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Today's Planters Bring Style to Trending Natural Design Elements

Metallics and simple designs are making bold statements in decorative planters.

Amy McIntosh
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Phillips Collection planters
Neutral colors and simple shapes, as seen in the selection of planters from Phillips Collection pictured above, allow the plants inside to stand out.

As the outdoors continues to move in, the desire to bring more natural elements indoors and out continues to climb. Because today’s tech savvy consumers are exhibiting a newfound appreciation of nature and looking for more greenery in their homes and on their patios and decks, designers need vessels for displaying the foliage and florals their clients are asking for. Enter: the planter. 

Planters come in all shapes, sizes, colors, finishes and materials. Some are versatile enough to withstand the elements outdoors, and others are meant to be enjoyed inside. Some are meant for artificial botanicals, while others are equipped to handle the real thing. We spoke with two product designers to find out what’s trending in the world of planters.

Neutrals are always in style, and planters are no exception. But metallic finishes add a bit of glam and complexity to the greenery of choice. 

“Warm metallics are strong this season. Rustic finishes in gold, bronze, and copper add luster and sophistication to indoor planters,” says Andrew Palm, Creative Director for Napa Home & Garden. For more modern, casual interiors, Palm says basket weave textures in clay pots achieve the look of a woven piece with the durability of clay. 

Outdoors, Palm says planters with clean, modern lines allow outdoor plants to really shine. 

“Black is always a great way to create drama and make any foliage stand out,” he says.

Mandy Shanahan, Lead Designer for Phillips Collection, is also noticing a trend toward the metallic, but notes simplicity is the real star.  

“Our metallic bronze and aluminum finishes are still at the top of the list, but we are also seeing a trend toward matte white,” says Shanahan. “Either way, our customers tend to lean toward more simple forms and shapes
when it comes to outdoor so that the planter doesn’t overpower the plant.”

While manufacturers don’t typically have particular plant species in mind when designing planters, they do tend to design with versatility in mind. 

“Oftentimes, we don’t see the end result or know what types of plants are being used in our planters,” Shanahan says. “However, we do keep in mind that customers will want to use live plants in our planters, so we need to make sure the design can accommodate live plants versus only faux plants, sticks, etc. Live plants are being used more often both outdoors and indoors, as there is a trend to bring the tranquility of nature inside.”

Planter location helps guide designers in material and finish selection. Outdoor planters must be able to withstand the elements, but indoors, customers have more options, Shanahan says.

“We like to break the boundaries with material on indoor planters with finishes like our popular silver leaf, gold leaf or ‘crazy cut’ stainless steel,” she says. “We also have some beautiful new pieces with brass inlay. While many customers also use our outdoor planters indoors, our indoor assortment gives them the opportunity to use metallic and mixed material planters for a more glamorous look.”

Napa offers a variety of lightweight planters that have a heavy, sturdy look. The Firestone Malibu collection, for example, is made of ground stone, sand, polyresin and fiberglass, and has a hand-finished texture but is suited for outdoor use and easily movable. 

At Phillips, their most popular planters end up in hospitality settings, often at the entrance to a hotel. These customers gravitate toward larger, vertical planters like the company’s Classic and Elonga tall, round tapered pieces that work indoors and out. 

“Whether indoors or outdoors, our customers tend to gravitate toward our metallic finishes,” Shanahan says. “Silver leaf is our most popular, but it is indoor only, so customers have found that our polished aluminum or liquid silver finishes are a nice alternative to work outdoors. We’ve also found that our larger more vertical planters sell best for both indoor and outdoor use.”

Global Views wise egg planters

The Wise Egg planters from Global Views are cast from a biodegradable eco-friendly stone composite containing no resin. A removable fiberglass liner keeps the container water tight. 


Howard Elliott ceramic

The organic look of gourds that were found at a local farmers market are replicated in this ceramic collection from Howard Elliott. Free-form vases have a ribbed texture finished in a burnished bronze. 


Made Goods Newton

 The Newton planter from Made Goods features distressed concrete details with a dimensional strap design.


Four Hands Jed planter

Four Hands’ Jed planter has dark brass-finished iron legs and an inset planter of rounded weathered brass iron.


Napa Home & Garden Fibrestone

Made from a composite of ground stone and other natural materials, Napa Home & Garden’s Fibrestone is lightweight. The Malibu planters offer contemporary shapes with a textured finish in pure white.

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