Indoor plants are experiencing a return in popularity after many years of designers eschewing them. It makes sense that designers would distance themselves after decades of over-use and over-exposure: fern bars and restaurants, macrame holders for hanging plants, and corn plants in every waiting room. But now, they are reappearing, and as accents, they provide life to designs. 

Photos by Scot Zimmerman

Personally, I’m pleased. We have just enjoyed a holiday season with indoor greenery and trees, and we, like many of you, stripped them away with the new year. And while the layer of snow is gorgeous and promising for a better water year, there is not much green outdoors to lift my spirits. 

And that’s just what living plants and intense green does for me—the connection to the living world and vivid greens elevate how I feel. The photo above features an employee dining space in the Adobe headquarters, architecture by WRNS Architects, San Francisco, and built by Okland Construction, Salt Lake City. 

Photos by Scot Zimmerman

There is something very basic about caring for living plants that’s pleasing to me. The connection is similar to having a pet, and sometimes I question whether humans evolved having plants and animals in their care and the need to caretake runs very deep in many of us. Kitchen design by K Rocke Design, Salt Lake City (Kristen Rocke).

Photos by Scot Zimmerman

Like our snowy scenes out the window, this beach house in Southern California looks out to sea and sand without a plant to be seen. The solution for adding life and vitality was to fill it with indoor palms and tropical plants. (Steven Ehrlich, FAIA, architect)

Photos by Scot Zimmerman

I would say that this series of floor-to-ceiling living wall panels in the entry is highly contemporary and decidedly not retro seventies! The wooden ceiling provides additional natural warmth to the design. (Bardessono Hotel and Spa, Yountville, Napa Valley, CA)

Photos by Scot Zimmerman

The living ceiling of hanging plants, like the living wall panels shown above, are vividly contemporary in design. Featured in the Salt Lake Valley Health Catalyst offices built by Okland Construction. 

Photos by Scot Zimmerman

While we are thinking snow this January, another interesting way to think of plants is how in warmer seasons they serve to transition color from the exterior to the interior. The tall teal vase unites the colors of the furnishings and plants transition from the blooms outdoors. As accessories, plants are wonderful for screening and adding visual separation, which is useful in open plans. Park City home designed by K Rocke. 

Photos by Scot Zimmerman

While I have been showing plants in some interesting contexts, I didn’t want to overlook traditional placement, such as this tabletop in the Park City home shown previously by K Rocke Design. 

It’s the first post in the new year, and I want to wish you all the best for 2023. Cheers!

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