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Big is beautiful when it comes to home and office plants. In fact, huge house plants create an ambience that is stronger and more powerful than any single contributor when it comes to interior design. Soft furnishings, furniture and the latest gadgets are desirable (for some), but house plants take the biscuit when it comes to bringing a space alive. Take away the house plants and this living room (below) would look like a very dull space.
The biophilia hypothosis
Because of something called biophilia, we human beasts are innately drawn to plants and other natural forms of life, such as this Nephrolepis indoor fern, pictured below. Teamed with a white pot, this would look cool on a shelf or against a plain wall.
Given a room containing an assortment of office seating, equipment and plants, set amongst lots of space, people tend to gravitate towards the greenery. They feel protected, much like waiting under a tree rather than in the open air on an empty street. In a waiting room (think dental surgery) the seats positioned closest to plants are chosen first by the nervously waiting patients. Stick a few large plant specimens in a boring room and they spring into life like stage performers. They don't even need to be huge plants in order to be effective, but the large ones add a sense of drama. Not sure which plants to choose? Have a look at these helpful tips.
Plants add a natural, earthy ambience to homes and offices
How do you know where to place plants indoors? Particularly huge house plants. Heres a few pointers:
Use your natural intuition: we all have this but it can be under-used. Look around you and see where your eye would favour a living piece of green art.
Use odd-number multiples of plants such as the succulents in the picture below. Once 'tuned in', you'll realise that plants look better in multiples. And when you think of more than one, always work in odd numbers. It's all about triangles, the Golden Mean and balance. Three or five house plants work very well. Three large specimens placed in a triangular formation in a large room, or five small plants cascading from shelves give a delightful, artistic presence.
Office plants can add a luxurious touch of 'home' to even the smallest space. They are particularly valuable positioned around electrical equipment as they absorb static electricity and toxins. Plantw will work hard to improve the air. If you have chosen small plants, they look much better as a repeating pattern or in groups to boost their presence. Huge house plants look wonderful in large spaces as the scale of the place is greatly enhanced by soft plant shapes.
Place large specimens in strategic places in order to achieve the greatest impact. For example, a green structural form next to an entrance gives the impression of both welcome and protection. Plants placed next to lift entrances and stairwells act as sentries and marker posts. Rounding the corners and softening the angles. Soften corners with plants. Curvaceous shapes are more relaxing than angular: therefore plants can be used to hide corners and angles, spreading their shape across one face of a wall to another.
Covering the unwanted: Who loves seeing wires and cables draped across carpets and along walls? Few people would choose to look at ugly things. You might have blemishes in your plasterwork or paint, an unsightly crack in the wall or a chip in your paintwork. Hide the unpleasant features with plants and you'll forget they ever existed.
The Tradescantia in its unusual container, together with the stylish paintwork on the walls (above) makes an excellent job of disguising uneven surfaces.
Colour palettes are enhanced by plants
Enhance your colour palette in a subtle manner. If you've chosen a neutrally-toned theme, some greenery will make a dynamic contrast in a way that delivers great style. Conversely, if your colour scheme is bold and bright, a house plant will bring it down to earth with some more natural tones.
The cost of bringing your interior design to life
A plant is portable and ever-changing. It costs just a fraction of the price of a new wall or a permanent architectural feature. Yet a group of plants can take the place of a wall or at least a screen, and they possess a great form which could be considered 'architectural'. They can also be taken with you if you move house or offices.
Teamed with stylish pots, plants can complement the surroundings in a highly effective manner. They can be used to introduce texture, colour and pattern, and of course they have the most amazing health-improving benefits too. You only need refer to the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) list of air-cleaning plants to be able to admire the credentials of some of our best-loved varieties.
Here's six big plants that are readily available
The weeping fig has many small, shimmering leaves which diffuse the light and create interesting shadows. Such an easy-to-care for plant, it comes in both green and variegated forms.
The popular fiddle-leaf fig with its large leaves that look like violins is a much sought-after house plant. Although not the easiest to please indoors, once it's found the right spot it will eventually grow into a tree-like form with a bare lower stem. Potentially this can be a huge house plant that is architecturally pleasing and has great presence (pictured below).
Howea forsteriana The Kentia or 'paradise' palm (pictured below) is an indoor palm with a graceful, spreading habit. It's a fine plant for a room with indirect, medium or low light. Palms always add a touch of luxury and conjure up images of tropical beaches. What's not to love? The Kentia indoor palm is a great plant for a nice wide space as it gradually settles into a graceful, spreading shape.
Dracaena, or dragon trees come in many different forms and colours including variegated, golden and green. These tree-like beauties are so easy to care for and they look highly structural when grown as a multi-stem example. Dracaena house plants have distinctive strap-like leaves and a woody straight stem. They are good air-filtering plants that are capable of removing many toxins from the indoor environment.
Monstera cheese plants (pictured below), are actually rainforest climbers which can easily grow to more than 6m tall in the wild. Indoors it can be encouraged to reach up to 300cms tall, or so. The mature leaves with their distinctive holes, measure up to 65cms across. It doesn't take very long for a cheese plant to grow into a huge house plant, but it can be pruned smaller if it gets a bit unruly.
Scindapsus, or 'devil's ivy' climbing plants with green or variegated leaves (pictured below) can climb up moss poles or even up the bannisters. These can cope with most positions in a home or office. Scindapsus can put up with just about anything apart from drowning in too much water!