Today’s post is the first in a two-part series that highlights some of the key trends that sit on the cusp between houseplants, interior styling and design for 2018. The first instalment concerns interior plant styling, and the second (which will be up on Wednesday) focuses on a forecast of emerging plant trends.
The demand for houseplants has exploded over the last few years and shows no sign of heading towards a decline. In times of austerity, people seem to crave something that they can nurture, something that lifts their spirits and offers a healthy dose of qualitative experience. For many, this comes in the form of houseplants. I say houseplants more specifically than plants in general, because more and more of us (including me) live in homes with little or no outside space. Even in a lot of new-build housing estates, gardens are postage stamp sized, with little room for more than a few ‘patio pots’. For those in rented accommodation, houseplants can really help to transform a living space, making it feel truly personal and, well, like home.
Trend forecasters have clearly been plotting this pattern, and feeding such information to those retailers that want to be seen to have their finger on the collective ‘planty’ pulse of the nation. As a result, the hype around houseplants has truly hit the mainstream, with a plentiful choice of pieces in the shops at the moment. I’ll be noting a few trends I have noticed, in terms of both plant styling, and emerging plant trends.
INTERIOR (PLANT) STYLING
Some 2018 plant styling trends for around the home; botanical aesthetics, industrial metals and retro modern.
The first trend I want to showcase is one that highlights the ‘process’ of plant care a little… this is certainly at the other end of the scale from placing a bunch of flowers in a vase or mature plant in the middle of your table! ‘Botanical aesthetics’ draws attention to botanical ‘science’ in it’s test tube like vessels and intriguing methods of display (such as the assortment of glass jars hung off a piece of wood, below left). These displays, particularly those above, make excellent containers for plant propagation, or, single stems. This is definitely something that is at the forefront of ‘plant trends’, that take their cue from places like Pinterest and Instagram. The first two images above feature two of my favourite vintage vases that I am always using for propagating cuttings, I got these from a local charity shop a few years ago.
Another aspect of this trend is one that embraces a sense of ‘botanical inquiry’ by presenting foliage studies pressed in glass. A few years ago, this would have been regarded as old fashioned and fussy, but in modern frames with a good amount of negative space around the plant specimen, these pieces have the potential to look decidedly modern (above, bottom left). They are also a great option if space for houseplants is an issue, because this is flat and can hang on your wall… and you can’t kill it from over-watering either! Textiles have also been making a turn to the botanical aesthetic for a while now, things are a lot less geometric, still graphic, but more organic. This tea towel set (above) was the fourth I came across on this particular trip!
The perpetually modern minimalist aesthetic (that shows no signs of wavering), also connects to this trend here. Pieces like the single bud vase below, really focus the attention on the botanical beauty of the stem, or cutting, and can make as much of a statement as a whole bunch of flowers, in my opinion.
This trend is one that has been building over the last few seasons, but this year, I’ve noticed that industrial styling has hit the mainstream stores in a big way. The photographs here (above) were taken in TK Maxx, Matalan and Homesense. Metallic, stand alone planters up until now, were only found in higher end modern stores, with a hefty price tag to match. These plant pots range from just £12 to £30 for the larger pot on the far right. The mixtures of metals and concrete in homewares are more prevalent, which suit a minimalist interior really well.
Also, there has been a surge in demand for pieces such as these metal and glass containers below, not solely used for display or an arrangement of candles, but for displaying small plants. These ‘hurricane lamp’ style pieces intimate a more self sufficient and enclosed environment than the more familiar open sided terrarium (more on those in the next instalment of the post). Used as your own personal indoor greenhouse, these structures, particularly the piece on the right below, would look brilliant with some miniature cacti and succulents!
If I had to pick a favourite trend for 2018, this would have to be it. Most of my apartment is furnished with mid century pieces and I’ve noticed that since I started collecting a number of years ago, this style has become a firm favourite with many. In terms of plant styling though, when you think of mid century, or retro style, the classic atomic planters might spring to mind. The contemporary equivalent of these are the ‘turned leg’ planters, which have been quite elusive until the last year or two.
Stores such as West Elm have led the way in championing these styles, offering a variety of patterns and colours for a mid range price point. Over the last few months however, these styles have been appearing in more affordable stores. I have a range in my apartment from Homebase and Homesense, ranging from between twenty and £40 – much more affordable than the £150 West Elm price tag. These pieces are a perfect example of this ‘retro modern’ trend, in that they are a contemporary offering that isn’t simply a ‘copy’ of mid century designs, but a fresh new instance of it.
Another aspect of this retro style that has had a resurgence is the rattan baskets and containers. Repeats of this ‘basket’ trend have quickened in their emergence in recent months, which for a number of years, have been unloved and in plentiful supply in junk stores. These are now being snapped up and transformed into unique plant covers, with the high street following suit and offering their own eclectic (yet mass produced) designs (see Homesense above).
Terracotta pots are also making a resurgence in popularity, in part due to their understated simplicity when paired with an all-white shelf or modern setting. For a number of years, pot ‘covers’ were definitely ruling the roost, with terracotta feeling retro, and to some, clunky and even old fashioned. In 2018 though, There’s an authenticity about a cluster of terracotta pots (as above left) that seems effortlessly cool, and for houseplants, in particular cacti and succulents, they offer great drainage solutions. IKEA have a range of terracotta with an even more minimal and modern shape, though as yet, this style isn’t available in smaller sizing.
Another aspect of this trend which has exploded in recent months, is macramé; wall decoration and plant hangers are everywhere at the moment. The photographs above show the offerings in mainstream stores Matalan and TK Maxx this season, for the incredibly low price of £6! The quality of these is low and materials feel cheap, so in this instance, I’d recommend trying your hand at making one yourself if you like the aesthetic. I have been doing this for a few months and really love it, you can see one of my creations in the photograph below.
The image of a corner of my bedroom (below) shows these trends in a modern setting to offer some houseplant styling ideas.
The second part of this post focuses on plant trends of 2018 and will be up on Wednesday, sign up if you would like to receive an email notification when it goes live.
Thanks for reading!