5 Ways to Make Big Plants Work in Your Small Space

updated Apr 22, 2021
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Fiddle leaf fig in a home
Credit: Lauren Kolyn

I’ve got some great news: Just because you live in a smaller home or apartment doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice having large houseplants. I know! You don’t have to put blinders on while plant shopping anymore. Revel in the big plant beauty. 

In fact, did you know that big plants can actually make small spaces look bigger? It’s true! It’s the same rule that you’d use when planting a small garden: Big plants add dimension to your growing space. Of course, trying to create the Instagram-esque “indoor jungle” vibe in a tiny apartment might just result in a “can’t walk down the hallway” vibe, so use these tricks to make oversized plants work for — and fit in — your place.

A quick heads-up: Note that any specific plants mentioned in this story or any others may be toxic to pets or humans. “Toxic” plants can induce symptoms that range from mild (upset stomach) to severe (possible death). If you have a cat, dog, or kid, make sure you research the plants ahead of time on a reputable site like ASPCA.orgPetPoisonHelpline.orgPoison.org, or by calling your vet or pediatrician.

Use a Series of Large Plants as a Privacy Wall

So many of us are still working from home — and in many instances, we’ve shoved our work spaces into corners of bedrooms and dining rooms, trying to pretend like no one else is home. You could buy a privacy screen — or you could make a room divider out of plants. 

By lining up a few larger plants across the boundary of your WFH space, you can create your own private sanctuary. Mix it up by choosing plants that have different textures, heights, and widths to polish off the effect. For example, you could make a wall using a few birds of paradise, bushy dracaenas, and parlor palms.

Take Advantage of Your Bathroom Space 

Until recently, most people didn’t think about putting houseplants in their bathrooms. After all, they’re high-traffic but mostly utilitarian rooms. Then, the “plants in the bathroom” trend hit Instagram, and now everyone is trying it. Honestly, you should too. 

If your home is cramped but you have a corner in your bathroom that’s collecting dust bunnies and random socks, consider putting a plant stand there with a large fern — ferns are low-light tolerant and love moisture. Frequently used bathrooms are also great places for large plants that need a lot of humidity, like alocasias and anthuriums

Disguise Ugly Stuff on Your Walls with One Massive Plant 

When you live somewhere with minimal wall space, unsightly cosmetic defects — like utility access points — are even more noticeable. But a well-placed, large plant can disguise anything from a switch to a thermostat. 

Of course, when trying to hide these things with a large plant, make sure you take into account the plant height and size you’ll need to accomplish the feat. A parlor palm, bird of paradise, or dracaena will more than likely get the job done. Also, don’t forget about those fiddle leaf figs!  

Credit: Ana Kamin

Put Plants in Unusable Spaces

When you live in less-than-large square footage, you’re bound to have a few odd nooks, crannies, and corners where furniture just won’t fit. How about sticking substantial plants in them?

You can find XXL houseplants in all kinds of size variants, from tall and skinny to short and bushy and everything in between. Chances are, you’ll find one that fits perfectly. And, of course, it will grow — which will lend to a more organic feel.  

Credit: Hannah Puechmarin

Clear Up Floor Space with Big Hanging Plants 

Longing for a large houseplant but simply don’t have the floor space for one? Sizable plants don’t just mean standing plants — use the airspace! Wall and ceiling hangers are a breeze to install. And you can vary the length from which the plants hang, which gives you plenty of room to play around. 

Large versions of Boston fern, spider plant, and tradescantia hanging baskets are all great options.

Apartment Therapy’s Styling with Plants vertical was written and edited independently by the Apartment Therapy editorial team and generously underwritten by Greendigs.