Style Guide: How to Decorate with Plants for that Urban Jungle Look

Living in a city often means having minimal access to outdoor spaces; most local homeowners certainly don’t have a garden right around the corner. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t get our own fill of nature—by bringing the outdoors in! If you love the look of this contemporary style, read on for our top urban jungle ideas and plant-infused inspiration.

Lively work areas

squarerooms black retro typewriter on a unique wooden desk, a mid-century modern chair and a renovated bookcase in a hipster home office interior wood scandi cosy plants

A green chair cushion and other subtle green elements can help to draw out the colour of your plants and make them pop more.

Whether you work from home full-time or just temporarily, it’s good practice to decorate your desk and make working from home as pleasant as possible. If space allows it, place a few small planters on your desk to keep the atmosphere lively and green as you go about your workday.

squarerooms Ferm Living office home study desk white modern contemporary apartment flat living room window plants indoor garden

Image courtesy of Ferm Living.

Alternatively, infuse your home office with greenery by hanging plants from nearby shelves, using the windowsills or even placing them on the floor if you have enough square footage.

Earthy kitchens

squarerooms Monoloft kitchen wood table black fridge modern contemporary rustic design plants

Exposed lightbulbs can add an industrial touch to the kitchen to make the room look a little more raw and overgrown. Design by Monoloft.

Having a plant-filled kitchen doesn’t mean that you need every other element in the room to be natural and earthy too, but it’s definitely an option. Pair your plants with wooden countertops and reclaimed shelving for that rustic look.

squarerooms HK Living kitchen wood scandi plants indoor garden

Hanging planters are a great space-saving option in smaller kitchens. Design by HK Living.

If you prefer taking the modern route, you’re in luck—plants go well with almost any colour palette and material. Just make sure to pay close attention to the pots and planters you choose, as those are the ones that can end up clashing with the surroundings.

Relaxing bedrooms

squarerooms Spacejoy Unsplash bedroom blue grey cosy orange pillows sheets white natural light rattan ceiling pendant lamp

Botanical artwork can help to fill the spaces where plants would be difficult to maintain, such as right above the bed. Image courtesy of Spacejoy/Unsplash.

Like bathrooms, bedrooms are spaces of relaxation and rest. Even if you’re not aiming for the urban jungle look, you’ll want to dot your bedroom with a few plants to make the space cosy and improve the air quality.

squarerooms SOJAO bedroom grey white green plant tree

A plant in front of the bedroom window can help to dim the harsh sunlight in the morning and wake you up with pleasant shadows. Image courtesy of SOJAO.

While most plants are fine for the bedroom and your choice should ultimately depend on your personal preference, try to stay away from plants with a strong scent, as they can end up giving you a headache when you’re exposed to them all night long.

Balcony gardens

squarerooms Design Zage living room white couch red pink blanket wood beams ceiling grey floor minimalist contemporary

Design by Design Zage.

The most straightforward place to grow plants and do some gardening in urban flats is right by a large window. Indoor balconies are often the only spaces in HDB flats and condos that will provide indoor plants with enough sunlight to keep them alive and growing.

Plus, the light filtering through the leaves makes for some exquisite shadows in the morning and during sunsets, adding another layer to the urban jungle aesthetic.

squarerooms Blend by ImC balcony garden indoor plants grey wood cosy corner

If your plants can’t reach the window and are not getting enough sunlight, consider raising them onto a platform or some simple stools. Design by Blend by ImC.

If you have the luxury of an outdoor balcony, you may be able to grow large plants that wouldn’t fare all that well indoors. You may even get to see some flowers in bloom if you pour enough care and patience into your little garden, which will make for a lovely display from the living area.

squarerooms eightytwo interior design home renovation apartment makeover singapore contemporary style look moh guan balcony green garden plants dining nook cafe corner table chairs chill

Design by EightyTwo.

If you only have an indoor balcony, don’t despair—plenty of indoor plants will still grow happily towards the light. Many plants even prefer the shade over direct sunlight, so do your research and move your pots around until you find an arrangement that works for you.

To spice up the surroundings and make the most of your new indoor garden, round off the urban jungle look with a small lounging or dining nook.

Soothing bathrooms

squarerooms The Design Abode bathroom vanity sink countertop white grey urban modern jungle plants garden window green

If your bathroom has separate wet and dry areas, place your plants outside of the water’s reach to keep them healthy. Design by The Design Abode.

Growing plants in the bathroom may seem intimidating with the high humidity and lack of sunlight, but lots of plants fare well in these conditions. They help to purify the air and add a charming sense of calm to the surroundings, turning the bathroom into a downright spa.

squarerooms Notion of W minimalist modern grey bathroom wood tiles mickey mouse home plants air hanging

Design by Notion of W.

If your plants can handle the occasional splash of water, placing them in the shower or around the bathtub can make for an especially soothing ambience. Alternatively, move them out of the way when it’s time to bathe or consider faux plants for this corner of the room.

squarerooms Monocot Studio bathroom shower stone sink plant

Design by Monocot Studio.

While many bathrooms are adorned with large, lush plants, you don’t have to go overboard if you are dealing with a small space or simply don’t feel up to the challenge of caring for so much greenery. Start by placing a succulent or another low-maintenance plant on the vanity and hanging a trailing plant from the wall. You can always add more later down the line!

Green walls

squarerooms Brim Design balcony outside entrance dining bench wood garden plants green wall

Add some pizzazz to your nooks and crannies with a horizontal plant rack. Design by Brim Design.

Some of us like the look of plants but not so much the maintenance behind them. If that’s you, you may want to opt for an artificial green wall instead. Installing a green wall usually requires a contractor and comes with an upfront cost, but once it’s up, you won’t have to buy any extra soil, seeds, fertiliser or anything else to keep it going.

squarerooms Juz Interior minimalist urban jungle grey modern indoor garden green wall dining room black

Strategic lighting will lend the green wall some mysterious appeal. Design by Juz Interior.

A good place to install a green wall is at the short end of a long dining table, turning the entire dining setup into a real centrepiece. It goes especially well with pared-down interiors as the greenery helps to add a pop of colour and liven up the monochromatic colour palette.

This post was adapted from an article originally published in idealhomes vol.13.