Bringing natural elements indoors can help to improve the happiness and health of workers throughout the work day, whether at home or in an office workspace.
For flexible workspace and coworking operators that have invested heavily in the interior design and feel of their spaces, the same level of care in selecting indoor plants should apply.
From rustic to mid century modern to traditional office interiors, here are some of the best plants to complement your workplace style.
There is little debate about the benefits of having plants and greenery around us in our daily lives, including in our workspaces. Bringing natural elements indoors can help to improve the happiness and health of workers throughout the work day, whether at home or in an office workspace.
Plants promote stress reduction and decrease health complaints, including when we are able to actively interact with them through touch and scent. Additionally, having the color green in a workspace, even in brief glimpses like with plants, has been shown to enhance creativity and performance. Its abundance in nature supports a feeling of balance, so it can be helpful where people spend long hours.
The challenge, especially for those designing and managing workspaces, is in choosing which indoor plants to add to their offices. For flexible workspace and coworking operators that have invested heavily in the interior design and feel of their spaces, the same level of care in selecting indoor plants should apply.
From rustic to mid century modern to traditional office interiors, here are some of the best plants to complement your workplace style:
Mid Century Modern
A significant design movement from the middle of the 20th century and very popular today, Mid-century modern (MCM) emphasizes clean lines, organic geometry, and functionality.
While the Fiddle Leaf Fig may be one of the most popular choices for MCM decor, it is also tricky to care for, and thus not ideal as an office addition. Instead, try these easier to care for, but equally striking choices:
The Dragon Tree – Also known as Dracaena marginata, this small tree is slow growing, does well in indirect sunlight, and brings great visual interest with its red-edged sword like green leaves.
Snake Plant – Known as one of the lowest maintenance indoor plants, snake plant has stiff, architectural leaves, sometimes with yellow banding, that complement the simple lines of MCM furniture.
Detailed dark woodwork, comfortable seating, and sturdy furniture pieces are all markers of a traditional space. Classic indoor plants with dense foliage are well suited for these cozy environments.
English Ivy – As traditional as it gets, ivy is another easy to care for indoor plant that keeps its deep green leaves year round. Try this plant in a hanging basket, or draped and cascading down from the top of an ornately carved bookcase.
Ficus – Given a warm corner with adequate, but not direct sunlight, a ficus tree will make a stately addition to the office. It’s a good thing that traditional-style heavy furniture isn’t moved around too often, however, as ficus don’t like being moved. They often respond to stress by dropping their leaves.
Bohemian or boho style, is all about “more is more”. These spaces are filled with colorful fabrics, lots of textures, and interesting artistic touches to create a comfortable and creative space.
As far as plants for boho style go, the more jungle-like the collection, the better. To really make your plant collection fit this style, don’t forget lots of visually interesting pots & planters.
Hanging plants – As long as they are placed where they can still be reached by office staff for watering, hanging plants really make an office feel like a lush, eclectic jungle. To take this trend to the next level, try a few macrame plant hangers.
Cacti – Nothing quite says texture like a cactus, although it may not be a texture you’ll want those in the office to interact with. However, small cacti make excellent desk plants as they need very little water and are exceedingly robust.
This charming style is all about natural, rustic touches balanced with comfort and antique beauty. Soothing hues, soft colors, and toile are key features of this interior design trend.
To complement the garden inspired interior, choose small, fragrant planted herbs in multiples or groups or sculptural topiaries.
Myrtle Topiaries – Charming spheres of myrtle can add an artistic element to your indoor plant arrangements. Larger topiaries can be used as floor groupings or smaller ones for counters or tabletops. Keep up consistent watering and consider keeping a spray bottle nearby for misting to prevent the leaves from drying out.
Herbs (Lavender) – The quintessential French countryside herb, lavender not only is a lovely addition to an interior space, its fragrance can’t be beat. Try placing groupings of smaller potted herbs with lavender on a tabletop where people can walk by and enjoy the scent.
If your workspace is inspired by fresh sea air and ocean waves, your plants can help achieve true beach vibes. Coastal interior design focuses on neutral, light tones, open and airy spaces, and a relaxed layout.
Plants for coastal design can also benefit from groupings of three with varying heights, but matching pots in neutral whites, beige, or natural materials like baskets. For
Monstera – A striking indoor favorite, the Monstera’s large, lush leaves will be a show stopping focal point of any room.
Kentia Palm – Nothing quite says a beachy vibe like a palm. While there are many types of palm of varying sizes that would do well for coastal design, the Kentia Palm is a good choice as it is tolerant of office conditions that are lower light and cool.
A favorite of tech giants and design firms alike, the modern minimalist office is inspired by ultra-tidy spaces meant to allow for maximum creativity and productivity. Clean lines, muted tones, and lots of symmetry in furnishings and finishes can be balanced with striking, but simple indoor plants. Keep the pots and planters consistent, and minimalist in whites, blacks, or greys to keep focus on the plants.
Spider Plant – Another of the best low maintenance indoor plants, the spider plant can do well in bright light, but also in semi-shady locations.
Bird of Paradise – Tall and stately, with large symmetrical leaves, the Strelitzia Nicolai is a perfect choice to fill high ceilinged, well-lit spaces.
For a major impact, you can also look to a living wall installation, which can work well for many different styles, and packs an artistic (and biophilic) punch.
No matter the style of your office space, plants can play a pivotal role in making it the best environment for the health and productivity of those that work there. So, don’t forget to include them as part of your overall design strategy.
Jamie Orr, PhD is the cofounder of Jellyswitch, enabling the best possible experience for your flexible workspace. She also co-founded Cowork Tahoe, situated on the shores of beautiful Lake Tahoe. When not helping grow the flexible workspace movement, she is likely offering unsolicited science fun facts or chasing her two daughters on the mountain trails.