Think you can never go wrong adding plants to your home? Wrong! While greenery is generally a good idea, houseplants aren’t necessarily no-fail decor since certain foliage can go in—and out of—style.
So which houseplants look dated today? To help you separate the wheat from the chaff, here are some plants that will make your home look so last year, along with some fresh alternatives.
1. Fiddle-leaf fig
“The fiddle-leaf fig will always be a classic plant choice; however, it has been seen, and seen and seen again. A bit ho-hum on the excitement scale,” explains Decorist Elite designer Lauren Martin. “It’s come to be known as a designer’s go-to—guilty as charged!—although with so many options, we recommend go for the gold and choose something new.”
A fresh alternative: Ficus triangularis (shown above).
“Hands-down my favorite indoor tree is the Ficus triangularis,” Martin says. “It has small triangular, almost heart-shaped leaves, which are softer-looking compared with the extra-large leaves of the fiddle leaf. This species is incredibly hardy, rather quick-growing, easy to care for, and very playful-looking—I smile every time I see one.”
Cacti, classic succulents, have been all the rage in the recent past. But these prickly plants are now passé.
“Cacti have been a wildly popular trend for the past few years,” Martin says. But no more, in part because it’s not so family- or pet-friendly.
“Our clients are most often young families with pets and children,” she explains. “A cactus is not the best for little curious hands and paws.”
A fresh alternative: Fabien stump.
“2020 is shifting more toward comfort, intimacy, and softness,” Martin says, and this plant delivers on all fronts.
3. Banana-leaf palm
“While the native oversized island plant is big, bold, and beautiful, it’s feeling a bit more seasonal and summery than a year-round other variety,” Martin explains. “It also harkens a more bohemian or glam (Hollywood Regency) style, which may not be fitting with all home styles.”
A fresh alternative: Natal mahogany.
“This plant is lighter-looking, less tropical or bohemian-inspired, and has a little European flair we always love—elegant, unfussy, and sophisticated without trying too hard,” Martin says.
“Monstera plants have been trending for the past year or two in conjunction with the tropical, bohemian style,” Martin says. “While a very cool plant species, I believe they’ve been a bit overused and not always in keeping with the architectural style of a home. For example, if you live in a traditional Southern-style home in South Carolina or a modern farmhouse in Texas, an overtly big, leafy, bright-green tropical plant feels disconnected from the natural bones of the home.”
“While live potted orchids do last quite a while, their look is more traditional and formal,” Martin says. “In 2020 we’ll be seeing a big shift toward softer, less structured plant life indoors.”
A fresh alternative: Try more organic, architectural branches, which can be store-bought or clipped from trees in the wild.
“These can last up to a month in your home,” Martin says. “Alternatively more unusual-looking potted plants like a blue star fern always add interest and serve as a conversation piece. Even a few stems of a lesser ‘trendy’ plant or flower can breathe new life into a space while offering a more personalized, unique look.”
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