How to Make a Great First Impression with Your Interiorscape Design

First impressions are important as the saying confirms, “You’ll never get a second chance to make a first great impression.”

From 3 to 10 seconds, it basically takes just a quick glance for someone to evaluate and form an opinion based on appearance, body language, demeanor, mannerisms and what clothing is worn. And confirmation of this understanding is proven by the energy that goes into our looks before we leave home; as well as the amount of time placed on the upkeep of our wardrobe.

Sanseveria in lobby

-The Sanseveria in tall cylindrical containers act both as stunning art pieces that complement the aesthetics of the room.

In the world of design, it is no different. Take for instance the lobby of a building, the place for first impressions in any company. To walk into a hotel lobby and exclaim, “I love this hotel!” it’s obvious the designers on this project achieved their goal. And it’s no small feat.

Most people are not truly aware the intent and work placed in the creation of interior designs. When most people walk into a lobby, dissecting all the attributes found in the interior is not on their radar. Features such as the colors, texture of the wallpaper, lighting, the layout of furniture, the style of furniture, the type of flooring, the accent rugs, the accessories, window coverings, the art work and of course, the plants all fuse into a wonderful experience that speaks to all their senses at once. A bank lobby might reflect you can trust us. Whereas a design studio lobby might boldly state, come in and watch us create. In other words, all these design elements contribute to the consumers’ instantaneous first impression of the company from the very first time they walk into the lobby.

Everything is important when it comes to the flow of design, that it matches and complements each other for an amazing impression. Unfortunately many times the opposite has happened. Many travelers understand the trials of hotel hopping. Walking into a hotel lobby tired, weary, and ready for a soft bed only to turn around and go back out the door. This does not go over well and probably will be the first and last time the traveler enters that hotel. Something just didn’t feel good and a negative reaction took place. There could have been many reasons the lobby wasn’t a hit. Sometimes it is just the simple failing to understand key elements of design necessary for positive responses. Whatever the reasons, the bottom line is that interior design is important for first impressions. It goes even further than that these days with social media constantly on the scene. Negative experiences are promptly displayed instantly all over the world; or simply no one even bothers to share their experience because there was nothing to talk about. Both can prove fatal to any business.

ZZ plant

-The ZZ plant softens the masculine overtones in this conference room.

Plants, as we all know in our industry, give someone something to talk about. The role it plays in overall design can be subtle, but vitally important to the look and feel of any environment. I have seen many hotel lobbies that are very contemporary with extreme lines for a clean, cool, serene look. However cool and contemporary the lobby design might be, neglecting to include plants excludes a very important element in design, biophilia.

Part of understanding design is understanding biophilia. The Well Building Standards utilizes information from many biophilic studies that show how human beings are drawn towards things that make them feel good. These studies show how plants can connect the beneficial aspects of nature to us inside our environment. It’s actually so very simple. We need to use earth, the way she naturally flows with life, in designs to keep ourselves in balance.


-Tropical beaucarnea adds beautiful greenery to the vertical space.

Another great attribute of plants as well as artwork is to help fill the vertical void; that corner or empty space hanging and unconnected to the rest of the design. Furniture is all at a certain height in a room. And a vertical tall specimen plant in the right decorative container brings the void away from the ceiling to the floor. There is nothing else that can achieve this so perfectly than with plant life. When all is done properly the results are magical. And the spark to the magic is bringing the outdoors inside to fill empty space properly.

In contemporary spaces even a simple Sanseveria in a modern container or several of these plants lined in a rectangle container with rocks at the base can add an element that completes the space. But without it, the space stays cold and distant from our psyche, where a plant draws us forward into the aesthetics of the place.

Now as you go out notice your surroundings and take a look at the interiors to see what flows and what is missing. As an interiorscaper, it can be so powerful to bring this knowledge to your clients. In today’s designs we must always remember “less is more” and just like anything else in design, using fewer but meaningful pieces is key. Such as using the proper plants and containers that make an eloquent statement while it completes the intended look. It’s important the containers we specify complement the design to bring home that first impression.

By working and collaborating with the design community on projects, we can achieve impressive and stirring environments, bringing a collaboration of respect into their world. Believe me the overall achievement is to make a first impression for their clients and plants play a huge role in the designs. Interior plantscaping is a natural progression gaining world-wide recognition in the part it plays in the design process.

Make a first impression on your next job and help create this precedent for all your projects. The power of plants, as I have been saying for 35 years, is that they are the least expensive part of the design, however can give the most impact. How’s that for ROI?

Julie Davis Farrow is the CEO and founder of Plantscapers, Inc, an award winning interior plantscaper company located in Southern California. She is an active member of numerous trade associations, including Green Plants for Green Buildings and is also a registered speaker trained by GPGB to present “Authentically Green Interiors: Optimizing Nature’s Design.” To learn more about Julie and Plantscapers, Inc. visit

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