Live plants vs artificial plants: What’s best for your office fitout

March 9, 2022
Having some greenery in your workplace can give your office a welcoming feeling, as well as being good for health, productivity and morale. But should you choose real plants or fake plants? Here we take a look at the benefits of each to help you decide what is best for your office space.

Office fitouts have come a long way since the days of grey walls, small cubicles and stuffy meeting rooms. Today, a lot of thought is put into creating office spaces that are enjoyable to be in and enhance worker’s productivity. Incorporating features from pot plants and garden beds to green walls, vertical gardens and even indoor trees, is now a very popular element in office design.

Not only do plants brighten up your office, they can provide many other benefits such as block out noise, improve the mood and create a calm environment. But are artificial plants just as beneficial as the real thing?

Benefits of real plants

Not everyone can get a window seat, so having an indoor plant can be the next best thing. Even though we spend a lot of time indoors, connecting with nature brings a lot of benefits. And if you are worried about keeping your live plants looking healthy, there are many plant hire companies who can not only offer advice but can also supply, fertilise, water and replace the tired ones!  

1. Cleaner air

If you work in a busy city environment such as the Sydney CBD or North Sydney, it’s inevitable that there’ll be some artificial chemicals floating around. A famous NASA clean air study1 conducted several years ago found that certain plants have the potential to improve indoor air quality by removing organic pollutants from the air.

Check out this chart if you want to see which plants were found to be the best performers. Having real plants in the office could be just the breath of fresh air you are looking for!

2. Humidity control

Feeling dehydrated at work can contribute to poor concentration and fatigue. The good news about having real plants in the office is that they add moisture to the air which can help keep the humidity in the office at optimal levels, which can contribute to the well-being of workers. 

3. Reduce stress levels and boost productivity

Having high levels of stress in the workplace can reduce productivity and performance. According to a study by UTS Sydney2, one of the many health benefits of having indoor plants in the office is that it can significantly reduce stress and negativity.

The UTS office study – encompassing 55 staff in single offices – recorded average scores of reductions in stress and negative mood feelings of over 40%.  

Benefits of artificial plants

In the past, artificial plants may have looked well… artificial!  But these days there are many high quality imitation plants available. In some cases, they are so realistic you’ll need to touch them to tell the difference, and staff have even been seen watering them!

While for many people there’s nothing quite like the real thing, premium artificial plants can offer other benefits, too.  

1. They are low maintenance

One of the most obvious benefits of using fake plants in your office instead of real plants is that they are easy to look after. They don’t require watering, pruning or fertilising and they can be left unattended for weeks at a time. In fact, with just some occasional dusting and cleaning, you can have healthy looking plants all year round!

Once the initial investment is made, basic maintenance is something cleaners can do, which saves money and hassle of ongoing watering, replacement and maintenance plans.

2. They won’t cause allergies

Pollen and strong scents can cause an allergic reaction, so if you have people working in your office who suffer from hayfever, asthma or other allergies, using fake plants you won’t risk aggravating their allergies. This can also be a consideration if you have a lot of clients (or maybe even children or pets) visiting your office. 

3. They can be placed virtually anywhere

Another benefit of choosing artificial plants is that you are less restricted about where you can place them. You don’t need to worry about the temperature or lighting in your office space, and you can move them around without worrying about dripping water or spilling dirt. Without needing to consider the conditions in your office when choosing your plants, you can be very creative.

Whether you choose real or artificial plants will depend on your office space and personal circumstances, but now we’ve planted the idea in your head, it could be a good time to think about whether you need to add more greenery to your office space. It really can make a lot of difference to your work environment!

Why not the best of both worlds?

Many of our clients go for a mix of real and artificial greenery. For example, bold flourishing green walls in reception or vertical as space dividers cans can create a big impression and bring the benefits of natural plants in central, easy to maintain areas. Whereas in hallways or smaller meeting rooms, artificial pots create a nice environment without the maintenance.

To maximise the visual impact, be sure to select a range of plants that work together to match your overall office aesthetic and brand to tie your workspace together.   

Let’s create a green, healthy and productive workspace

If you are in the market for a new office fitout in and around Sydney’s CBD, we can help guide you through the whole office design process.

From plants and office furniture selection to audio-visual solutions, electrical and lighting needs and more, Vestra can help you every step of the way. With expert planners, designers, project managers and builders with years of experience designing high-end creative workspaces, we provide a full-service office fitout.

Contact us today to arrange a no-obligation consultation and see how we can help you bring your vision to life.


  1. NASA: Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement, 1989
  2. University of Technology, Sydney: Indoor Plants Work


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