Q&A Day: Artificial plants as decor

I’d love to receive questions from readers about any of the posts on this blog or other subjects I might be able to cover. You can always pose questions in the comments section of each post, or send me an email at urbandomesticity[at]gmail[dot]com.

This question was posed in the comment section of my post Why did this plant die?

What are your thoughts on artificial plants in decor? If they are very, very good quality? (as in cannot tell the difference until you get very close).

First, I’d just like to offer the disclaimer that just because a particular choice might not work for one person or might not work for me, that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right choice for your home or your decor. I certainly have a certain aesthetic. It’s not the best out there, it’s just what I like and what I write about.

That said, I’m not a fan of artificial plants for my own home. I think part of what’s nice about having plants is enjoying a bit of nature inside. It’s also satisfying to nurture a living thing and house plants improve indoor air quality. An artificial plant doesn’t do any of those things, so it’s hard for me to see the point. I also find that often they just get dusty and dated looking right away. I  tend to like to keep “stuff” and knickknacks to a minimum, and a silk plant would just feel like clutter to me.

Now, I can understand why someone might be drawn to using an artificial plant. Perhaps you’d like some greenery and foliage in a spot that is not conducive to plant life. Maybe that empty spot just needs something, and a plant seems as good as anything else. I can definitely see how an artificial plant might soften a nook, or bring some needed interest to an otherwise barren spot. Instead of choosing a fake plant, consider some alternatives.

The first alternative I thought of is an arrangement of greenery in a vase. This has a similar shelf life to fresh flowers, possibly longer. The arrangement doesn’t need anything in particular in terms of sunlight or care. You could clip greens from your yard, from other houseplants, or purchase greens in the floral section of your grocery store.

Photo by Good Housekeeping.

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Photo and products by West Elm

You could also get a similarly organic feel from a bowl of moss balls.

Photo by Good Housekeeping

Another alternative is to choose decor items with botanical inspired materials or design elements, such as this teak wood sculpture or metal bowl.

Photo and product by West Elm

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Photo and product by Crate and Barrel

Even a botanical print hung on the wall might be all that you need to bring some greenery into your space.

Photo and product by Target

If you still feel that you really want an artificial plant, check out these potted succulents by Crate and Barrel. When I saw them in the store, I honestly could not tell they weren’t real. And maybe you could easily wipe them with a wet cloth once a week to prevent the tell-tale sign of a fake plant: dust.

Photo and products by Crate and Barrel

But what about you? Do you use and enjoy artificial plants in your decor? Why or why not?

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2 Responses to Q&A Day: Artificial plants as decor

  1. Erin Donley says:

    Loved this one Lindsay… been debating how I feel about artificial plants in my house. Real plants simply FEEL better to me. I really liked these ideas from you. Cutting greens from the yard right now for my cute orange glass vase!

    • Lindsay says:

      Thanks! The funny thing about this post, is that I can barely keep houseplants alive… yet I still prefer real to artificial.

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