Greenery Brings the Outdoors In

Every designer worth her fabric swatch – from Bucks County to Berkley – knows that greenery unequivocally enlivens an interior. However, as with all things in design…it must be done correctly. Properly done, greenery adds elegance, freshness, splash and life to any room. But, to be successful there are some tips used by those of us in the interior design field.

Real vs. Live:  How to Get it Right Either Way

Real Plants

Brown thumbs, stop here. You need to know only this:  a terrific way to trend down any interior is to put a dead or straggly plant in it. If you’re not great with live plants, go artificial. If you are able to handle real plants, read on. Live plants actually help create a healthy environment; they clean the air and can also add fragrance. However, do consider:

  1. Live plants can attract insects to the indoors – examine frequently.
  2. Live plants can cause water damage to floors and surfaces if containers leak or crack.
  3. Certain live plants can be toxic to family pets and to small children. Always do your research first.


How to use this info at home:

If you are going with live greenery, remember that real plants are stunning as long as they look healthy. Ask your garden center for tips on which plants do well in lower light areas…Sheffelara and Peace Lily are good choices and can usually be found  at home centers at a great price. Spend on beautiful containers that will look rich. Use larger plants to anchor empty areas, smaller plants as an accent. Side note:  no forests. An accent here or there & you’re done. I always find that as a rule, one larger plant is better than many small ones for both elegance and impact.

Artificial Plants

Brown thumb or impatient people, this one’s for you. If you are going artificial, you must select artificial plants that look as close to the real thing as possible. No dried flowers please – they are dust collectors –and, if we’re being honest, they look like what they are – dead. Silk flowers are OK provided they are extremely high quality silks. Try brands like NDI. Caution:  Don’t overdo – an accent here or there only.

How to use this info at home:

I always avoid variegated artificial plants, meaning leaves that have a white line running through the leaves. Variegated artificials never look natural or high quality. My favorite go-to for good looking artificial greenery is freeze dried greenery. These little works of greenery art were once living, but have been preserved by way of freeze drying. These are not inexpensive, but you get what you pay for. The look is tops. Do keep your freeze dried plans out of direct sunlight to avoid fading. Another favorite artificial greenery move I use in the most elegant interiors for the most discerning clients – consider topiary balls made of artificial moss or boxwood. Stack these in an urn, a wooden box or on top of a footed cake plate. Just remember that artificial plants of any kind will attract dust, so they require frequent maintenance. Blow dryers can work wonders.