These Are the Best Plants for Your Living Room

updated Jan 7, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Diana Paulson)

Plants add color, shape, and life to living rooms, and are a powerful tool in your decorating toolbox. Like artwork, furniture, and other decor, you can use them as a focal point, to fill an empty awkward dead space, or even as a last minute styling detail. Here are six favorites.

(Image credit: Diana Paulson)


Not all of us are blessed with a well-appointed living room awash in natural light. For my fellow cave dwellers, where the closest thing to sunlight you’ll see all day is the flickering glow of a Netflix binge, I recommend a sansevieria. Sansevierias (you might also know them as snake plants) are a tough-as-nails species that will happily make themselves at home in any old inhospitable corner. There are plenty of varieties to choose from, ranging from tall and spiky to short and squat.

  • Water: Allow soil to dry out between waterings; they are forgiving of forgetfulness
  • Light: Just a sliver is necessary
(Image credit: Sandra Rojo)


Want something small and edgy? Rhipsalis is your plant. It has a dead-tree-in-winter sort of look when small and a crazy bedhead vibe when the growth picks up. (One nickname for this plant is “old man’s head”—interpret how you will.) Rhipsalis has jointed stems and no leaves to speak of, though some varieties have a fuzzy quality. It’s great for a grouping with succulents or adding a pop of green to a bookcase, end table, or desk.

  • Water: Allow soil to dry out between waterings
  • Light: Moderate to bright is best, but it will deal with most anything
(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

Prayer Plant

Prayer plants are, simply, a delight to grow. Their leaves fold up at dusk in response to light, making a gentle rustling as they snuggle in for the night. Aside from this enchanting feature, they’re beautiful, varied, and easy to grow. They come in an impressive range of mottled colors and sizes, so no matter what you design style is you’re sure to find a prayer plant to complement it. In fact, you could grow only prayer plants and still have plenty of variety in your greenery.

  • Water: Prayer plants need water regularly; try to keep the soil slightly damp at all times
  • Light: Moderately bright—don’t skimp!
(Image credit: bjphotographs)
(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Norfolk Island Pine

If you harbor fantasies of living in a forest, deck out your living room with Norfolk Island pines. You will not regret it. These evergreen beauties are tropical (with surprisingly soft needles), but they’ll give you the illusion of living on a mini Christmas tree farm. They are look good year-round in clusters, grouped with low, sprawling specimens like ferns and ivies—but are also fun to decorate for the holidays.

  • Water: Water when the soil drys out; will tolerate drought
  • Light: Bright to moderate
(Image credit: Aimée Mazzenga)

Fiddle Leaf Fig

If I were lucky enough to have a spacious and sunny living room, I’d get myself a fiddle leaf fig. I’m a huge fan of indoor trees when space allows—they’re a great decor element, equally serene and fun to look at (if a bit on the finicky side). Fiddle leaf fig gets its charm from oversized leaves atop a comically spindly trunk, making it the awkward but oh-so-lovable kid of the plant world.

  • Water: Water when at least the top inch of soil is dry; beware of overwatering
  • Light: Bright and indirect; afternoon sun from a south-facing window will scorch it

More of Our Popular Plant Posts: