These 5 Makeovers Prove That Plant Walls Are the Feel-Good Feature Your Home Needs

published Feb 23, 2023
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Credit: Minette Hand

If you have a blank wall that could use some TLC, you’ve got lots of options. Gallery walls are great for showing off favorite art and photos; a fresh coat of paint can cast even old decor in a new light; and built-in or wall-mount shelving can do double-duty as a design focal point and practical storage. But if you’re a plant lover (even a slightly murderous one!), consider creating a plant wall for your next DIY.

Whether you own your home or live in a rental, plant walls are a simple, affordable project that you could do in a single weekend. The concept is pretty simple, too — the most important part is finding plants that work with your room’s lighting conditions (or faux ones that can tolerate anything). Then, arrange them in groupings on the wall, either by using wall-mounted planters like these or by placing your existing pots in holders like these. You can also install simple shelves to hold your greenery, or even just let a single plant go wild.

Plant walls work best with climbing and trailing plants, which can fill in the gaps and give the illusion that the whole wall is swallowed in greenery — the dream! The photo above, from this Manhattan apartment’s home tour, shows how that can look once your plant matures. You can help it find purchase by using Command hooks to hold the vines in place.

For your own plant wall, try low-light-friendly options like pothos or philodendron. Or, as mentioned above, you can ditch the real stuff and reach for faux plants instead. That gives you the freedom to install plant walls in windowless spaces, and can help you achieve an instantly lush look without having to wait through the growing process, too. Keep reading for five perfect examples of how living walls, both real and faux, can completely transform a space — then get inspired to create your own.

The One-Dull Entryway Wall That Now Makes a Bold Statement

A lot of times, entryways are styled with things like a cute console table, maybe a basket or two, and some framed art to bring it all together. Intrepid DIYer Kit Lin had other plans for her tall entryway wall. “I’m a plant lover, and the rest of the rooms in my home are filled with plants,” she explains. “However… our foyer doesn’t get enough sunshine for plants to grow. (Yes, I attempted to put some plants here and they didn’t make it).” To create a fun, lively vibe in a space that was seriously lacking personality, Kit opted for a green wall. She purchased a dozen 20×20-inch hedge plant tiles from Amazon for $125 total and installed them all with nails and staples. The full wall of greenery is an immediate focal point in this entryway, and gives it the welcoming feel Kit was after.

The Modern Shower That Almost Feels Like It’s Outdoors

A few eucalyptus stems in the shower offers a luxe touch and a soothing, spa-like scent. But you don’t have to stop there: a humid bathroom is the perfect environment for moisture-loving plants (for example, Boston ferns). When DIYer Mohamed Hussen (of the aptly named account @mo.and.the.jungle.shelf) redid his bathroom, he added shelving for at least five plants in the shower — and the results are gorgeous. Mohamed hired pros for the gut renovation, and while there are lots of elements to love, the plants are a highlight. “I love the fact we could have some plants in the bathroom,” Mohamed says. “We’ve got a whole wall devoted to them!” Since the entire bathroom is clean, bright, and white, all that greenery brings tons of color and life to the small space.

The City Balcony That Channels a Peaceful Botanical Garden

If you have an outdoor hangout space that feels too exposed, this redo is for you. Bev Wilson, of Room Sauce, and her fiancé wanted to add privacy to their Brooklyn brownstone’s balcony, and they also wanted whatever they created to be removable and renter-friendly.

With those parameters in mind, Bev came up with the genius idea to use bamboo fences and faux greenery to surround the balcony with a DIY plant wall. She and her fiancé used zip ties to secure the bamboo fencing to metal rails, then completely covered that in panels of faux greenery (also attached with zip ties). “I was surprised by how real the greenery trellis looks and it has held up very well,” Bev says. “This simple project completely transformed our patio.”

The Renter-Friendly “Built-Ins” That Make Plants the Star

This $500 DIY project takes the wall-arch trend to new heights. Renter Kelly Malone (@kellymalonemakes) had a blank wall in her living room that need some serious TLC, so she decided to use it so display her impressive collections of plants. Two IKEA IVAR cabinets placed on either side of the window help add storage; Kelly painted them dark green and added arches behind them using panther-patterned wallpaper in that same green shade. Using the same colors on the cabinets and the wall gives the illusion that they’re built-in. Kelly used them to display larger plants, and made a home for hanging plants directly in front of the window. She considers this her “only good window” that gets great light, so all of her plants are concentrated here; together, they create the vibrant look living wall.

The Bathroom That Features Two Plant Accent Walls

Here’s a project that shows how great living and faux plants can look together in the same space. Nadia Hassan (@project.inprogress) created multiple accent walls in her bathroom redo, but one of the best is at her bathtub. On one side, Nadia installed a rod from which to hang real plants that thrive under the light of the adjacent window. On the other, she installed faux greenery that goes all the way up the wall and even covers the ceiling. “Taking a bath now feels like being in the rainforest,” Nadia says.