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 cane chair with cushions next to large indoor tree in white pot
Raise your decorating game and jump on a growing trend with decor-enhancing indoor plants.

Lush for life

More is more when it comes to indoor plants, but it’s not just about quantity – where you put them can change the whole look and feel of your room. Make sure they get the right amount of light, and follow our tips on where and how to place them to enhance your space.

Consider the size

In a medium-to-large space, go big. A fiddle leaf fig, rubber tree or giant bird of paradise fits the brief perfectly. “These work well as an accent feature in open-plan living, where they can add height and drama,” says Narelle Peart from Scotts Osmocote. But avoid using them in small spaces. “They can be overpowering and make a room feel cramped,” she says.

For best effect, pair with a pot to complement the size of the plant; otherwise, it may look top heavy. You can also experiment with fruit trees, such as olives and citrus, but just for a short while – they perform better outside where they can enjoy full sun. If you do want to try them indoors for a spell, place them on pot wheels so you can easily move them outside when they need their light hit.

rubber plant in grey pot next to white dressing table with hessian drawers

Make them a focal point

Bring life to a coffee or dining table with a planted centrepiece. Protect your table by placing a small potted plant in a decorative ‘cache’ pot, which doesn’t have a drainage hole and acts as a saucer. A row of tiny pots arranged along the centre of the table can look amazing, or as a centrepiece for a circular table, try planting a shallow bowl with a selection of succulents, such as a mix of large-rosette echeverias, crassulas and trailing sedums. A terrarium works well too, and it can be planted in theme with a variety of succulents or indoor plants – don’t mix the plant types though, as their watering requirements are different.

The plants can all sit on the floor, but you can achieve a far more interesting display by using plant stands, says indoor gardener Alan Chan (@plant.jungle). Stools, chairs or upturned pots are all creative ways to give plants height. It may take a little playing around to see which plants and pots work best. Trailing varieties like hoya and devil’s ivy work well, but upright plants can stand out too.

Arrange in numbers

Follow the stylist’s classic rule and arrange in odd numbers – three, five, or more. “It is more pleasing to the eye and, when done right, can have a casual, effortless vibe,” says Alan. Also try experimenting with different heights, textures and colours. “Create depth by arranging taller plants at the back and smaller ones in the foreground,” suggests Narelle.

many indoor plants around a table with a pendant light hanging above

The only way is up

Creeping or trailing vines look fantastic displayed high on floating shelves or suspended from the ceiling. Do ensure that shelves or hooks can bear their weight, as potted plants can become quite heavy, especially after watering. For a low-fuss option, hang air plants. “Make or buy macramé plant hangers, sit different varieties of air plants (tillandsias) in them and display at different heights,” suggests Alan.

How to keep your plants happy

  • Most indoor plants will thrive in a brightly lit spot, but out of direct sunlight. Make sure to keep them away from the afternoon sun as this can scorch their leaves.
  • Water when the top 2.5-5cm of soil is near dry. “Insert your index finger into the potting mix until you reach the second knuckle – if the mix is dry, give it a good water,” says Narelle.
  • They may be indoors, but plants can still succumb to pests and diseases. Regularly check for signs of trouble and treat at first sight.
  • To boost plant growth, feed regularly with a liquid fertiliser throughout the growing season (this is usually the warmer months).
  • Repot every couple of years, or sooner if the plant is outgrowing its pot – you’ll see roots poking through the base. This will refresh the mix and give it more room to grow.

Not sure which plants to use?

Check out our rundown on the 13 best plants that are best for indoors.


Photo Credit: Belinda Merrie and Anna Robinson

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Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

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