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How to Arrange Plants in a Living Room: Houseplant Décor Mistakes & How to Fix Them

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Will Southall

Will Southall

9 months ago - 10 minute read

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Getting a new houseplant is an exciting experience. If you’re obsessed with having plants in your house or apartment (like we are!), then you’ll know there are few better feelings than treating yourself to a new leafy green.

But, we also know, as you bring your new plant home, it may dawn on you…where exactly are you going to put this new houseplant?

Choosing to keep houseplants in the living room is an excellent way to get the most out of your green friends. Plus, houseplants are quick, easy and rent-friendly ways to decorate!

If you’re undecided about where to put your new houseplant, keep reading to learn our reasons why the living room can be the best place. Plus, we’ll also share our top tips (and crucial mistakes to avoid!) about how to arrange houseplants in a living room.

5 Benefits of Having Houseplants in a Living Room

Before we talk about how to arrange plants in a living room, you may be wondering whether your lounge is the best place to keep a houseplant.

If you rent from a strict landlord (who doesn’t take kindly to you renovating), styling a living room with houseplants can be one of the best ways to decorate a rental and make it feel more like home. Plus, keeping a plant in your living room has many benefits (both physical and psychological) for renters and homeowners.

If you’re still deciding whether the living room is the right place, here are some benefits of having houseplants in the lounge to help you make your final decision.

They Can Lower Stress & Anxiety

No one likes to feel stressed and anxious at home, especially when you’re relaxing in your living room. But a benefit of having houseplants is that they can reduce our stress and anxiety levels. Research (source) tells us that because houseplants remind us of nature, the great outdoors, and a slower pace of living, just looking at them can help reduce tension and make us feel calmer.

They Can Improve Focus

As well as reducing our stress levels at home, houseplants can also improve our concentration and productivity. They can even make us feel more focused (source). This is perfect if you work from home and your desk is also in your living room. Or if your new Netflix show just really requires your full attention!

They Can Boost Your Mood

When you choose houseplants for your living room, you’re committing to becoming a plant parent, which means you now have responsibilities for tending, watering and repotting. And interestingly, the act of potting soil for a houseplant can actually boost your mood (source). This is because the soil contains microbes that work as a kind of natural anti-depressant when touched. It’s apparently not as powerful as a walk in nature, but it can still give you a little lift. And who doesn’t want happy things to do in their living room?

They Can Brighten a Space

Alongside the health perks, there’s another benefit of having houseplants in a living room: they look lovely! By fixing one or two statement plants around your living room (or creating a tropical paradise with many, many leafy friends), you can make your space look brighter, full of life and generally more pleasant to be in.

They (Somewhat!) Clean the Air

A quick Google search to ask, “Do houseplants clean the air?” will give you a shedload of answers that shout, “Yes, yes and yes!”. However, this technically isn’t true. While a NASA study conducted in a lab in the eighties evidenced that houseplants have air-cleaning qualities, a more recent National Geographic study proved that plants don’t really purify the air in a home setting.

But it did show us they remove a small amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air of our homes. It’s very, very (very!) minimal and very slow, but we still think it deserves a little shoutout as a benefit of having houseplants in a living room!

Plus, alongside VOCs, houseplants take in moisture, which can help prevent mould. We think both these things give a thumbs up to having plants in the living room!

Related article: How to deal with black mould in your home

Where Should You Place a Plant in a Living Room?

Generally, where you should place a plant in a living room depends on three main things:

  • Its size – how big or small the plant undoubtedly impacts where it’ll look best.
  • The plant’s needs – like how much sunlight, warmth or fresh air it needs to survive.
  • Your desired aesthetic appeal – houseplants are a home décor statement, so their placement also depends on what kind of aesthetic appeal you want to create for your living room.

Plus, even though every houseplant has different needs, you’ll always need to ensure your houseplant has enough space, adequate sunlight and a suitable temperature.

For these reasons, it’s usually best to consider where you’re going to place a plant in your living room before purchasing it (but we know that temptation sometimes prevails!).

