How to Style Faux Botanicals Like a Pro

Frontgate Faux Botanicals

There are few things as welcoming as fresh cut flowers and greenery on display in a home. But as we all aim to take small steps toward sustainability, faux botanicals are taking over. These vibrant blooms and plants maximize all the design benefits of real greenery while minimizing maintenance. We sat down with lifelong horticulture enthusiast and one of Frontgate’s associate merchants, Glenna Wilkinson. Glenna has been with Frontgate for 17 years and is an expert in our holiday and seasonal categories – with a focus on faux botanicals. She’s lending her expertise and sharing what to look for when buying and styling faux botanicals.

Frontgate (FG): Why you should use faux botanicals?

Glenna Wilkinson (GW): All plants, real and faux, are such a quick way to add dimension, new life and a mood-boosting aesthetic to a space. Faux, however, offers all the design benefits of living plants without all the maintenance. They are also ideal for those with allergies, allow water to be conserved and are a perfect way of closing gaps in our designs. They’re more durable and resilient – the better option in many ways!

FG: What should you look for when purchasing faux plants?

GW: All faux plants are not created equally. Paying attention to detail will help achieve a look that blurs the lines between real and fake. Look for things like veins running through the leaves, textural branches and waxy greenery, as all these attributes indicate high quality. Also, a little planning goes a long way; have a plant or flower variety in mind, and bring a picture of the real thing when shopping to ensure you get the closest match. And beware of faux greenery that is too symmetrical; nothing found in nature is perfect.

FG: What are tips to make faux plants look more realistic?

GW: Making faux plants look more realistic is all about how you present them. Consider using moss, pebbles, sand or soil in the pot to give the illusion of an environment where real plants could thrive. You can also trim some stems and leaves from one side, allowing the other side to appear fuller, then place that side toward a natural light source to trick the eye into thinking it’s the real thing. Another tip is mixing your artificial plants with real ones to add volume and variety to your arrangement.

FG: How should you arrange faux plants?

GW: Styling is just as important as the type of plant you choose. The first step is identifying the space in which your plant will live. The space you choose will determine if what you need is height, fullness or both. Large plants are great for taking up corner spaces and even serving as room dividers. Medium-sized plants help to accentuate and define seating areas while small plants are great for placing atop coffee tables, bookshelves and accent tables. Additionally, clustering multiple plants together can balance and anchor a space while creating an impressive vignette.

FG: Any favorite seasonal selections?

GW: As with interiors, plants can also transform exterior spaces into stunning outdoor settings. For warmer months I love using English lavender, Boston ferns, begonias with dracaena spider plants. I also use large plants of the araceae family like large leaf monstera and philodendron plants to enhance outdoor surroundings. For the colder months, I recommend boxwood topiaries, aspidistra or cypress topiaries in planters to add dimension and create an inviting backdrop.

There are also some simple additions that can give festive flair to your arrangements. Adding snowberries or eucalyptus in the winter and basil or sage in springtime will turn an everyday assortment into a seasonal one in a flash.

FG: Where should you decorate with plants versus florals?

GW: Placing faux plants in areas flooded with natural light is a great tip for accentuating them while also making them pass as real. They can also take up empty floor space or add height – with use of a plant stand if needed. As for florals, these are best used as centerpieces on dining tables, coffee tables, sideboards, bookshelves, mantels, nightstands and more.

FG: How do you choose the perfect vase?

GW: Tall and wide vases are great for tall stem flowers like roses, lilies, gladiolus, tulips and hydrangeas. Narrow-necked vases perfectly house flowers with thin stems like peonies, while round fishbowl vases are perfect for top-heavy blooms like orchids, roses, daisies and carnations once stems are trimmed to the height of the vase.

Follow us on Instagram @Frontgate to see these tips in action, as well as other professional styling tricks. And check out our spring trend forecast to get inspired to bring new looks into your home.