You don’t have to be a self-proclaimed nature guru or #plantdaddy to enjoy the good vibes plants can bring to your living space. Leaves, stalks, vines, and flowers evoke a sense of calm and comfort wherever they are in your home, but especially in a bedroom, where they can hover above headboards or cascade down like canopies over cozy furniture.
While evidence regarding plants’ ability to purify and improve air quality has essentially been debunked (thanks a lot, NASA), there are still plenty of other proven benefits — both physical and psychological — that can enhance one’s wellbeing. Plus, they’re just pretty to look at.
It can be overwhelming to know where to start, so we tapped world-renowned horticulturist Puneet Sabharwal, co-owner of Hey Horti and author of “Happy Plant” for assistance. After all, he is the first to tell any green novice to take the plunge and invest in a leafy friend.
“Indoor plants are our direct connection with nature, and multiple studies have shown that plants have a positive impact on our mental health, ability to focus, and general well-being,” he says. “Plants are perfect for bedrooms as they create a sense of calm wherever they are introduced in indoor environments.”
A plant for every person
Picking the perfect plant is also a design investment into a living, breathing creature. Over time, it can change shape and color, which is important to consider when incorporating one into your bedroom decor. And you’ll want to make sure your furniture, color scheme, and other design elements align with the vibe and accentuate the beauty of your potential plant.
“Whether you want to add a vase of fresh-cut calla lilies to an entrance table, dried flowers like baby’s breath, or a living succulent, plants are always a great addition,” says NYC-based designer Michael Kramer of Michael Thomas & Co. “But selecting the right planters and decor choices is vital as well. There is no use bringing in a beautiful bird of paradise or monstera if you have an ugly plastic planter. Let your bedroom’s color and scale dictate your design direction, whether you decide to have one large plant or clusters of them.”
That said, not all plants are ideal in a home and not every space has to look like you’ve stepped into a scene from “Jumanji.” To help you cut through the brush and find the perfect plant for you, Sabharwal and Kramer gave us their recommendations on 13 of their favorite houseplants for beautiful bedroom decor. (The “why?” comes from Sabharwal and the design tips come from Kramer.)
Why This Plant? “Ferns are among the oldest living plants on earth, which should make them the hardiest, but in indoor environments they can be a tiny bit finicky as they require a good balance of moisture and light.” They’re also kid- and pet-friendly.
Design Tip: “Use ferns as fillers in larger pots to balance out larger plants like trees.”
Why This Plant? “It’s a waxy, abuse-tolerant plant that is great for beginners who don’t want to settle for the most-recommended snake plant. These plants come from the pepper family and are considered semi-succulent.” That said, they’re not great for those with kids and/or pets.
Design Tip: “Like ferns, this is another great filler plant. You can also use it to add dimension to a bookshelf or any other area that doesn’t have the best lighting.”
Why This Plant? “This is a patented philodendron plant that resembles the flag of Brazil. It is also a beautiful vining plant that’s great for beginners.” It is not kid- and pet-friendly.
Design Tip: “The long, dripping vines are what make this unique. They can be planted alone but I love to see them hanging on a higher shelf or cabinet for extra length and drama.”
Why This Plant?: “Originally from the Yunnan province of China, this plant was popularized by many amateur gardeners that started sharing cuttings. This plant propagates very easily.”
Design Tip: “The circular leaves work with other circular objects and accessories. Consider placing them on a round end table with other decorative orbs and vases.”
Why This Plant? “You’ll find this on every ‘best household plant’ list but it’s also one of the most confusingly sold plants. This is because they are typically classified as low-light, but the reality is that they’re just not getting enough sun and die very slowly. Since they hail from the desert, they love direct sun!” Unfortunately, they’re toxic to pets.
Design Tip: “These are minimal, strikingly graphic, and linear. Opting for a low, wide planter will contrast the snake plant’s slim height in a beautiful way.”
Why This Plant? “Calatheas are one of the most colorful varieties available for your home. They’re close relatives of the popular Maranta (prayer plant), and display the same pattern of plant movement known as nyctinasty.”
