In moments of crisis, it's the simple things that matter. Whether that's reading a satisfying line in a book, letting out a hearty laugh with a friend, or listening to a dance-worthy song, these tiny acts give us the chance to exhale. In design, one of the easiest and most popular decompressors these days seems to be through the addition of plants.
"Indoor plants can enhance a space, boost your mood, and decrease your stress—all reasons why you'd want at least one plant in every room of your home," says Erin Marino, director of brand marketing at The Sill.
While you may already have a plant or two in a living space, one room where you might especially need to unwind is the bathroom. And as it turns out, that can be an ideal spot for greenery. "There are a number of plant varieties that thrive in the warm, sometimes humid conditions that a bathroom provides, because it mimics some plants' native tropical habitats," Marino continues.
We collected our six favorite examples of plants in bathrooms from previous Dwell house tours so that you can get ideas on everything from creeping vines to outstretched leaves. Marino also shares which greenery gets her vote, making it even easier to have an ahhh-inducing hideaway as soon as possible.
For a Soothing Shower Accessory
It makes sense that when Eva Holbrook and artist Jamie Williams set out to build a home that would connect them to the outdoors, they crafted a bathroom with plenty of natural touches. Take a cue from their Santa Cruz home and hang a bouquet of lavender from your shower head. The scent will disperse through the room as you lather or simply brush your teeth.
If you'd rather keep flowers outside your shower, Marino recommends an orchid instead. "The Phalaenopsis Orchid, with its leafy stems and long-lasting blooms, does best in a warm and humid environment," she says. "If your bathroom has a big window, then this is the plant for you. One thing though: Avoid harsh, direct sun."
For a Pet-Friendly Pick
Sometimes a fern is all that's needed to accessorize a bare corner, and in the case of this San Francisco-based bathroom, it brings color and texture to an otherwise monochromatic space. Since ferns also appreciate humid temperatures, a seat right next to the tub is the perfect spot to watch one thrive.
"There's a wide variety of humidity-loving ferns to choose from, but one of my favorites is the Bird's Nest Fern," Marino notes. "I love its large and wavy green fronds. It's also considered non-toxic, making it safe to keep around your pets. Allow it to grow in medium to bright indirect light, but don't worry if all you have is low, indirect light—it can tolerate it."
For a Small-Space Solution
Small-space bathrooms may seem too cramped for a vase—or sometimes even a whole plant—so take a cue from this colorful Barcelona design on how to proceed. A large leaf, like one from a monstera perhaps, adds a complementary shade to a tight vanity and can be changed out with ease.
But what if you have a cramped bathroom that also doesn't have a window? "The most important thing to consider when adding a plant to your bathroom is how much natural light your bathroom gets," Marino says. "If you don't have a window in your bathroom, then opt for a faux monstera."
For a Spa-Like Ambiance
If your goal is to have a spa-like retreat, then use this bathroom at The Posada Inn in Tucson as inspiration. We're particularly into its collection of hanging plants as a source of visual interest, and the fact these options don't require a lot of light to thrive. To follow along, pick a Marble Queen Pothos plant to sway by your side.
"The Marble Queen Pothos is a hardy pick," Marion says. "As a low-maintenance trailing plant, it’s perfect for hanging off your shower curtain rod. It does best in medium to low-indirect light, so keep it away from intense sun."
Shop the Look
For a Pop of Color
The pink-and-blue palette of this Los Angeles kids' bathroom is smile-inducing enough, but the addition of matching floral arrangements makes it even more appealing. Find an ombre vase of your own and fill it with pink Anthuriums and Ranunculus—which bloom in the spring—for the same effect.
"The Anthurium is rarely without their showy blooms, which aren't really flowers but are modified waxy leaves," Marino says. "It does well in bright and indirect light, but can tolerate medium-indirect light."
For Minimal Commitment
Look no further than cacti and succulents if you want all the calming effects of a plant with a small amount of effort. This Montauk home incorporates the confident shapes of a cactus within its sculptural design, and benefits from the fact that it'll never require as much water as someone washing their hands.
"Another option is the Xerographica air plant, which grows on top of tree branches and pulls all the water it needs from the intense morning fogs of its native habitat," Marino says. "It'll love the extra humidity that a bathroom shower creates."