How to Choose Fake Plants That Actually Look Good, According to Home Stagers

updated Jan 17, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Adding a little greenery to your home in the form of indoor plants is an easy way to spruce up your space. But if you’re one of the many people who can’t seem to keep a plant alive no matter how many sticky notes you’ve plastered around reminding you to water, faux plants are the (actually nice-looking) solution you’ve been searching for. 

Many fake plants look just as good as the real thing, and, of course, they require none of the upkeep. Faux plants are also a great option for people with small children and pets, since they seem to have a way of getting into everything they’re not supposed to. Translation: Fake plants can save you from big messes.

Not all fake plants are created equal, however, so we talked to some professional home stagers to get their take on which varieties are best, as well as their tips for making the most of fake plants. Ahead, their thoughts on how to style fake plants in your home.

Go all in on silk

Rhianna Miller, a garden design expert with Rubber Mulch, says that quality is key when choosing fake plants. Since they can last virtually forever, she explains, you should consider them an investment.

Her material of choice? Silk. Miller says it’s easy to bend and shape to imitate the look of real greenery. Her favorites include ficus trees, palms, topiaries, hanging plants, and artificial succulents. 

“Succulents in particular are popular for their modern look and low profile,” Miller says. “Think about placing a couple of pots on top of a stack of books, a side table or kitchen counter.” 

Source from multiple stores

Noel Gatts of New Jersey-based Beam & Bloom Interiors suggests checking out different retailers for different types of plants. She suggests IKEA for single-stemmed eucalyptus, peonies, trees, and potted plants. She likes the selection of both large and small succulents at World Market, while Pottery Barn is the best bet for pretty florals.

“When it comes to adding the color and vibrancy of plants to your home decor, fake it ’til you make it,” Gatts says. “Or, as I like to say, faux it til you grow it!”

Don’t just place them anywhere

Make sure you have a strategy in mind when deciding where to put fake plants.

Gatts likes to arrange single-stem synthetic flowers and greens in vases, pitchers, or centerpieces for tablescapes. She also puts them in groupings on trays to display on consoles and ottomans. Another strategy is to arrange faux trees or topiaries at varying levels. And to create and balance and symmetry, she recommends flanking a fireplace or mantel with artificial pieces. 

“When deciding on locations for your plants, it’s important to remember that you want your plant to work for you, so think about what’s missing,” Miller says. 

For example, she says you might want to fill up an empty corner in a living room, or bring some color into a monochromatic bathroom.

“Consider the type of vibe you want to create. Ferns tend to suggest a more natural feel, while a topiary is likely to represent neatness and tidiness,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to mix and match the different styles in your rooms.”