Keep reading, and we’ll dive into the specifics of how to arrange houseplants in a living room according to their size.

Where Should I Place Small Houseplants in a Living Room?

Knowing where you should place small houseplants in a living room can be tricky. Succulents and cacti can be very small. So small, in fact, it can be hard for them to make any impact on your living room décor. That is, of course, unless you know the right places for them. Which, luckily, we do!

Here are five ideas of where you can place small houseplants in a living room to help you decide where looks best.

On a Bookshelf

In and amongst a row of books is ideal for a small houseplant, especially if it’s a dangly plant like Ivy or Pothos. Styling a bookshelf with green often works best if you have multiple small plants that you can space out between the books and on different shelves in a separated, mismatched pattern.

Along with Window Sills

Window sills can be perfect for small houseplants in a living room. If you’ve got the space, try placing some medium houseplants on the window ledge, too, with the bigger ones at the back and the smaller ones closer to the front. Provided there isn’t too much of a draft on your window ledge, and your houseplant loves direct sunlight, one or multiple smaller houseplants in a cluster will look sublime.

On a Coffee or Side Table

To add a splash of colour to a living room, a small houseplant on a raised surface (like a coffee or side table) is another excellent choice. Choosing a houseplant with long, high leaves (like a spider plant) can work particularly well in these areas. These plants draw the eye upwards and can therefore make the table look bigger and like more of a statement.

Hanging From the Ceiling

Hanging houseplants immediately catch your attention. A small or medium-sized houseplant (or several) hanging from the ceiling is the perfect way to make a statement (or turn your living room into an indoor jungle!). And, in some cases, they can make your living room feel bigger since you’re utilising all available space.

Just make sure that, if you’re renting, you either have permission from your landlord to drill holes into the ceiling, or you’re prepared to patch up the area and repaint before you move out (so you don’t lose your rental deposit).

Related article: Do you need a lifetime deposit? Here’s how to decide!

On a Mantelpiece

If your house or apartment has a fireplace with a mantel, the ledges are often too small to fit most décor items. But that’s why they can be the ideal places for smaller houseplants! Dangly plants work best as they draw the eyes down to the floor, which can make a smaller living room seem more spacious. Plus, having little splashes of green on these high surfaces can make more of a statement than keeping small plants close to the floor.

Where Should I Place Large Houseplants in a Living Room?

Larger houseplants are ideal centrepieces for a renters’ living room. Because of their size, it’s often best to keep larger houseplants freestanding in a raised pot with legs, as this can make your living room appear more spacious.

To help you decide where’s best to put your larger houseplants, here are four placement ideas that won’t let you down.

On a Window Ledge

A window ledge is often the best place for smaller plants, not larger ones, but it really depends on the plant and how big it actually is. For example, a larger Monstera (that isn’t too big or bushy) can be an excellent choice for a big window ledge. Because the leaves are usually thin and spaced out, it won’t block out too much natural light, but it’ll still cover enough of the window to make an impact.

In a Bright Corner

Situating a larger houseplant in a bright corner of your living room is, undeniably, one of the best places for them. Empty corners can make a room feel dark and less intimate. But, if you fill corners with something green, leafy and bursting with life, it’ll make your living room look brighter, cosier and more refreshing!

Next to the Sofa

Placing a large houseplant next to your sofa is possibly one of the oldest tricks in the interior design ‘handbook’. But there’s a reason why it’s a timeless classic: it works! If your living room sofa has space (and enough natural light) on either side, a freestanding plant can fill the space perfectly. This trick can work particularly well if you have a boldly coloured sofa (like block green, navy or orange). The green of your plant can complement the sofa without stealing all the attention.

Next to Back Patio Doors

Placing a large, freestanding houseplant next to your balcony or patio doors can be a great choice for so many reasons. Firstly, it’s usually a bright area, so almost any houseplant should be able to get the sunlight they need. Secondly, glazed doors can provide a lot of warmth, which is also great for most houseplants. Thirdly, if you frequently open and close the doors, your plant should get more than enough ventilation. Finally, it’ll just look so good against the glass!

Common Houseplant Décor Mistakes People Make in Living Rooms (& How to Fix Them)

Despite our best efforts, we can all make mistakes with where we place our houseplants in the living room. To help you avoid these issues and do the right thing by your plants (and your home!), here are four common houseplant décor mistakes people make and how to fix them.

Using Dark Pots in Dark Corners

Dark corners aren’t always the best places to keep a freestanding houseplant (unless the species doesn’t rely on lots of sunlight to survive). But one of the biggest houseplant décor mistakes people make is using a dark pot in a dark corner. It’s an interior designer’s nightmare!

What’s the solution? If you have a houseplant that’ll do well in a dark corner of your living room, use a light pot to make the area feel brighter. Or, if you really want to use a dark pot (because it matches your home décor or it’s just the perfect size!), try adding a lamp or a small grow light to the corner, too. You can also try resting a mirror on the wall behind the plant. The reflection will bounce the natural light around the corner and make things look less dark and dingy.

Cluttering Instead of Clustering

Clustering plants together can be a stunning houseplant décor trick. But there’s a difference between clustering and cluttering. A clutter of plants is usually when you have all plants of the same size (and/or species) in one corner or on a shelf. The lack of variation in heights can make the section of your living room look stagnant and bland.

What’s the solution? If you’re going to put multiple houseplants together, it’s important to get the collection right. Instead of using plants of the same size, choose ones with varying heights and widths to create some variation. With regard to their pots, try sticking to colours that complement one another but aren’t exactly the same. For example, if you mostly have ceramic pots, add one or two coloured pots into the mix for a bit of contrast.

Going Too Close to Radiators

Usually, placing houseplants next to a radiator is a big no-no. Even though it may seem like the perfect choice (since it’s often a warm and spacious area), the heat can quickly dry out a plant. Even frequent watering may not be enough to keep your new plant alive and happy next to a radiator. And a dying plant definitely won’t look good.

What’s the solution? There are multiple solutions to this placement issue. Naturally, you could just move the houseplant away from the radiator. But, if you’re short on space, this could be the only place in your living room to put a large houseplant. So, you can either keep the radiator off, turn down the heat, or keep the plant at least a metre away from the rad.

Using Faux Plants Out of Fear

Looking after a houseplant sounds like it’d be the simplest thing in the world. I mean, all you have to do is water it, right? Wrong! Sadly, there’s a lot more to keeping your houseplants happy than you may think. They need repotting (stagnant soil can quickly lose its nutrients), rotating (to ensure equal sunlight), feeding, ventilation and, of course, watering.

But while it sounds like a lot of work (which can scare people off), these things are quick and easy to learn. And everyone gets it wrong with houseplants every so often (they can be somewhat impossible, after all!).

Related article: Tips to help you revive your indoor plants if they’re dying

Choosing faux houseplants is brilliant if your rental doesn’t have enough natural light to keep real plants alive. But, naturally, fake plants don’t give you the same health benefits as real plants. And they can often look fake, too, which doesn’t always bode well for your home décor. So, another one of the biggest houseplant décor mistakes you can make is buying faux plants out of fear rather than necessity.

What’s the solution? Start with low maintenance houseplants and learn as you go! Snake Plants are usually excellent choices for new plant parents because of how resilient they are to pretty much everything (including temperature changes, minimal light, infrequent watering etc.).

Conclusion

There you have it! That’s everything we know about how to arrange houseplants in a living room to decorate your rental. Hopefully, there are enough placement ideas in this article to help you find the perfect spot for your new houseplant – no matter its size.

For more renting or decorating advice, why not check out some of our other guides for renters? We think it’ll be well worth it!

About to rent a new home?

If you’re preparing to move to a new rental, have you already started saving to pay for your tenancy deposit? At Fronted, we know that making an upfront cash payment can be tricky – especially if you have to pay your new deposit upfront before getting any of your old ones back.

Lifetime Deposits are a perfect solution for renters like you where your deposit moves home with you. Check out the details of how our Lifetime Deposits work or join our waiting list to be the first to use them when they launch.

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Will Southall

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Will Southall

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