Green is the new Black: Green Oasis in the Office

How plants lower the sound level and provide fresh air

Green plants in the office

Welcome to the Office Jungle

More than almost any other furnishing element, plants have conquered our living and working spaces. And that across stylistic boundaries; indeed even the allotment have become cool in the wake of the trend around the urban jungle.

Green plants proliferate through social media profiles as well as through modern office landscapes, and there is a palpable hype around some potted plants, such as the white Monstera Variegata, which mixes up the familiar green with its brightly variegated leaves and is sometimes traded as something of a rare design edition.

However other specimens are also real marvels of nature and also help against bad air in the office by means of photosynthesis. Desk plants are not an invention of modern workspace concepts; however the growing range of unusual plants and variety of stylish pots and plant furniture make a touch of refreshing green indispensable for interior design professionals.

The green office: work hard, plant hard

Office concepts are continuously developed and adapted to the requirements of the contemporary world of work. From cubicles to club offices, however, one thing can be found in most office spaces: green plants. After all, plants are all-rounders.

Whether on the desk or as a natural privacy screen, plants produce oxygen, have a relaxing effect and at the same time promote concentration. In addition you can create beautiful contrasts in minimalist rooms or divide large office spaces with the right indoor plants.

The top 3 plant hacks for the office

Plants are more than just pretty decorations. They are sound absorbers, privacy screens and fresh air suppliers: three simple plant hacks that allow plants to fully express the variability and flexibility:

1. Acoustic miracle moss wall

Natural moss is perfect as a green acoustic solution for the office. Moss pictures and moss walls like those by Freund are made by hand from cleaned, specially preserved and partially coloured reindeer moss.

The moss panels on MDF carrier boards are available in different shapes and sizes. The evergreen moss both creates a calming atmosphere and absorbs up to 90 percent sound. In addition moss is particularly easy to care for: moss walls need neither light, water nor fertilisation.

2. Privacy screen plant box

Cleverly placed indoor plants are perfect as natural room dividers and are particularly practical in open-plan offices or other open spaces. While pots and plants can be individually placed where space is available, special plant walls can be used as room dividers.

The Para Vert by Brunner, for example, provides a structure in which plants effectively become a lavishly planted furnishing element. Whether dense ferns, delicate alocasias or a wild green mix, plant boxes offer a discreet but effective way of dividing rooms and act as stylish privacy and sound protection.

3. Airy hanging plants

Plants not only absorb sound and provide for a degree of privacy, they also give something back - fresh air. Thanks to photosynthesis, green plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and thus ensure a good indoor climate. Certain plants also filter polluters from the room air.

Robust specimens such as the Sansevieria or the Ficus can even bind benzene, formaldehyde and trichlorethylene. In order to make the best possible use of the air-purifying effect, one plant per nine square meters is recommended. If there is not enough space for pots in the office, hanging plants are the ultimate solution: hanging airily from the ceiling, green lily or pilea, for example, clean the air.

Moss wall as a noise and air filter
Moss wall
Plant walls as privacy screens in the office
Plant wall
Plant boxes as privacy screens in the office
Plant boxes

Your new favorite colleagues: Monstera, Sansevieria & Co.


Plants belong in every office: they ensure good air, better acoustics and a pleasant look. The green has a relaxing effect on the one hand and a positive effect on concentration on the other. In green offices you tend to have less stress and are often more creative.

There are even studies that suggest that plants increase overall productivity and reduce days lost to illness. But not all plants develop their best properties everywhere. So which one fits the team best?

Plants naturally need care, thus the question always arises of who will do the watering, occasional fertilizing and repotting. Ideally, there is a green thumb in the team who takes responsibility for plant care.

Or more than one green thumb, and a weekly changing plan can (additionally) help with the organization. In large companies, it may also make sense to hire an expert to take charge.

Fortunately, however, there are also plants that are naturally easy to care for: Sansevieria and pilea, for example, are relatively undemanding and get by with little light and water. Suitable plants for bright offices are cacti and ficus. Special irrigation systems also facilitate successful office greening.

10 office plants that are guaranteed to do their job well

The most popular office plants are those that rarely require watering, fertilization and repotting. When choosing plants the lighting conditions should also be taken into account. Last but not least, consider the new green team member's air-purifying credentials.


1. Monstera

Everybody's darling and as an office plant a guaranteed good choice. Monstera, also known as the window leaf, impresses at first glance with its special, perforated leaves. Fast growth, moderate water requirements and unpretentiousness when it comes to repotting make the various Monstera species into perennial office favourites.

Rubber plant

2. Rubber Plant

As a design classic among indoor plants, the Ficus rubber plant shines with its distinctive leaves and has been beautifying offices for decades thanks to its almost minimalist simplicity. However, the high success rate of the Ficus may also be due to its excellent air-purifying abilities. Special potential: the green tree can grow up to three meters high.


3. Euphorbia

Robust, more robust, cactus. Water-storing plants such as the Euphorbia, or African milk tree, easily survive longer pauses in watering and require little feeding. If you offer your cactus a sunny spot, it will thank you with good unending growth.


