How to Arrange Plants in a Living Room to Bring the Space to Life

Greenery and plants arranged in a living room

The Spruce / Jason Donnelly

What’s a well-designed living room without some strategically placed plants as part of the mix? Curating a collection of lounge plants can boost your mood and create a relaxing vibe.

Even if your collection doesn’t amount to a plant room jungle with hundreds of species, it pays to arrange the ones you have so they fit with the aesthetic and functionality of your living room. You want the space to look intentional and cohesive rather than cluttered and discordant.

Check out these practical tips for how to arrange plants in a living room to bring the space to life.

Keep in Clusters (“the Rule of Three”)

A white living room full of plants with a dog sleeping on the floor

Leaf and Lola / Instagram

Ask any serious indoor plant enthusiast what their number one tip is for arranging multiple plants in a space, and they’ll likely tell you about “the rule of three.” Individual plants tend to look a tad sparse, and those grouped in even numbers can look too formal and staged. Grouping houseplants in threes or other odd numbers makes a strong, natural-looking statement and adds a sense of harmony.

Select plants of differing heights for a stronger impact and look for a uniting element to promote a natural vibe. And steer clear of grouping plants with the same textures, shapes, and colors; otherwise, they’ll blend into one another.

Grouping plants with similar care requirements also makes sense, especially if they love humidity. Moisture levels rise when plants sit closely together, so your lush mini jungle stands a better chance of thriving.

Experiment With Texture, Size, and Shape

A bohemian style chic living room with a variety of plants around a fireplace

JCdesign1.1 / Instagram

It’s easy to overlook the importance of textures in interior design, and plants are a perfect way to stop a room from becoming lackluster and one-dimensional. Different foliage can add depth, interest, and balance to a living room.

You might want to try plants with simple foliage in boho-style living rooms where there’s already lots of texture through layered rugs, blankets, and natural material — they’re great for balancing things out. In living rooms with minimalist decor, elaborate plants can be a strong focal point. Cacti, ferns, and monsteras are fantastic multidimensional examples.

Fine, feathery foliage (like that of the asparagus fern) doesn’t have the same visual weight as plant leaves that are solid and thick, so up the number in your collection for greater impact.

And, again, don’t forget the rule of three  putting together an odd number of plants with contrasting textures creates a more dynamic display.

Consider Color

Colorful blue living room with various plants around the room

Casa Watkins Living / Instagram

Stay away from going all matchy-matchy with the plants and pots spread across your living room. Selecting varying shades adds interest and a natural vibe.

There are lots of striking hues of green foliage to choose from, and color doesn’t just have to come from seasonal blooms. For example, you can go for red-leaved caladiums, purple-leaved love plants, or a species with interesting variegation. Shades that contrast with the main color of the living room walls work well.

If you’re applying the rule of three, select different hues for each of the plants you group together.

Create Leading Lines

White living room with tall ceilings and a variety of plants

JCdesign1.1 / Instagram

Think about the growth habits of the plants you choose and where they naturally lead the eye in your living room. Consider adding trailing or vining plants in hanging baskets or cascading down from shelves to lift the eye. It’s the perfect trick for making a small living room look bigger.

Tall plants with erect foliage can lead the eye upwards. Position them under your favorite piece of wall art or design feature to draw attention to it. Just make sure there’s a decent gap between the two, so they aren’t competing aesthetically.

Fill the Floor

Boho living room with a large selection of plants

Mocha Girl Place / Instagram

You don’t just have to house your plants on living room coffee tables, mantelpiece shelves, or in hanging baskets. Fill the floor with tall plants or smaller ones on plant stands.

A tall fiddle leaf fig or Monstera deliciosa is perfect for occupying the dead space in an awkward corner next to your sofa or a window. They’re also great natural room dividers.

Position the plants so they aren’t covering furniture or other decorative accents.

Select Species that Suit the Space

Think about how much light each part of the living room is getting and what direction the windows are facing before selecting the plants to populate those spaces.

For example, a small air-conditioned living room with floor-to-ceiling windows isn’t going to be the best home for a shade and moisture-loving Boston fern. If you’ve got a low-light corner of your lounge, pop the plant there alongside a couple of other plants (the rule of three again) with similar light requirements.