I like to dream up spaces.

As an artist and a writer, I like to create stories and scenes both with my words and with my decor.

As an avid thrifter, I hunt for and repurpose furniture pieces to incorporate with our home furnishings. Plants are very much a part of my decor as well and they play an integral role in pulling together a space.

As a photographer, I am very much aware of light and I use that with my indoor gardening so I can maximize on the use of sunlight within my living spaces.

So with my flair for design, love of plants, and my ability to write with light, I have created spaces within my home that each serve a purpose for the plants and people they host.

Bookcase in front of sunlit window with Christmas cactus, rolling cart, and salt lamp

In this post, I am sharing my favorite ways to design an indoor space for your houseplants using up cycled furniture, shelving, macrame hangers, greenhouse, stools, and more!

Upcycled Furniture

Prayer plant and large succulents on a sunlit dresser in front of a window with a cat sleeping in the middle

I am a sucker for a deal and love the thrill of the hunt when it comes to finding vintage pieces to use in our home or garden! I am one of those people that will pull over to the side of the road to pick up other people’s discarded furniture left by the curb. Dressers, bookcases, chairs, yes please!

A friend of ours was cleaning out her parents attic and gave us a few pieces from her childhood bedroom that she wanted to rehome. We grabbed this great dresser and used it as a transitional piece in our mudroom space to house our plants. I used it in this space because of the large top surface for placing plants, and cats, in the sunlight. When we moved into our home, many of our spaces needed to be painted.

Once this room was painted and the windows styled, this dresser was moved to the basement for seasonal clothing storage and replaced with a “sofa table” that doubles as a shoe rack and plant stand.

Multifunction is key when choosing a piece of furniture to upcycle! Having a dresser that serves the purpose of plant stand and drawer storage for winter items, kids outdoor toys, garden tools, and potting soil bags is a win in my book.

Wall Mounted Shelves

Wall mounted shelf with pilea, zebra succulent, rattlesnake plant and sanserveria and African violets below.
Artwork and prints hang on the walls surrounding the plants.

Another way to incorporate my plants into my home as decor is to display them on shelves within wall art. I have a collection of art pieces on a wall in my living room that gets great indirect light in the afternoon. With comfy chair, side table, and this wall mounted shelf with plants brings all of the elements of this seating vignette together. It adds texture and dimension to the space and utilizes the light on this side of the room.

Bookcases

Pilea plant and jade plant nestled in pots with a bookcase and amongst books and trinket box.

I love styling bookcases with knick knacks and bric a brac. Pottery pieces and old books are two of my favorite items to include in my decor.

Adding in plants for that pop of life and greenery amongst your collections is a great way to personalize the space and bring life to your bookshelves. Make sure you choose plants that will do well in the lighting you choose for them and always have a safe container for your plants so as not to dampen or water damage your shelves or books.

I do the former by using the double-pot method. Here’s how it works:

Have your plant in a pot that has holes in it so when it is watered it can drain the excess. But put that pot within another pot a little bit larger in size.

That way, you have protection from drippage and you can remove the plant to bring it to the sink to water and not have to water them where they are on the bookcase. That can get precarious and a little risky!

Window Mounted Shelves

A variety of plants arranged on two window mounted shelves. Wandering jew, orchids, prayer plant, violets, and sanserveria.

When we moved into an apartment with a living room with north facing windows, it was a struggle to find ways to get light for our plants. Many of the plants that had thrived in our previous home did not survive such a drastic change in light and temperature.

We went from a building that had very dry radiator heat to a new building that was on the cooler side with baseboard heating. It’s definitely something to consider when you are moving! How will the changes in heating and window direction change the way your plants live and thrive in the space?

The solution that I came up with was to mount shelves to the window casings. I purchased wood brackets and wooden shelves at IKEA.

Sadly, they no longer have these particular shelves and brackets in stock but the same technique can be achieved with metal brackets and wood shelving from Home Depot.

I mounted the brackets to the wood casing around the windows and rested the shelves on top of each set of brackets. When using this technique, be sure to use long screws for added support. You’ll want the screws to screw into the wall, not just the casing.

When placing the plants on the shelves, I made sure to distribute the weight evenly and not have any heavy plants that would strain the supports. Any plants that were slightly heavier that another, I put directly over the support for added safety and not in the middle where the possibility of the shelf bowing could happen.

Rolling Cart

Cactus, lavender plant, fairy cactus and wax plant on the top shelf of a teal rolling cart next to a window.

