Decorating With Succulents

One of my favorite ways to add color and life to any room is by incorporating plants. In particular, succulents have been all of the rage lately. They come in a vast assortment of shapes and sizes, and their unique details are sure to grab anyone’s attention.

After a recent terrarium-building collaboration I did with West Elm Indianapolis, which you can read about here, I decided to take what I had learned, and put together some new indoor and outdoor planters, as well as build a terrarium at home, which by the way, features Caesarstone countertops in Pure White.

Here are some tips to consider based on what I learned from the pros at West Elm:

  1. Start by selecting a planter based on the size, shape and color that will fit the space you plan to use in your home. For my terrarium, I purchased this Gem Cut Terrarium at my local West Elm store. Not only are the detailed cuts of the wooden base gorgeous, but I happen to love that the walls are glass because that highlights the beautiful layering of the soil and finish layers.
  2. The next step is to make your plant selections. Succulents come in so many shapes and textures, so I consider this the most fun step in the design process! I chose a small cactus, one plant with a fuzzy feel, a couple of air plants for height, and a couple that had some deep reds and maroons to add color depth.

  3. Now it’s time to decide how you are going to layer your base. After your soil layer, some popular toppers are moss, sand and/or small stones. Since my home is very modern with “white” as the main color in my palette, I thought that moss would be an excellent way for my design to contrast the surroundings and make it more eye-catching! I wanted to make sure that the depth of my soil was deeper than the wooden base so that you could see the layering through the glass walls.

  4. I think that most people consider this next step the most difficult—plant arrangement and spacing. To try and make this step seem less intimidating, here are just a few things to think about: I find it easiest to start with the tallest plants. Are you going to place your planters against a wall? If so, I suggest taking your tallest plants and placing them in the back and slightly off-center so they act more like your planter’s “backdrop”. Or are you going to have it in the middle of a room where you will see all four sides? If that is the case, I suggest placing a tall plant (or two) in one back corner, and then placing another tall plant on the opposite side and slightly forward so you create some balance. If you choose a plant that will cascade after it grows larger, make sure you plant that in the front. After that, just make sure you arrange your remaining succulents so that you keep balance and mix textures.


  5. The final step is the icing on the cake! It’s time to lay down your top layer. I chose to tear-off small sections of moss at a time, and place them around the corners and then sporadically throughout a couple other portions of the planter. My best piece of advice is to not overcrowd your design. Remember—sometimes, less is more.

Make your planter design something that fits with your home decor. It’s sure to be the conversation piece when you host your next dinner party! They also make excellent gifts if you’re someone that likes to put your own thumbprint, no pun intended, on your gifts! Here are a couple of other examples of different plant arrangements I made in my home, for more inspiration! The concrete planters can be found at West Elm, as well as the front porch chevron planters. Now it’s time to get to work designing yours! Make sure to follow my blog, Mod Abode, for more modern design related topics.

For more decorating with planters: 5 Easy Planters to Make For Your Home This Spring | Modern Planters, Indoors and Out

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Mod Abode
Mod Abode was started out of a passion for three things; photography, architecture, and design. A photographer by trade for the past 13 years, I figured, what the heck--why not combine all my passions into one. Thus, Mod Abode was born! For as long as I can remember, I have loved design. I've always been particularly drawn to modern design. It has always been a favorite pastime to pick up the latest issue of Dwell Magazine and gawk over the stunning modern architecture and clean, minimalist interiors. And every store catalog I receive in the mail containing simple yet bold interior accessories, has a rather long shelf life in my home, because I love to study the featured rooms photographed so beautifully inside the issue. Since starting my photography business in 2006, I've had many opportunities to photograph our travels, our home, and lots and lots of happy moments in peoples' lives. After being a general contractor on the build of our own modern home in Indianapolis, Indiana, I gained an even stronger appreciation of modern craftsmanship and functional homes built with form in mind. So here you have it, a broad range of things that interest me, related to modern homes, for modern enthusiasts like yourself!