12 Creative Plant Shelf Ideas to Display Your Greenery
From floating shelves to custom builds.
Updated May 22, 2023 1:12 PM
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All it takes is one success story—a fiddle-leaf fig that’s still holding up after months or a pothos that finally grows long enough to start trailing—for a person to lean into plant parenthood. One becomes two, becomes four, and before you know it you need to figure out a tactic to keep all your greenery thriving and organized. The solution is simple: Consider the plant shelf.
Plant shelf ideas can be as simple as experimenting with your book-to-pot ratio, getting creative with your mix of plants, or sticking with a consistent color palette of pots. Here are 12 ideas that will inspire you to figure out the best arrangement for your growing collection.
Give Them a Shower
After a remodel in this Domino editor’s bathroom filled every corner with sun, it seemed unfair to let the shampoo and soaps on the shower niche hog all the vitamin D. A couple of pots on the tippy-top shelf keep the greens happy and gives the space an even lighter feel.
Get in Where You Fit In
There’s greenery in almost every corner of this schoolhouse-turned-residence in Delaware, but it is the home of an artist, so most of the walls are reserved for, well, art. Instead, plants find a home on the tops of bookshelves, spice racks, and ladders.
Table the Idea
Instead of hanging shelves in her Brooklyn rental, Airbnb host Barbara Silva keeps some of her smaller pots clustered together on a small side table next to the sofa. Their perch is made from a stump of wood that keeps the corner feeling extra-organic.
Keep Them With Your Other Essentials
Sarai Reed believes bookshelves should primarily be used for books—but there’s always room for some greenery. She designed her own honeycomb shelving system (sketching it out on the back of a piece of junk mail), which suited her small condo. “I needed a streamlined look, so my books are roughly organized by color and shape, and I added a plant to the empty shelves,” she says.
Find Your Spot
For this shelf, Darryl Cheng of Houseplant Journal selected an arrangement of snake plants, all potted in neutral vessels. But most important is where he put the shelf. “There is a large skylight that provides the bright, indirect light that these plants enjoy,” he says.
“This is the area that receives some of the best light in my home, so I chose to stagger the shelves across the wall to incorporate plants and pots of varying heights,” says designer James Renaud. An extra-tall climbing monstera next to the wall installation completes the jungle effect.
Mix Your Textures
Before adding plants to any space, Lindsey of Fancy Plants Chic first considers how much light it gets—this room receives medium-to-bright indirect light, so pretty much any plant can thrive in it. That made it easier for her to get creative with her plant selection for these floating shelves. “I arranged them with a mixture of varying textures and colors, as well as plants that trail and some that climb upward to fill empty space,” she explains.
Make the Most of Space
Have a lot of plants and not much room to keep them? There’s a simple solution. “Floating shelves are a great way to use wall space,” shares My Peaceful Moment.
Try Something New
“The shelf was originally meant to be merely a way to store books—I had it on the other side of the room, with all the books standing up and all the plants clustered together on one side,” says Noor Hasan. When she decided to move the shelf above her bed so she could put her projector on it, she took her books down in handfuls and topped each stack with a plant as a temporary solution—but she loved the look so much she decided to keep it.
Christopher Griffin’s shelving solution also started unintentionally. “While I was hanging the shelf, it slipped and slid down into that position. It looked great to me, so I decided to keep it that way,” he says.
Consider Your Plants’ Needs
Mish of Planty of Mish originally had a shelf with all-even levels but replaced it with a String shelf that works better for her greenery. “I can arrange the plants based on how big they are and what their light requirements are—some shelves have grow lights on top,” she says. “Because the shelf is wire, my humidifier is also able to mist the whole area well.”
Stagger Your Greenery
For a more pared-back look, Laura Beeson of Those Positive Plants deliberately staggers her plants. “The string of hearts and string of pearls both look very elegant trailing, and I purposely positioned the philodendron monkey mask at the top of the shelf; as it grows the leaves will gradually trail down the side of the shelf,” she says. A few smaller plants, including cacti and a hoya kerrii, finish the look.