

house plants displayed on different levels

(Image credit: The Joy Of Plants)

Cosy up an empty living room corner with a tall trio of plants. Great for filling an empty corner or awkward gap between seating, it will bring an element of greenery to the décor and add a sculptural element too. Create the effect by either choosing three different varieties of staggered heights. Or repeat the same plant type in each container and use the planters to give extra height. Look for container sets that come in varying heights or alternatively use additional up-turned pots as plinths, to create a tiered effect. Vertical species such as these Horsetail, Sansevieria or even cacti accentuate the look and add to the striking effect. 

14. Nurture a living wall

living wall in a living room

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Create a spectacular feature in any room by planting a living wall. Closely packed together to hide the growing system, these dramatic walls of foliage will grab anyone’s attention and introduce a mass of contrasting and textured foliage. They do need a regular attention to keep them in tip top condition, but the overall result is well worth the effort. Plant specialists such as Dobbies can help design and create installations with appropriate plant species but there are also DIY systems available that you can plant up yourself.

15. Plant a sculptural feature

indoor plant on a kitchen worktop

(Image credit: The Joy Of Plants)

Want to add instant boutique style to a room – then look for a boldly shaped container that you can fill with plants. An easy way to add impact to a prominent spot such as a kitchen island or sideboard, you can tailor the look to complement your décor. For best results opt for a large and simple, smooth sided pot or vase – this will create a bold, contemporary silhouette – and plant up with several of the same single plant. A compact, low growing variety such as a miniature Peace Lily looks lush, Maidenhair ferns will create a delicate effect but also consider carnivorous pitcher plants for a real conversation piece. 

16. Play with shapes

succulents displayed on a kitchen worktop

(Image credit: The Joy Of Plants)

Using plants to make an impact in the home is very much down to how they are displayed. Yes, the right plant needs to be in the right place to thrive, but it also needs to fit the room and its décor. Eye level plays a huge part in this so think carefully about how to show off your plants best side. A row of knobbly, bulbous cacti looks fantastically quirky all lined up at eye level on a mantelpiece, shelf or console table. Vary the heights, go for characterful pots and keep the background plain and simple for an eye-catching effect. Head over to our how to grow succulents guide for more plant growing advice 

17. Go high with an overhead planter

raised planter over a dining area

(Image credit: Room-studio.co.uk/Rei Moon)

Let hanging plants do what they do best, by growing them in an overhead suspended planter. This bespoke steel beauty from a project by Nina Cooley features trailing Tradescantia and Devil’s Ivy. Lit by daylight bulbs installed in the ceiling, it also incorporates a trio of glass pendant lights from Design By Us. The effect is truly magical when they are lit. Project designed and installed by Room.

18. Try a no-soil grow

indoor plants

Clusia rosea 'Princess' (including glass jar), from Bakker

(Image credit: Bakker.com)

Raising plants in water is not a new concept, after all hydroponics have been around for the last 300 years, but they certainly make a spectacular design feature. Perfect for adding interest to a mantlepiece, side table or bathroom shelf, they look chic and uber-contemporary and it’s mesmerising to see how the roots develop. Either pop a mature plant, washed free of its growing compost straight into a glass, water-filled jar or take a few leafy stems and watch the roots grow. This Clusia Rosea ‘Princess’ from Bakker is sold complete with a glass container but plants such as Philodendron, African Violets, trailing Tradescantia and colourful Coleus will also thrive. Choose a bright spot, out of direct sunlight and change the water regularly. Using mineral water will prevent the glass from scaling.

19. Revitalise your bathroom

bathroom filled with house plants

(Image credit: Dobbies)

Bathrooms are often light-filled and humid spots – the perfect habitat for indoor plants. Give your hard-edged and sterile room a leafy boost by packing it with leafy delights. Many houseplants are small scale treasures making it easy to pop them onto narrow windowsills, bath ledges and even around basins. A tall green giant will make bathing a more exotic experience while a hanging display above the bath adds a positively jungle-like vibe. 

selection of hanging planters filled with indoor plants

(Image credit: Tom Raffield)

It’s not just about the plants but how you display them, and if you are lucky enough to have a sunny corner, why not set up a gallery? Look for striking plant stands and hanging pots and arrange them in varying heights to fill the space. A combination of floorstanding and hanging plants is a great way to create an informal feel that’s full of interest. Mix up different leaf colours and shapes and encourage trailing plants to grow to one side so you can still see the outline of the container.

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