Plants at Home: A Botanical Designer’s Advice & Ideas

updated Jul 17, 2020
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(Image credit: Cody Hamilton)

Natalie understands that plants are nature’s art—and how they can positively impact the way a home feels—because she has an art therapy practice and owns Ceremony, a boutique nursery and botanical design studio. The Texas Hill Country home she shares with her husband and young son is modern and fairly minimal; you don’t have to have a ton of plants to make a big visual impression.

Below, she shares some of her philosophies about plants, nature and making a home—ideas you may want to incorporate into your home.

“When looking for plants for interiors, pay attention to what certain arrangements, colors and foliage make you feel.”

Plants are alive!! They have personalities and remind us of the natural world around us. They are pure and even help us breathe better!! When we care for them they remind us of our need for mindfulness of ritual. I like to have plants in each room and I circulate them based on what I need and what I think they need. It is a reciprocal relationship.

When looking for plants for interiors, pay attention to what certain arrangements, colors and foliage make you feel. Be intentional about where you place them, thinking about what they need, too.

(Image credit: Breanne Johnsen)

How do you like to use plants in the home?

I love plants that are mounted and hanging, that are unusual and spark curiosity. That are used as art. I am really into my elimaria fern right now and kokedama balls hanging from the window.

As an art therapist, I am all about invoking creativity in my clients—and really seeing and hearing what it is they have to say through their art. Plants for me are nature’s art—and they have something REALLY important to say—maybe the most important message for all of mankind: SLOW THE FUCK DOWN!

“I love plants that are mounted and hanging, that are unusual and spark curiosity. That are used as art.”

Let plants be their wild selves. Don’t cut and trim and arrange in a way that makes them look stifled.

I also am more about botanical design that keeps the plants alive. I do love fresh cut flowers. But for Ceremony I love that a customer or client leaves with a living plant that may keep giving and will require mindful attention.

(Image credit: Cody Hamilton)

What are the most important elements for an inspiring creative home?

Our environments have so much power and they hold us—kind of like a giant diorama. We have to choose what feeling we want to experience on a day-to-day basis, what feeling we want our children to experience when they get home from a long day at school…and we need to create a space that evokes that.

“Plants remind me to slow down, to notice, to appreciate.”

(Image credit: Cody Hamilton)

Plants remind me to slow down, to notice, to appreciate. Antiques remind me that I am connected to a rich heritage and connected to others that were before us and those that will come after us. Meaningful art reminds me that humans are soulful and that everyone has something important to say.

(Image credit: Cody Hamilton)

What nontraditional natural elements from nature can someone incorporate into their home?

I am all about foraging—and have been since I was a little girl. Especially anytime I am somewhere that makes me feel good, I like to collect something—maybe an acorn or pinecone. (Of course, not if you’re in any park or land that forbids taking anything with you.)

Incorporating foliage and objects inspired by the natural world that make you think of an experience can evoke the same feeling you had when you were actually having the experience. In my interior design work this comes out as repurposing a piece of driftwood found on a hike and using it as wood to mount a fern on. Or finding a fossil with my child and incorporating into a terrarium. Or lining a shelf of plants with rocks and shells found on a nice walk with a friend. Also, I love incorporating bones and other objects that pay respect or tribute to that once living thing.

(Image credit: Cody Hamilton)

Thanks Natalie! You can read more about Natalie’s botanical philosophies on the Ceremony website. And you can see her full house tour → A “Country Modern” Home in the Texas Hill Country