Coastal design has always been about using nature as inspiration for the indoors— the colors and textures of the sea and sky come together in harmony. A more recent trend in coastal interior design is to bring the outdoors in using house plants.

Fiddle leaf fig trees, palm trees, and orchids are three striking houseplants that make a statement in your coastal home. Not only that, but they bring the health benefits of nature indoors. Here I’ll go over those benefits, how to care for your houseplants, and which coastal style suits each plant.

Benefits of House Plants

House plants don’t just liven up your interior design— they also have excellent mood- and health-boosting benefits! 

Boost Your Mood

Caring for indoor plants can reduce stress levels and improve your mood. A 2015 study showed lower blood pressure and stress levels after participants repotted various indoor plants.

Just as taking a walk in nature can have a positive effect on our outlook and mood, so can bringing the outdoors in.

Improve Attention and Productivity

I don’t know about you, but my to do list just seem to grow and grow lately! And when I do sit down to tackle that long list, my attention feels pulled in ten different directions.

The good news is that we can improve our attention and productivity simply by adding a few house plants to our work spaces. Research has shown that just looking at plants can sharpen focus for mentally demanding tasks. One study compared the effects of looking at real plants versus a faux plant, a photo of a plant, and no plant. The live plant provided benefit for the study participants, while the other scenarios did not. 

Add a few orchids to your desk and watch your productivity skyrocket!

Better Indoor Air Quality

Most of you know from reading my blog how important indoor air quality is to me. Using natural, eco-friendly cleaning products and avoiding toxic household chemicals can reduce indoor air pollution and dramatically improve your health.

But you can go one step further and add house plants to actually clean your indoor air! Numerous studies have shown that house plants can further reduce chemicals known to pollute the air in indoor spaces.

These are just a few of the many benefits of house plants!

3 House Plants To Try In Your Coastal Home

Now that you know how beneficial indoor plants are for your home, it’s time to experiment! 

Here are three house plants that suit a range of coastal design styles, and how to care for them.

Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree 

Fiddle-leaf figs have been a hot interior design trend for several years, and have started to make their way into coastal design.

A native to tropical Africa, the fiddle-leaf fig has large, pear-shaped leaves and can grow up to 10 feet tall. Perfect for filling a room with large ceilings!

Fiddle-leaf figs work great with an eclectic coastal theme, as this is a more casual, personality-driven style with room to mix and match designs.

How to Care For a Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree

This is a large house plant that needs plenty of indirect sunlight and space to grow. The tree will grow straight if you turn it every few days so each side gets an equal amount of sunlight.

Water your fig tree when the top soil feels dry, or a little less in the wet winter months. Because the fiddle-leaf is a tropical tree, it likes humidity and can benefit from being in a room with a humidifier.

Dust the leaves with a damp cloth once a week to keep them shiny and appealing and to encourage photosynthesis.

Note that the fiddle-leaf fig tree is the only plant on this list that isn’t pet-friendly!

Palm Trees

Fun and airy, palm trees bring the memories of a tropical vacation to your home design. Did you know there are over 2600 species of palm trees? With so many to choose from, you can find the perfect fit for your coastal home.

Palm trees are native to tropical areas such as the Caribbean, Asia, and South America. They’re more hardy than the fiddle-leaf but it’s important to research your particular palm for proper care. Some palm trees have adapted to direct sunlight and hot conditions, while others prefer shade and a more temperate environment.

Palm trees are perfect for an eclectic coastal look. The relaxed vibes and tropical feel allow you to express your individuality, combining pieces from different styles to achieve a cohesive yet distinct look.

How to Care For Palm Trees

For general care, ensure your palm has loose, well-draining soil. Water sparingly to allow the soil to dry completely before watering again. Use a specially-formulated palm fertilizer during the summer months, which is the palm’s active growing season.


My kitchen


My personal favorite indoor house plant is the orchid.  Years ago a contractor gave me one as a thank you gift for referring him on a project. Seven years later that orchid is still livening up my home! 

In fact, when my husband saw how excited I was to see a new stem growing (which means the orchid will bloom again), he gave me another as an anniversary gift. My love for orchids is now well-known and I’ve received others as gifts since then.

Although there are over 25,000 species of orchids in the wild, only two varieties are generally suitable for the indoors: moth orchids and cane orchids. Moth orchids, also known as phaelanopsis, are by far the most common type available for house plants.

You might think it's currently passé, but really orchids are a classic Hamptons house plant. Orchids here are as much a part of the interior as hydrangeas are to our landscapes. 

Simple and elegant, orchids are perfect both classic and modern coastal styles. The soft, understated colors complement a monochromatic color scheme in a modern coastal home. And you can take advantage of using multiple orchids to create symmetry and echo the floral elements in classic coastal style.

How to Care For Orchids

The most common cause of failure with orchids as house plants is due to overwatering. To avoid this mistake, I simply add three ice cubes a week to my orchids. The slow drip ensures the potted mix retains the correct amount of moisture for the orchid roots. I know— it sounds strange, but researchers at Ohio State University have shown how effective this method is in keeping your orchids healthy!

Choose orchids with the most unopened buds to get the maximum enjoyment out of your plants. Place your orchids in bright, indirect sunlight (such as near a south-facing window) and follow the steps for watering above. Cared for properly, your orchids will give you months of beautiful blooms.

After your orchids have finished blooming, you can cut the main stem or spike down to an inch above the planting line. The orchid will now work to conserve energy for reblooming. You can also repot during this time. Orchids don’t actually grow in soil— rather, it’s a combination of sphagnum moss and orchid bark chip mix. Fertilize with liquid orchid fertilizer once a month during this resting stage.

Which of these stunning indoor plants is your favorite? Share with us in the comments! 

March 03, 2024 — Shannon Willey