How to use plants in interior design

We’ve all heard of the phrase ‘bringing the outside in’, but what does that mean in practice? Read on to see how I use plants to improve interior design…

Hello and welcome back!

It’s week two of our 6 week series on being inspired by interior design – which I’m writing in conjunction with the lovely Sophie from Golden Feathers Interiors. This week Sophie and I are thinking about the natural world and how to bring the outside into our homes.

I’ve got some great tips to share with you that I’ve implemented in each of the homes that we have lived in – from a one bed flat to a family home. There’s something for everyone this week! So let’s get started.

Create visual interest with hanging baskets. (Yes, inside the house!)

Gone are the days when hanging baskets were just for hanging outside your front door or in the garden! 2020 has seen a huge increase in the number of people growing and maintaining plants, and so it’s time for us to have some fresh ideas on how that might look in practice.

This is a candid shot of our home when we first moved in. Forgive the mess – we’d only been in a couple of days and this was a quick shot I’d taken whilst I was planning how we would decorate and use the space. It’s an orangery that is built onto the end of our kitchen diner. The doors open out directly onto the garden and so it’s a great space to sit in. My husband, who is plant mad, got to work filling it with plants as quickly as he could!

I love the dining table that we have in this space but wasn’t keen on hanging pendant lights above it as that would be quite costly at a time when it wasn’t a priority to increase lighting in this space. We already had some really lovely uplight/downlight fixtures in each of the four corners, which cast a lovely ambient light in the evenings. I knew I wanted something to hang above the table though and so we had the idea to hang three plants instead of pendant lights.

I absolutely love the colour and personality that the plants inject into the room! Some people have asked if soil falls down into our food – and the answer is a solid no! We have specialist hanging baskets that are made to contain plants from The Garden Trading Company (you can see similar ones here) and so they are made to contain plants. That means no soil spilling out or water dripping down when we water them.

We hung the plants by attaching tension wire between the two joists of the roof lantern and then secured the baskets to them. It works really well as the wire is hidden from sight most of the time due to the structure of the roof. It’s also pretty thin tension wire and so not an ugly eyesore! I’m looking forward to seeing what else I can hang form there this Christmas. I’m thinking of hanging baubles and some large paper decorations. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

What if I’m not very good at keeping plants alive?

I hear you. If it weren’t for my husband, I’m not sure that any of the plants in our home would still be alive! All the credit for the plants and greenery in our home must go to him. Never fear, I have some top tips for bringing the outside into your home in other ways if you’re not particularly green fingered.

Start by introducing dried flowers.

If you want the bright and colourful look of natural plants without the hassle of remembering to water them, why not start with dried flowers? There are some amazing online retailers selling gorgeous bunches of dried flowers right now. I got these from Florence and Flowers on Etsy as part of a wreath making set. I eventually made them into a wreath but loved the look of them so much that I’m planning on buying a bunch of festive dried flowers from The Petal Patisserie.

Style a tray with some plants or flowers.

Another simple idea is to grab a tray and style it with some flowers or a plant, a candle and one other seasonal item. And if you’re still nervous about taking care of the plants/flowers, well, don’t tell anyone but…(whispered: these flowers are faux!) Yep, I never thought I’d have faux flowers in my home as I’ve always been very anti them. Real flowers and plants are always my first choice but I must admit that it’s great going into a room on a dark and dreary day and seeing a bust of colour – even if it’s from faux flowers!

Which idea will you try?

So how about you? Have I tempted you to give any of my top tips a try? Let me know in the comments or via social media which is your favourite idea. You can find me on Instagram via @claireparkininteriors and Sophie is on @opulentboho

Now don’t forget to click on over to Sophie’s blog post. She’s sharing a special reader offer from London House Plants on her site, where you can save 15% off their plants. Go check it out!

Next week I’ll be sharing tried and tested ways to protect and care for the interior of your home. Particularly useful now that we are home so much more for work etc!

See you then,


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