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Plants just help liven up any space, that’s a fact. And I don't know if you know this, but I suck at interior design. It does not come naturally to me. I often overlook details—and interior design in general is about the details. I came to houseplants for the aesthetic because plants seem to be the common thread of all the design magazines, articles, and inspirations that I was reading as I was curating my apartment in New York City.

And when you have a lot of houseplants, that can create a chaotic, cluttered interior. That's why I'm sitting down with interior design expert and my friend, Betsy Helmuth, the founder of Uploft Interior Design and the host of the Affordable Interior Design podcast to discuss some basic interior design principles that we can tailor specifically for houseplant lovers.


In this episode, we learn:

  • [04:21] What exactly is the focus of Betsy's Uploft Interior Design?
  • [06:45] How to find your interior style
  • [10:26] What are the most popular interior design styles?
  • [14:01] Nature-based aesthetics you should keep our eyes out for
  • [15:25] Give the gift of peace and beauty this summer with a personalized Wind River Chime!
  • [17:00] Grow happier houseplants with Espoma Organic's high quality gardening products!
  • [20:37] How do you blend two different interior design styles using a ‘two-word phrase' approach?
  • [27:54] Why choosing an inspiration piece is important
  • [29:02] How to choose the right color palettes
  • [33:18] Styling with plants and pots
  • [34:59] What is the 60-30-10 rule?
  • [39:32] Other rules and guidelines for starting interior design projects
  • [43:03] How plant placement affects interior design choices
  • [46:19] What are the common mistakes people make with art/wall decor?
  • [48:45] Tips for people who are scared to get art
  • [50:54] Innovative planter solutions
  • [53:06] What can you do in the bedroom to make it cozy?
  • [58:43] Where can you find Betsy on social media?



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Finding Your Style: The Two-Word Phrase Method

The first thing you want to do especially if interior design is not your first love is find other people's looks or aesthetics that resonate with you.

Betsy suggests starting by looking at entire rooms rather than individual pieces. Find the through line in designs you like and use her two word phrase method to define your style:

  1. Choose a style word (e.g., bohemian, contemporary, transitional)
  2. Select an emotional word (e.g., minimal, playful, cozy)

For example, I realized I'm drawn to a “boho minimal” vibe. I love an egg chair. I love a rattan. But I don't love the cluttery, overlapping, mismatched patterns of a boho. By pairing these seemingly opposite concepts, we can create a space that's uniquely ours and avoids looking like a carbon copy of a Pinterest board.


Finding an Inspiration Piece

Once you've defined your style, it's time to find an inspiration piece. This could be a rug, artwork, or even drapes—but probably not a plant (sorry, plant friends!). Betsy's criteria for a good inspiration piece is that it should contain two to three colors from the ROYGBIV spectrum.

Your inspiration piece will guide your color choices for the entire room.

Betsy recommends using the 60-30-10 rule: 60% of your color should be your dominant hue, 30% your secondary color, and 10% an accent color. And here's where it gets fun for us plant parents—Betsy considers green plants neutral! This means our plants can fit into any color scheme we choose.


Avoiding Common Interior Design Mistakes

Even as a plant expert, I'm guilty of making some interior design faux pas. Here are some tips from Betsy to avoid common mistakes:

  1. For gallery walls, use an odd number of items for a more organic feel
  2. Fill empty shelves – empty shelves can make a space feel unfinished
  3. Don't be afraid of art – start with “stopgap” (temporary) pieces while you search for more meaningful ones
  4. Balance hard and soft elements in a room


Plant-Specific Design Considerations

As plant parents, we have some unique considerations when it comes to interior design. Consider coordinating your pots by choosing an anchor color or style for your plant pots to create a cohesive look.

Also, remember, no matter how good a plant looks in a spot, if it doesn't get enough light, it's slowly dying. So better incorporate grow lights that blend with your decor or prioritize plant placement near natural light sources.

If you're considering a plant wall, ensure you have a proper watering system to avoid damaging your walls.

And in design terms, plants can be considered the “jewelry” of a room. Use them to add pops of color and life to your space.


Creating a Cohesive Plant Collection

One tip I've found helpful is to choose an “anchor” for your pots. This could mean sticking to all terracotta, all white, or a curated mix of complementary colors and styles.

Betsy even suggested I create a “Maria pot set” — a collection of 10 pots that all work together beautifully. (Stay tuned, plant friends—you never know what might be coming in the future!)


Creating Your Dream Home

As someone still living in a furnished rental, I'm itching to put all these design principles into practice in my own space. But we all have to remember that creating a beautiful, plant-filled home is a journey, not a destination.

Don't be afraid to experiment, make mistakes, and learn as you go. And most importantly, have fun with it! After all, the joy our plants bring us is what it's all about.



Mentioned in our conversation:


Thank you to our episode sponsors:

Wind River Chimes

Bring more peace, serenity, and magic into your home with chimes. Wind River is a Virginia-based company creating premium handcrafted and hand-tuned wind chimes for over 35 years. If you are looking for a new way to grow joy in your life and find a moment of peace, a Wind River chime is the perfect addition to your home or garden. Plus, it's a perfect personalized gift for your loved ones!

Visit and use code GROWINGJOY to receive free engraving on your chosen wind chimes.

Espoma Organic

If you want thriving houseplants, set them up for success with high-quality soil, fertilizer, potting mixes and more! Espoma Organic is dedicated to making safe indoor and outdoor gardening products for people, pets, and the planet. They have an amazing variety of high-quality, organic potting mixes, garden soil, fertilizers, and pest control products that are organic and eco-friendly. To top it all off, they have a huge sustainability commitment with a 100% solar-powered plant, zero waste manufacturing, and eco-friendly packaging.

Visit to find your local Espoma dealer or check my Amazon storefront.




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