5 Ways to Bring The Outdoors In, According to These Plant-Focused Projects

published Jan 26, 2023
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Credit: Carrie Kline

It’s really no wonder why the U.S. experienced a “houseplant boom” in recent years. Sixty-six percent of Americans have at least one houseplant, and many people who have a collection happily referring to themselves as plant parents.

Plants can be a simple, cost-effective way to enhance a home, especially when you’re renting or have limitations that would require more permanent changes. While it’s one thing to fall in love with an adorable plant at a shop or while strolling through your local farmers market, it’s another to keep it alive as a thriving detail of your design.

But rest easy: If you’re a new plant parent or even a seasoned pro, these five projects will show you unique ways to embrace plants as an enduring trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon. 

A $400 Revamp Turns a Bland Powder Room into a Chic Little Oasis

Momina Zahid’s bathroom was tired and bland, which is typical of builder-grade homes. As part of her efforts to update the room, she added black accents that stood out against the cement walls. And to round out the space, she added a trellis to the ceiling and draped faux greenery from it. “The combination of different materials in there like wood, greenery, and cement make it look very organic,” Zahid said. Another perk? The trellis hides an air duct. 

A Yellow Meditation Space Becomes a Dramatic, Mid-Century Dining Room

When Becky England wanted to reutilize her mediation space as a dining room, she painted the walls black and upgraded the dated lighting. To soften the space, she added plants around the room’s bay window. “I’ve added lots of plants in the large windows and a few personal touches, like a brass shelf that holds our collection of vintage barware and a personalized box set of gold vintage flatware that we pull out on special occasions to feel fancy,” England said. The combination elevates the space far beyond its humble beginnings.

Credit: Michael Schwebel
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A Bright, Botanical Redo Modernizes a Dim Hallway

At Michael Schwebel’s rowhouse, a long hallway that was “eerily quiet and drab even during a bright day” served as a central artery of the space. After adding a skylight to provide much needed light, Schwebel added greenery, including a plant wall. “We love the bright sun and plants and tropical jungle alleyway feeling walking to the bedroom or the office,” Schwebel said. “My favorite is around noon each day. If I happen to be home, I walk through this lit-up vault draped with vines and plants and green.”

A $500 Redo Turns This All-Beige Bathroom into a Dramatic, Plant-Filled Escape

There was no personality in Carrie Kline’s bathroom, and that had to change.“I pictured transforming this bathroom into an old-world-style spa,” she said. “I wanted the room to feel earthy, organic, calm, quiet, and still. I wanted a space to remind me to slow down and take a breath of fresh air. To just be.” One thing that was missing? Plants. She added many around her bathtub to achieve just the earthy, organic feel she was after.

A Bland Dining Room Gets Overhauled With a Transformative Mural

In the case of Katherine Thewlis (@hausmatter) and her dining room, sometimes the addition of plants into a design doesn’t have to be literal — even figurative ones can make a lasting impact. Her original space was nothing but a white box, so she and her husband Andy went about giving it some personality. By painting the walls a bold shade of red-wine-colored paint, and adding in panels of avian-themed wallpaper, the dining room looks like a totally different space. The birds fly around in a mural that includes verdant trees, creating an entire motif that doesn’t require watering.