No room is complete without a touch of green, so we asked gardeners which easy-to-use plants would work best for our social retreats. Our experts offer seven different types that will look good, require minimal effort, and even bring a hint of drama to your space – we’re looking at you, bird of paradise.
It’s time to put together these small living room ideas To work and allow the low maintenance preferred by professionals Indoor plants Breathe life into your space.
Low maintenance indoor plants for living rooms
You don’t need a major overhaul to make a big difference. Some of the easiest upgrades for a small living room can be found in a planter. But there are important things to note before bringing natural elements into your space.
“To have success raising plants in your living room, remember to match your lighting, lifestyle, and level of care with your plant choices, and you will enjoy beautiful, lush houseplants for years to come,” says Stacy Ling, gardening expert and innovator. Bricks ‘n Blooms.
Depending on the type of plant you’re working with, you’ll need to place it in the right place: a south-facing orientation provides high light, an east-west orientation provides medium light, and a north-facing orientation provides low or indirect light.
“Many plants can grow well indoors, but the amount of light in your living room will play a major role in which you choose,” says Loren Nielsen, senior horticulturist at Epic Gardening. “Some plants tolerate low-light conditions. Others do better in brighter locations.”
While each plant-based baby will have their own needs, these selections complement your small feng shui living room and will soften your aesthetic with a natural, peace-inducing touch.
Plant experts agree that the greenery of your living room should meet your needs and the lighting in the space. If you have a large space and don’t want a rigorous care process, choose something like the giant white bird of paradise. If it’s a bit shady in your living room, a ZZ plant will do just fine, as it does well with indirect light.
Before making a decision, start with the lighting in your living room and consider your lifestyle before choosing a plant.
Prices are correct at the time of publishing this article.
Loren Nielsen is the head of horticulture at Epic Gardening and its seed company Botanical Interests. She is a California naturalist, lifelong gardener, plant lover, and self-described composting obsessive, avid gardener, and “plant mother.” She and the rest of the Epic Gardening team share a mission to teach the world how to grow, and she loves helping people discover their green thumb.
1. Snake plant
Caring for a snake plant is very simple, which makes it a breeze to have in your living room. Even better? Looks good.
“Forget the fuss; let the soil dry out between waterings, and your living room sanctuary will flourish,” says Meg Cain, founder of ZEN Succulent. “Dust its leaves occasionally to make it breathe easier, and voila — you’ve got a thriving green haven that practically takes care of itself.”
But are snake plants toxic to pets? If you have furry friends, you may want to give snake plants, and all plants for that matter, a home that Fido can’t get to.
If you’re doing some shopping, the snake plants at The Home Depot vary in size and also have cute planters, which is of course a must.
Megan Cain is the green plant lover behind The ZEN Succulent, a modern plant and planter company she launched in 2012. Her unique botanical designs and curated collection of artisanal gifts have caught the attention of major publications and partnerships, including Madewell and Anthropologie. As an author, Megan shares her botanical wisdom at Modern Terrarium Studio and is a regular on the East Coast Workshop circuit, where she teaches the art of indoor greenery.
“Imagine shiny, deep green leaves that practically sparkle—that’s the ZZ plant,” says Stacey. “It thrives in bright, indirect light, needs minimal watering, and can even tolerate periods of neglect. Talk about a tolerant friend!”
When you’re arranging furniture in a small living room, dress everything up with a ZZ plant on the coffee table or shelving unit. Costa Farms’ ZZ Plant on Amazon is budget-friendly and highly rated by over 6,000 shoppers.
3. Peace lily
One of the biggest outdated home decor trends is sticking to single-purpose furniture and accessories. The same can be said about apartment gardening ideas. Find plants that give you more.
“Peace lilies, known for their beautiful white flowers, also purify the air,” says Gene Caballero, co-founder of Green Pal. “They prefer medium to low light and require consistent humidity without over-watering.”
Indoor peace lilies at The Home Depot are a great starting point and won’t cost the earth.
Gene Caballero is the co-founder of Green Pal, a platform that connects customers with lawn care experts in their area across the United States.
4. Spider plant
If you really want to take your green thumb skills to new levels, working with a spider plant is the perfect solution, according to Stacey. There are a variety of spider plants available on Amazon, and we especially like the spider plant that is pre-rigged with a macrame hanger.
“Not only is the spider plant easy to care for, but it also gives you little spiders that you can propagate yourself, or share with your plant-loving friends,” she says. “Bright, indirect light is its happy place, but it can handle low light, too. Just let the soil dry out between waterings.”
5. Giant bird of paradise
One of the most common mistakes in a small living room is forgetting to include natural elements. If you have a little extra space in your gathering area, let a larger plant thrive there.
“When it comes to living rooms, we generally have more space to play with,” says Dominique Hugues, co-founder of The Plant Runner. “This gives us the opportunity to have some wonderful feature plants that can grow larger.”
“If you want a more coastal look, try something like the Giant Bird of Paradise; it can grow tall and make a statement with its large, glossy leaves.”
Dust the leaves, fertilize regularly, and enjoy the data maker that is the giant bird of paradise, on sale at Amazon for $42.89.
Dominique Hugues and Duncan Helder co-founded The Plant Runner, which started as a truck selling flowers and has blossomed (pun intended) into a wholesale and retail e-commerce business.
Speaking of data makers, we have another collection if you want something a little more dramatic.
“The monstera palm or small horsetail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) can be perfect as a feature or focal point statement plant,” Lauren notes. “Kalanchoe is great as a low-maintenance flowering plant, and is also great for beginners.”
7. Rubber factory
If you need ways to style a small side table in your living room, why not consider a rubber plant from The Home Depot? We promise it’s not as fake as it looks.
“Rubber plants have large, shiny leaves that can make an eye-catching impact in your living space,” says Marvin Magosara, co-founder of Retaining Wall Supply. “Maintenance is simple: use moderate, indirect light and water when the top of the soil is dry.”
Marvin Magsora is a garden and landscape expert and co-founder of Retaining Wall Supply. With a deep passion for transforming outdoor spaces, his unique approach combines aesthetic beauty with functional design, transforming ordinary spaces into serene and sustainable landscapes.
What do you shop for?
Costa Farms Monstera Swiss Cheese Factory
Dimensions (feet): 2-3
Low level care
Dimensions (in): Height 28 x width 12 x depth 12
Dimensions (in.): D5
Want more ways to spruce up your living room space — and not just focus on the greenery? Fear not: there is plenty to do. We spoke to interior designers about the top five small living room trends for 2024, and we have a feeling you’ll love them all.