Another fantastic IKEA or Amazon purchase for plants is a rolling cart. I have used this in our home on many occasions for many things besides plants like diaper cart, craft cart, toy storage, sewing caddy, etc. It’s just a versatile item to have in your home!

But using it as a plant stand is great as well because you can move your plants to where the light is if you need to. In the winter this is a great option for me and my cactus because I want to be sure they are getting as much sunlight as possible.

It’s also great for watering because you can scoot the whole cart into your kitchen and water each plant rather than having to bring the water into the living room.

Hanging Planters

Christmas cactus in wicker hanging basket. Jade in macrame hanger with pot. Sanserveria in hanging glass vessel from Van Wilgens.

Hanging planters are now my favorite thing in the whole world when it comes to displaying my plants. They took some getting used to but once you find the right supports to put in your ceilings, they are a wonderful way to add plants to your decor without needing a table top or surface to put them on.

These hanging plants were a vignette in front of a wall of art in our front hall for some time. They are great for keeping the cats out of the plants and the hanging jade looked beautiful against the color on the walls.

Variety of jade, lavender, cactus, and succulents. Plants within a mini greenhouse are centered on a long bench under a large window.

I have also purchased macrame tray hangers that are great for little collections of potted plants. I have propogated plants and have little cups of baby plants I have repotted that do well on these trays.

Trader Joe’s is great for little “kitchen windowsill” planters like these. Clustered together they make a great arrangement, whether on a windowsill or a hanging tray.

I love using the hanging plants in our main front window because it gets the best light and the plants provide some coverage to the windows that adds a privacy element to the space. In the winter, we like to have the curtains open to let the sun shine in so our plants love that extra warmth and light.

But we do move our plants around quite a bit throughout the year because the sun’s position changes and as gardeners, we need to adjust for those changes to give them the best opportunity to thrive.

RELATED: The Basics for Growing Indoor Plants

Benches & Stools

Rain soaked windows above a bench with cactus on a bench

I admittedly am a bench hoarder. I love benches! I use them for my outdoor and indoor potted plants.

Facebook Marketplace is the most fantastic resource for finding anything cheap!

My favorite bench is a long antique bench that is six foot long and I got it for a steal at $20! It was under our living room window for a good stretch of time and it’s now the plant bench/side table in our sunroom.

I have also found benches discarded on the side of the road, have had friends give them to me because they didn’t need them anymore, and have found beautifully handmade benches sold on Marketplace.

We found this bench in the As-Is section of Ikea for $40 and used it as a tv stand for a couple years. Now it is tucked under the window in our bedroom and I use it as my altar space for meditation. It’s adorned with my African violets and ZZ plant that thrive in this east facing sunlight.

Terrariums

The Ikea mini greenhouse (terrarium) is a great little setup for plants. It’s super easy to assemble, inexpensive, and adorable for little plants! I have a handful of tiny plants that need a little extra love because they are cuttings from larger plants or need higher humidity temperatures.

With succulents, it’s very easy to propagate them by taking the leaves that have fallen off and putting them into a pot to sprout new roots! And popping them in a little greenhouse or terrarium like this one helps them hold on to some extra heat as they start to take root.

Baskets

Ivy within a terracotta pot inside of a handled basket.

Goodwill and thrift stores are great for baskets! Having a pot (with a saucer) within a basket is a great way to display plants. The texture and the color are warm and inviting and add beauty to any plant display.

Trays + Cake Stands

Little displays are my forté! Putting together little groupings of plants on cake stands or trays is an easy way to add plants in different little spots around your home. You can move them easily and rearrange them when you need to change things up.

Metal tray with pilea, wax plant, ogre ears, and succulents
Metal cake stand with jade and cactus.
White ceramic cake stand with small pots full of succulents.

Have fun creating spaces for your plants in your home! Once you know the light requirements for the plants you adopt, take the time to pair them with other plants with similar lighting needs. Grouping plants that are complimentary in color and size is visually appealing and the variety adds interest to your indoor planting collection.

Window plants in a front window with a kitty looking out.

Robin Dini (@withincreative)

Smells Like Home Gardening Collaborator

Robin Dini is a Connecticut native and resides in a quintessential New England town on the shoreline. Her love for gardening and all things plants and flowers is rooted in her deep connection to nature and her childhood spending countless hours outdoors. Robin’s gardening philosophy is to grow what you like, experiment with new things, and do your research.