Adding greenery as the finishing touches of a design is popular for a reason. Plants bring a connection to nature into the built environment and have been proven to boost moods, improve focus and productivity, and reduce stress. And, with so many plant options, both real and faux, adding greenery is an obvious and effortless way to breathe life and color into a space. Let’s chat about the age-old question: can “fauxliage” really be as good as the real thing?
Photo: The Denizen Apartments – Old Town Alexandria
The arguments for Natural
- The first and most obvious reason for selecting real plants is that they look… well, real! Some people are concerned that faux plants come with a faux look. By choosing real greenery, the foliage and bright green color is 100% authentic.
- Live plants also offer the benefit of improved air quality. They can decrease the dust in a room and can even provide allergy relief by cleansing the air around them.
- Real plants grow and change like living art pieces. This can come at a cost if you’re not great at upkeep, but if taken care of, real plants will continue to evolve with the space.
The arguments for Faux
- There’s only a one-time cost when you purchase faux. Real, growing plants come with growing expenses. For multifamily properties, a third-party maintenance contract, replacements when plants die, pesticides, and other costs are all eliminated by choosing fake greenery.
- Going artificial means not having to deal with expensive maintenance. They won’t attract pests, don’t require sunlight, and don’t require strict watering schedules.
- Some live plants are toxic to pets and small children. By going faux, multifamily properties can eliminate any risk to our little ones and furry friends.
Photo: Solaire 8250 Georgia Ave
At SR/A, we’re no stranger to the idea of incorporating faux greenery into our designs. In dynamic environments like multifamily projects, greenery is trendy, and occasionally real and faux plants are both incorporated. Often it makes sense to consider each amenity space individually and place real or faux plants based on the needs of that space.
Natural greenery might make sense in a conference room, where it can help to boost productivity and reduce stress. For the most part, adults will be the primary users of that space, so there is less of a concern about plant toxicity. It may also make sense to choose real plants for lobbies, where people will be getting a first impression of the building, and there’s room for a unique installation.
On the other hand, faux plants would be better suited for mailrooms, locker rooms, or library spaces. Artificial plants don’t require humidity to survive and would be the perfect solution to livening up the room without adding moisture. It also makes sense to go faux in rooms with less access to natural light, allowing the designer to place the plants based on aesthetics rather than plant survival.
Photo: Avec on H Street Apartments
So the answer to that popular question, can “fauxliage” really be as good as the real thing? We see benefits to both natural and artificial plants but going faux does have advantages. Would you consider faux greenery in your spaces?
Taylor Corzine is a design intern at SR/A. She is currently finishing up her Master of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture at the Corcoran School of Art & Design at GWU.