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A few posts ago I mentioned that fresh flowers are a given when it comes to styling a space. This is always true but certain types do fall in and out of fashion, and right now the bloom of the moment is not a flower at all — it’s a plant. Simple, fresh, green and leafy is hot. Don’t get me wrong. A bucket full of droopy tulips or a vase of whimsical dahlias is still gorgeous but as food editor Claire Tansey so succinctly put it: For 2010, “boring is the new awesome.” And with all of the detoxing, behaving and fresh starts this first month of the new decade brings, the oxygen-charged power of plants just feels right.

Photo: Decorating with Plants: ELLE Decor magazine cover

Plants instead of flowers is a trend that’s been gaining momentum for a while. The November 2009 cover of Elle Decor mixes green branches, topiaries, even that ‘70s throwback — a fern.

Photo: Steven Gambrel - green buds over fluffy petals

Another Elle Decor feature, by designer Steven Gambrel, from the January/February 2010 issue opts for green buds over fluffy petals. They look freshly plucked from the wild and add life to the space that flowers just couldn’t achieve. I also love the kitschy humour of the little bonsai plant.

Photo: plants used to style the top of a Saarinen side table

A feature story in the current January/February issue of Australian Vogue Living shows a plant being used to style the top of a Saarinen side table.

Photo: Darryl Carter's Virginia farmhouse with leafy greens

Leafy greens work really well with the sparse, unfitted and raw farmhouse look that is so hot right now. I am a big fan of designer Darryl Carter — especially his Virginia farmhouse with this bathroom.

Photo: Jessica Helgerson diverse style with large plants

I discovered designer Jessica Helgerson through the design*sponge blog and love the diversity of her style. Who wouldn’t want this room as their home office? Take away the large plants though and it would be pretty sterile.

Photo: Hardware interiors - plants in the store display

Photo: Hardware Interiors - plants in the store display

I was out and about scouting the other day and snapped these pictures of the plants in the window of one of my favourite Toronto stores, Hardware.

One big benefit of plants — making them especially great in January — is that because they live so much longer than fresh flowers, they are way more budget friendly!

For another alternative to plants, try displaying an Herb Planter Box in your kitchen to brighten things up in the winter.

Photo credits:
1. Cover of Elle Decor November 2009, photography by Eric Piasecki
2. Elle Decor January/February 2010, photography by Eric Piasecki
3. Vogue Living Australia January/February 2010, photography by Prue Ruscoe
4. Elle Decor, photography by Simon Upton
5. design*sponge blog, photography by Lincoln Barbour
6-7. Andrea Mills

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