Houseplants: The green-fingered aesthetic reshaping interiors

Last Modified 28 June 2024  |  
First Added 28 June 2024

Houseplants are an opportunity to bring nature into the home and infuse your most personal space with an ambience of verdant luxury. They purify the air you breathe, add a lush splash of colour, and can even improve your mental and physical wellbeing. In our latest survey, we’re uncovering the ways in which the UK likes to use houseplants to accentuate and accessorise their home decor. 

How many houseplants do people own?

The average British person has 6.5 houseplants in their home, with the highest percentage in our survey (32%) owning between 3 and 5. However, for the true green thumbs among us this is hardly enough – 1 in 20 of the population claim to have over 20 houseplants.

Why do people decorate with houseplants?

There is a Japanese practice known as shinrin-yoku, also known as ‘forest bathing,’ that suggests spending time in nature can have multiple benefits for the body and mind. The respondents of our survey certainly seem to agree, with 54% of people (in particular, 36% of 18-24 year olds) adding houseplants to their decor to promote wellbeing and relaxation, and 47% wanting to incorporate nature into their home. 

For admirers of the popular organic architecture and interior design, which promotes harmony between human living spaces and the natural world, this makes perfect sense; 38% of respondents agree that their plants serve an aesthetic purpose in their home. But, looking deeper than elegance and visual appeal, a quarter of houseplant keepers say that their main reason for having plants is to boost their mood. An impressive 1 in 3 25-34 year olds feel this way about their plants.

When considering the other appealing properties of houseplants, men seem more inclined than women to use greenery to enhance their skills; 11% of men use plants to boost creativity compared to only 5% of women. Similarly, in regards to productivity, 10% of men use plants to their advantage compared to 2% of women. Thriving plants present the suggestion that you too can thrive in this space, promoting a luscious ambience of abundance and joy.

  1. Where do people keep their houseplants?

There are multiple factors that may sway decision-making when it comes to the placement of plants. Natural light, humidity, and even surface space will all play a part in deciding where your plants are more likely to thrive. The living room is the most popular choice, with 50% of survey respondents claiming to keep plants there. The kitchen, while the next most popular choice, sees a dramatic fall to 23%. 

  1. When it comes to the bedroom, 5% of people claim to keep their plants in their sleeping quarters – an excellent decision for health and sleep quality. Not only do plants improve air quality by absorbing CO2 and releasing oxygen, plants also cool the overall temperature of a room –essential for restful sleep on balmy summer nights.

Of all respondents, it is 18-24 year olds who are more likely to desire a serene bedroom oasis than older generations, with 1 in 4 (25%) choosing to keep their plants in their perfect bedroom sanctuaries

  1. How much have people spent on their houseplant collections?

Houseplants have many origins, with some being more exotic in nature than others. While 10% of people claim to have not spent any money at all on their plant collections, of the more extravagant collectors, 2% of Gen Z have houseplant collections worth over £500. Of those spending between £301-£500, there were double the number of men (4%) than women (2%). 

Where do people gather their inspiration? 

When deciding how to decorate with houseplants, more than a quarter of people (27%) turn to friends and family, taking inspiration from their immediate surroundings. While the majority of respondents don’t feel the need to search for inspiration at all (35%), those that do often turn to social media, using Instagram (16%), Pinterest (12%), and TikTok (8%) to seek out the exquisite ambience they wish to recreate.

Though Instagram remains the most popular platform overall - particularly for those aged 18-34 - a quarter of Gen Z plant keepers (25%) find their inspiration on TikTok. Men are more than twice as likely than women to look for inspiration there; 12% of men cite it as a source compared to just 5% of women.

When searching for ideas in other media, 1 in 5 (19%) 25-34 year olds say that they actively look for houseplant inspiration in print magazines. Again, men are more likely to find inspiration this way, with 15% of men and only 7% of women leafing through glossy pages in search of ideas.

  1. Where is the most popular place to display houseplants? 

Having the right bedside table can elevate your entire bedroom set, and must balance aesthetic appeal with the practicalities of holding the things we need closest to us in the night. A plant is the perfect way to draw your eye to a piece of furniture you’re particularly proud of – and interestingly, men are more inclined to agree, with 4% of men choosing this spot for their houseplants compared to 1% of women.

What are the UK’s favourite houseplants? While cacti, peace lilies and spider plants are all known for being exceptionally adaptable, the orchid, which comes in at number one, is notoriously sensitive. These beautiful exotic flowers come in many varieties and offer an eye-catching silhouette that many find attractive and energising.

What are the UK’s favourite houseplants?

While cacti, peace lilies and spider plants are all known for being exceptionally adaptable, the orchid, which comes in at number one, is notoriously sensitive. These beautiful exotic flowers come in many varieties and offer an eye-catching silhouette that many find attractive and energising.

The most popular houseplants by city

Behind the scenes with houseplants

What can our relationships with our houseplants tell us about ourselves? For one thing, 1 in 10 (11%) people (and 31% of Gen Z) value their houseplants the same way they would a pet. It makes sense then that 1 in 5 (18%) arrange care for their house plants while on holiday – men are more likely (20%) to do this than women (16%).

We have seen that houseplants can be tasked with improving wellbeing – but some people seem to go as far as using their plants for comfort and solace, with 1 in 10 (13%) people saying they talk to their houseplants. Younger generations, particularly 25-34 year olds, are more likely to talk to their plants than those older, with 1 in 5 (19%) claiming to do so. That’s nearly double those age 55 and over who speak to theirs (10%). When addressing their plants, 7% of people will do so by the name they have given them. Again, it is 25-34 year olds who do this most often (17%).

Inspiration for plant names can come from lots of places – authors and book characters are a popular source. An impressive 21% of 24-34 year olds name their houseplants after their favourite authors. The names of book characters are first choice for 17% of 18-24 year olds and 22% of 25-34 year olds – perhaps suggesting a connection between decorating your space with plants and enjoying the act of curling up in a reading nook with a good book. Film characters and celebrities also prove to be a good source of names for 25-34 year olds, with 19% opting for Hollywood namesakes.

But anthropomorphising your plants doesn’t necessarily make you a better plant parent. 63% of people regularly forget to water their houseplants – something that is more likely to happen if you’re between the ages of 25 and 44, where 2 in 3 (75%) in this age group people frequently forget this task.

Taking pride in your plants is increasingly common – 4% of people host Instagram accounts dedicated to their plants – men (8%) are more likely to do so than women (1%). 

The best plants to improve sleep and wellbeing

Here are Feather & Black’s favourite plants for enhancing the rejuvenating harmony of your bedroom.

1.    Snake plants - known to produce high levels of oxygen, these plants improve air quality and promote restful sleep.
2.   Lavender – famous for its relaxing and anxiety-relieving smell; if your bedroom is south-facing, lavender will thrive on a wawindowsill.
3.    Spider plants - particularly purifying, low maintenance, and non-toxic for pets, spider plants are effortlessly elegant.
4.    English ivy – an easy-growing trailing vine that can draw depth and dimension into a room while detoxifying the air at the same time.
5.    Rubber plants – natural humidifiers that thrive even in low light, rubber plants can add an abundance of lushness to any space.

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