My Top Ten Interior Design Tips #2



This is a recent addition to the top ten, but it’s a fad that has become a trend and is actually, like grey paint, here to stay for the foreseeable future, so it deserves a place in the list. Yes, it’s time to go green and I don’t mean put the recycling out.

It’s all about plants people. Now before you panic, it’s not about those dusty old cheese plants you had as a student but about creating pockets of green loveliness in your home. I don’t really understand why plants went out of fashion – after all flowers never did – but ours is not to reason why etc (which is what my mother used to say when she didn’t know the answer) the thing is that they are BACK.

And suddenly, every room looks better with a plant in it. Now the husband is not terribly keen on plants. He has been giving the fiddle leaf fig in the kitchen the side eye for some months now (it doesn’t care, it’s growing like a weed and taking up even more space. It is definitely winning the battle of the side eye). But when we had finished decorating the bathroom (see above) we were standing about arranging bottles of shampoo and stuff – as you do when you have a new room to play with – and he suddenly said: “Do you know what this room needs?”

fiddleleaf fig in the kitchen of
fiddleleaf fig in the kitchen of

“What,” I said, expecting some sort of magazine rack type scenario – I mean I know everyone reads in the bathroom but I’m not sure we’re into advertising the fact are we? Anyway, that is not what he said.

“A plant,” he said.

“Yer wot?” I said elegantly. For my gob was somewhat smacked.

“You heard,” he said.

Well we were out of that bathroom and down to Homebase quicker than it was probably legal to drive. I had to get him there before he changed his mind. We came back with the above. It definitely, definitely finishes off the space perfectly. Even he says so. Weirdly there’s no side eye for this one.

Of course you don’t have to have real plants. It’s screamingly fashionable to go fake these days – or, as we must now call it, faux, dahling, faux. Or failing that, just buy some cushions with leaves on – that’s the fad version – not the trend which will become a classic that is the real plant version. And if you do have real plants you will need pots to put them in – you can read about my fiddle leaf fig and where to buy some great planters here.

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. I have always had house plants, but had to throw a load out when they all got scale and I wasn’t able to get rid of it 🙁
    Spider plants are almost indestructible and good in an office environment. And I have a weeping fig that’s doing fine even though it now sits on a heated floor! So it appears that i am back in fashion! (I rather like your fiddle leaf fig. I may have to get one of those.)

  2. HA! I’m so sorry – basically it’s hemming the edge of the carpet so that it doesn’t fray. Stair runners will probably be bound – also known as whipped. Your carpet fitter will know how and where to do it. If you have a local carpet fitter, they should be able to arrange that for you – I’m not sure about the big chains but they might be able to suggest carpet fitters so you’re one step closer….

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