4. Sansevieria

Sansevieria, also known as bow string hemp, impresses as an air purifier and is considered indestructible. In addition to longer periods of dryness, the elongated, curved leaves can easily withstand cold, drought and drafts. An office classic you can't go wrong with.

Butterfly palm

5. Butterfly Palm

Every office jungle needs a palm tree. The butterfly palm, for example, provides a outstanding touch of the exotic between the desk and the tea kitchen: they do however need a lot of light and warmth and should always be kept moist. In return, with their splendour of leaves, they offer perfect privacy protection and ensure a good indoor climate.

Fiddle-leaf fig

6. Fiddle-leaf fig

The fiddle-leaf fig, as with the rubber plant, belongs to the genus Ficus, but brings its very own skills to the team. The room tree can grow up to four meters tall and, with its imposing leaves, provides variety in the office.


7. Pilea

If there was a competition for the most beautiful desk plant, the Pilea UFO plant would definitely be among the nominees. And that not only on account of its round leaves, which float so elegantly on long, thin stems: according to Chinese tradition, the houseplant, also known as the money tree, is said to bring wealth and is therefore something of a must-have for every office.


8. Philodendron

Big leaves and something behind them. The philodendron filters poisonous substances from the air and thereby frees the room from, for example, formaldehyde or carbon monoxide. In order to do its job well, the philodendron needs a leaf shower every now and then, but otherwise only needs moderate watering.


9. Zamioculcas

The defining feature of the Zamioculcas is the small leaves strung on long stems. Well structured and pretty to look at, the plant is extremely tough in everyday life, is one of the easiest office plants to care for and needs little water, is undemanding in terms of light and rarely needs to be repotted.

Spider plant

10. spider plant

If you want quick successes, you are on the safe side with the a spider plant. The easy-care houseplant unfolds its full potential in practically any environment. The dense cluster of leaves forms shoots in no time, which makes the spider plant particularly suitable as a hanging plant or in plant walls. In addition they reduce pollution in rooms.

The new Hay Order SDO 03 set up in a green environment
The new Hay Order SDO 03 set up in a green environment
Under palm trees: the best way to work
Under palm trees: the best way to work
Lounge corner with plants
Lounge corner with plants

USM World of Plants: fresh air and storage space

All those who are familiar with the Swiss furniture manufacturer USM appreciate their furniture for their simple elegance, the almost unlimited configuration options and the unique combination of chic and practicability.

Based on a simple grid the design classic has been continually reimagined over the decades: designed as modular office furniture USM has created new shapes and colours. And now with the USM World of Plants the manufacturer uses natural green and is taking the principle of modular furniture systems to a whole new level.

The USM Haller World of Plants creates a clever connection between the geometric steel furniture structures and the naturalness of indoor plants - and in a furnishing solution, especially for offices, that brings the useful and the beautiful together in a playful way.

The metal shelves have recesses in which potted plants can easily be placed. The USM storage space miracle is now also an oxygen station and acoustic solution as well.

Particularly practical: an irrigation set can be integrated into the system, meaning the care of the plant wall is very easy. Consisting of a pot insert and water level indicator, the system regulates the watering cycle and extends the watering intervals. The only question that remains is which USM shelf configuration best shows off your favourite plants.

USM Haller sideboard with plant pots
USM Haller sideboard with plant pots
USM Haller sideboard with plant inserts
USM Haller sideboard with plant inserts
Greened USM as a room divider in the restaurant
Greened USM as a room divider in the restaurant
USM shelf with plant pots
USM shelf with plant pots
Stylish in the home office: the new colleague is green
Stylish in the home office: the new colleague is green

Professional office planning with plants: Decoration and room dividers


In order to perfectly integrate plants into modern office concepts, they should be taken into account in all office planning: while special solutions such as the USM Plant Worlds or the Brunner Para Vert meet the desire for green office space, they are only part of the solution.

The systems provide the framework for flexible use of plants as room dividers, privacy screens, decorations or modular zoning; however, due to their dynamic and often free-standing character, this requires careful planning.

In order to create specific areas of retreat or to use plants as acoustic room dividers, various aspects must be taken into account when positioning the elements.

Especially on very large, cool-looking office spaces, there is the possibility of consciously using plants as a warm contrast to a technical environment.

A practical example: the green office of creation


Professional office planning offers the opportunity to use plants specifically as a furnishing element. When planning the offices for the Frankfurt based creative agency Herren der Schöpfung, smow Frankfurt designed a very well thought-out green office in cooperation with Vitra.

From the kitchen, the central point of the office, a grid with hanging plants leads through the entire 600 square meter area and connects the two wings of the office in an organic way.

The grid forms a light but noticeable structure in the open space. It sets boundaries and at the same time offers cohesion. As technical as the system may seem - the plants, which look as if they had grown from the ceiling, contrast the functional office equipment with something wild and playful.

The well-measured lightness creates a natural fixed point in the modern office environment. This principle is continued through the conscious integration of cork elements, floor-length curtains and Swinging Eames Chairs floating from the ceiling.

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