Ah, lovely, low-maintenance cactus, you are the easy-to-care-for houseplant of our dreams. Only lately, we’ve seen too many rooms where someone slapped a succulent terrarium on a midcentury sideboard and called it “minimalism.”

We’re ready to recover our dry little friends from this decorating cliché, especially after visiting Cactus Store, the new Echo Park nursery that specializes in rare cacti. There, proprietor Jeff Kaplon will steer you toward a cactus or succulent that fits whatever light you have--even semi-shade, who knew?--and give you seasonal care tips (hint: you’re supposed to replicate the rainfall patterns of the prickly plant’s native desert). To get started, check out our decorating tips below.

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Reach for the stars

Got high ceilings? Draw the eye upward with a few tall varieties dotted around the room.

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Use as a counterpoint to art

Think of the cactus as a natural sculpture. Here, in a villa in Bergamo, Italy, the plant plays nicely off a standing nude.

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Make a moveable feast

Build a centerpiece out of complementary succulents as an outdoor fixture that you can move indoors as a table accent.

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Have a splash of color

In monochromatic spaces, a happy green plant adds a bit of warmth. In this kitchen, the cactus and an Eames clock are the only color needed.

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Create a room focal point

A smartly placed vertically-growing species can anchor an entire room, as it does in this contemporary den.

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Mix cacti into the jungle

Buying cacti and succulents can become a compulsive hobby--which is great if you want to create a maximalist environment like the one here.

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