10+ Ways to Style Your Outdoor Office, Summerhouse or Garden Room with Faux Plants
Outdoor offices, garden rooms, summerhouses and he- and -she sheds grew massively in popularity throughout the pandemic, and they’re certainly around to stay. They offer the additional space you need, combining the comfort of inside with the pleasure of getting outside, blending the boundaries between in and out.
If you want to get the most out of your outdoor office, garden room, or summerhouse, you need to style it in a way that blurs the lines between inside and outside so it offers the spaciousness and freshness of being outside with the warmth of your home.
To help you strike this balance, we’ll guide you through all the different things you need to consider when styling your garden room.
What types of garden room are there?
If you’ve yet to invest in an indoor-outdoor space, here are a few different options you can consider:
- Orangeries: Orangeries are a great option if you want the room to be attached to your home, but don’t like the look of a conservatory. They can be better integrated into the style of your home as you can match the brickwork, style of windows, roof and window trim, and so on.
- Conservatory: Conservatories are usually made almost entirely of glass and plastic and are attached to your home. Rather than having it made to suit your home (like an orangery), you’ll generally choose from a range. If you want to use your conservatory year-round, make sure it is well insulated and consider installing a wood stove, radiators, or underfloor heating.
- Summerhouse: Summerhouses can be shed-like with single glass panes or more robust, depending on whether you want to use the room year-round or not. A standard summerhouse you’ll find at most garden centers will generally be too cold to use in the winter, but the addition of insulation, heating, and lighting can change that.
- Garden Office: There are now a wide range of modular garden rooms available that can be installed in your garden with or without the need for planning permission, depending on the size, position and purpose. These are stylish, well-insulated, and are a great investment for your home if the garden can be relatively easily accessed.
What can you use a garden room for?
Anything you like! The only limitation will be on how well insulated it is, as a traditional summerhouse may be subject to being too cold throughout the winter and too warm on very hot days in summer. We’ve seen people turn their garden rooms into:
- Offices (this is an incredibly popular choice as more people work from home than ever before)
- Dining spaces
- Children’s play rooms
- Music rooms
- Spare bedrooms
- An additional living space with sofas and garden chairs
- Art studio
Why use artificial plants in a garden room or outdoor office?
- Garden rooms give you much-needed additional space, so you may not want to give much of that over to fast-growing plants
- Artificial plants won’t add moisture to a garden room
- They can mix with real plants to fill in spaces that don’t get enough light
- They won’t encourage bugs to move in - especially important if you want to put them overhead!
- You can arrange them and they won’t change over time
- If you want to switch up the look from one season to the next, you can simply store your artificial plants in a cupboard until you’re ready to use them again
Common Outdoor Office and Garden Room Themes
Most people will choose a theme for their garden room, here are some of our favorites:
- Zen - light colors in shades of white and beige, bamboo shades of wood, and light, relaxing plants like bamboo, ficus, and snake plants.
- Nautical - use light blues and sand colors, rope-like textures, and nautical-themed decorations like shells, pictures of the ocean, and a model boat or two.
- Jungle - fill the edge of your garden room with plants. It’s a good idea to mix faux plants with real ones to give a bushy, realistic effect without the worry of keeping everything alive and looking its best, but you can always go all artificial if your room isn’t bright enough or warm enough for plants all year round. We love the use of ferns, monstera, areca palms, and bird of paradise plants.
- Rustic - embrace a rustic English cottage look with antiques and fabrics with gentle patterns. Use whites and pastels, such as pink, blue, green, brown, and grey, and use touches of navy here and there as your bolder color. Stick to natural textures like terracotta, stone, porcelain, metal, and wood.
Ways to Style Artificial Plants in Your Garden Room
No matter what theme you choose (if you decide to choose one at all) you’ll need to use some artificial plants to help create that sense of flow from inside to outside so you don’t just feel like you’re sitting in another room of your home. It’s easy to feel like you’re in a garden room on the warm days in spring and summer when you have the doors open, but if you want to use the room year-round, the addition of some artificial plants will help give you a greater sense of being somewhere different.
Here are some of the ways we love styling artificial plants in a garden room or office:
1. Add potted plants to your dining table or desk
Potted plants on a dining table or desk help extend the perspective of the garden into the garden room, and vice versa. Potted flowers are always a good choice, but for something less feminine consider placing our artificial boxwood topiary balls in plant pots on windowsills or tables.
2. Use hanging plants
Hanging plants are key if you want to create a relaxed space where you can feel immersed in nature. A few hanging plants around the windows at the front of your garden room or in dark corners at the back (this is especially effective if your garden room only has one side with windows) will help add more life to your room and prevent it from feeling like a dark shed. Our classic leaf hanging basket is a great choice, as is our artificial hanging fern, and our fresh fern artificial hanging basket.