Design Tip: “Plants can add softness to a space, especially against harder materials like glass, metal, and wood. This plant is a great option in achieving that with its frilly texture.”
Why This Plant?: “Everyone needs at least one pothos in their home. They are one of the hardiest plants, also known as The Devil’s Ivy because of their resilience. These plants come in a few different gorgeous varieties and variegation — marble, green, or golden.”
Design Tip: “This is a great starter plant that can bring life into your home with its playful pattern. Add it to a very simple and clean bedroom and let it be the star.”
Why This Plant?: “In the wild, these plants can grow as tall as 50-100 feet. These may take a minute to adapt to a new environment, but you’ll have a plant that is native to the rainforests in Southeast Asia and South America.” They’re not pet- and kid-friendly.
Design Tip: “Rubber plants offer a great addition of color and texture. They have a more sturdy, masculine appearance, which would be striking against a heavily veined marble dresser or end table, or next to a headboard or accent chair with cracked leather.”
Why This Plant?: “These plants thrive in bright bedrooms and crave humid climates. Their brown fronds at the base are often confused as dead leaves, but they are the structure that provides this plant balance and safety — don’t remove them!”
Design Tip: “The Staghorn Fern is soft with a beautiful pale green, making it a perfectly serene option for a bedroom. Plant it in a textured stone vase for added contrast.”
Why This Plant?: “When you think about an indoor tree, this is probably the first plant that comes to mind. Common varieties have been cultivated since ancient times for their fruits, and they can grow large and tall in indoor environments.”
Design Tip: “We have seen these plants everywhere over recent years, but they are a classic for a reason. This is a great addition for any home that is in sore need of any type of greenery. Due to its size and width, the rippling green leaves will make a statement in any living space.”
Why This Plant?: “This is one of easiest plants to keep alive because they are succulents. They’re also closely related to aloe.”
Design Tip: “It’s spiky and cute, however, this should be used as filler in a larger pot or in a cluster of vases as part of a collection. If displayed alone, it may get lost in the space.”
Why This Plant?: “The Hoya Carnosa is a classic beauty that you may have seen at a grandparent’s house. They’re a bit of a collector’s plant and bloom perfectly geometrical flowers that are often called ‘porcelain flowers.’”
Design Tip: “This reads as more of an art piece than a houseplant. It’s sculptural and special and would fare well as an individual plant placed in a just-as-interesting-looking vase.”
Why This Plant?: “This plant is another great way to add a pop of color to your collection. It’s also semi-succulent, meaning it can handle a bit of neglect and drought for first-time plant owners.”
Design Tip: “Place this in a sleep space with tones of pink or orange to pull out the charming colors on the plant’s edges. Make it even bolder by planting it in a simple white pot.”
The benefits of bedroom plants
While that aforementioned NASA-backed study ruled out the idea that houseplants can improve air quality, you can still enjoy the benefits of:
- Boosting your mood and reducing stress: Studies like this one have shown that simply keeping a single plant on a desk or in a corner can lessen anxiety. This is a particularly great addition to the bedroom when you are attempting to lower your blood pressure and not induce nightmares as you sleep.
- Enhancing creativity: Who knew the bedroom could bring some creative inspiration? Plants have been shown to activate the right side of the brain, as well as foster an environment of productivity.
- Healing from an illness quicker: If you’ve caught a cold, the flu, or even COVID, chances are likely that you’ll be spending a few days recovering in bed. Research has shown that patients in hospitals surrounded by plants healed quicker. Some plants can also bring in humidity, which helps to alleviate symptoms of decongestion.
The root of it all
Picking a plant for your bedroom is as personal of a decision as choosing a mattress or picking a paint color. Some rooms can handle larger plants and succulents that require more sunlight, while other rooms can accommodate harder-to-kill varieties that flourish in smaller, dark spaces.
No matter the maintenance or level of upkeep, the “best plant” is the one that is most conducive to your particular bedroom layout, style, and green thumb (or willingness to develop one). There is no wrong choice, but be-leaf us when we say that a plant will bring years of added joy and psychological benefits that no silk, plastic, or other synthetic material will ever be able to provide.