3. Use trailing plants along surfaces
Alone or combined with our ideal above, using trailing plants or garlands is another effective way to bring foliage inside. Our artificial hanging willow vine is an extremely versatile choice you can use to hang from the roof or drape along picture frames and shelves.
4. Use tall trees to add shade if your garden room has a glass roof
Orangeries and conservatories are beautiful with their glass roofs and are perfect for relaxing on soft sunny days, but when the light is harsh they can become too bright and too hot to use comfortably. If you have a glass roof, consider using tall artificial plants to shade key seating areas so you can continue to use your garden room comfortably in the height of summer. We love our artificial banana canna tree for this, but our artificial bamboo tree and our artificial bird of paradise plant are also popular choices.
Alternatively, you can trail vines across the rafters, if you have them for the same shade-giving effect.
5. Use artificial plants on the patio area outside
Patio plants can be notoriously difficult to keep alive. They are subject to much faster temperature changes than plants rooted in the ground, are more likely to dry out in hot weather, and are more likely to die on frosty days if they’re in the shadow of your garden room or house. Opting for artificial plants is an easy solution that will allow you to transition from your garden into your garden room without having to worry about keeping the plants alive.
Here are some of our favorite ways to style outside patio plants:
- Use artificial topiary trees - available in a wide range of styles, artificial topiary trees offer a refined and modern look for your patio and are ideal for framing a garden office. Stick to one shape for a tidy, uniform look or mix up a couple of shapes for a little more visual interest. Our favorite shapes are towers, single balls, and boxwood spirals, but look into Cyprus spirals and triple ball topiary trees before you make a decision.
- Hang artificial hanging baskets - if your garden room has a slight overhang, consider hanging artificial hanging baskets from the roof for year-round color. If you prefer foliage over flowers, our classic leaf artificial hanging basket is a timeless choice.
6. Use artificial fruit trees
Using artificial fruit trees in or around your garden room helps make things feel lighter, brighter, and warmer. The pop of color of the artificial fruits will always help lift your mood. We love our artificial lemon tree for this, though our artificial olive tree is also an extremely popular choice!
7. Add a green wall
If you’re working with limited space or want your garden room to blend in with the plants in your garden, adding a green wall to the most visible wall never disappoints. Artificial green walls are panels of artificial foliage that create a wall covered in dense, lush foliage. For a tropical feel, consider our Yellow Oasis artificial green wall, for a natural forest feel choose our Garden Fern artificial green wall, and if you want a softer, calmer feel, consider our Moss artificial green wall. We have other designs available, so explore our entire range here.
8. Add a mirror and place plants in front of it
Another way to help blend your garden office into its surroundings is to add a mirror on the back wall of the room and place a few artificial plants just in front of the edges of the mirror. The result will be a “portal” look that fools the eye into thinking that the garden continues. This is a great choice for small gardens.
9. Attach artificial plants to trellis
Attaching trellis to a wall inside your garden room is a great alternative way to attach plants to the wall if you don’t want a look as dense as a green wall. You can attach small potted plants to the trellis, small shelves, lights, and pictures.
You can also use this method on the exterior walls of the garden room if you want to blend it into its surroundings but don’t want to use living climbing plants.
What’s the best way to integrate a garden room into my garden?
To make sure your garden room doesn’t look like it’s just been “dropped” into your garden, think about the path you take to get to it. Simply paving a path and lining it with artificial topiary trees helps to create a journey from your back door to the front door of your garden room.
If your garden isn’t a rectangle or square and your garden room is going to be toward the back of your garden, consider using a gate and wall or bushes to divide your garden so you feel like you’re stepping into a secret garden when you go to your office or garden room. You don’t have to build a gate to give this effect - an archway or even two large potted artificial plants can create this gateway for you.
Also, think about what you’ll see when you’re using your garden room. You may find that the view back at your home leaves something to be desired, so you can use many of the ideas we’ve given here to decorate the outside of your home to ensure the view from your garden room is just as good as the view from your home.
When you think about getting a garden room many people think that they’ll have to learn how to garden if they want it to look good, but this definitely isn’t the case. Using artificial plants inside and outside your garden room is an effective way to make things look more natural without adding gardening to your to-do list.
Learning how to improve the Feng Shui of your garden room will help you create a truly relaxing space, even if it’s where you work, so read our guide if you’re interested in that. If you’re ready to buy your plants but aren’t sure how to choose your planters, we’ve also got you covered. Learn more about how to choose your planters here.