Indoor plant shelf ideas – expert tips for styling your houseplants

There are endless possibilities for using shelves as a way to display your houseplants

Indoor plant shelf
(Image credit: Getty Images/KuznetsovDmitry)

If you're getting stuck for ideas on how to decorate your home with plants, using a shelf can be a great way to add a new dimension to your indoor plant display. 

Like plant stands, an indoor plant shelf can elevate houseplants, providing different ways to showcase them. It's also a simple way to complement existing decor you may already have on a shelf.

There are so many different ways to introduce a plant shelf into your home and lots of potential effects you can create if you choose the right combinations of plants.

We've gathered expert tips for creating beautiful and innovative indoor plant shelf displays to suit every interior aesthetic. 

Neutral indoor plant shelf

(Image credit: Getty Images/Tatiana Buzmakova)

Benefits of plant shelves

Styling an indoor plant shelf not only adds an eye-catching green display, but it can also bring benefits to houseplants positioned in this way.

'Raised plants experience improved air flow and more even lighting which is essential for healthy growth,' Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight.

If you find that your home lacks a lot of natural light, placing your houseplants on shelves can elevate them to better lighting which will help keep them happy and healthy.

'Elevating plants is the perfect strategy to accentuate their foliage and prevent damage from maybe stepping on them or curious pets attacking them,' says Carmela de Castro, owner of Orchid Republic Floral Boutique.

Shelves keep plants out of the way and can also maximize your space, so they're ideal for smaller apartments.

Indoor plant shelf

(Image credit: Getty Images/Tom Werner)
Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Artem Kropovinsky, founder of the NYC-based Arsight, boasts over a decade of global interior design expertise in both residential and commercial projects. From transforming Brooklyn brownstones to reshaping Manhattan retail spaces, Arsight's portfolio showcases its design prowess on national and international scales. 

Carmela de Castro
Carmela de Castro

Carmela is the owner of Orchid Republic Floral Boutique, a luxury florist with boutiques in Sherman Oak and Santa Monica, California. She specialises in bespoke flower arrangements, orchids and succulents. 3

5 beautiful indoor plant shelf ideas

Whether you want to green up an existing shelf with some foliage or introduce a brand new shelf to style your plants, there are lots of ways to have an indoor plant shelf and create different looks with it. We've compiled a list of ideas to get you started.

Windowsill plant shelf

Windowsill plant shelf

(Image credit: Getty Images/gerenme)

A windowsill plant shelf can be a beautiful way to fill big open spaces in front of bright windows.

Many people are hopping on this trend by placing stacked shelves across windows. Using clear shelves even adds a floating look to this type of display, like this hanging clear plant shelf unit from Amazon.

Windowsill plant shelves are great for plants that require lots of bright light, such as jade plants and other succulents. 'They have diverse textures and forms of growth that make them suitable display options for shelves,' says Artem.

Using plants with strong structure and shape, such as snake plants, also works well on these kind of shelves because they become backlit which shows off their silhouette.

Living wall shelf

Stacked plant shelf

(Image credit: Getty Images/TUGIO MURATA)

Living walls have become increasingly popular over recent years, both outdoors and indoors. They're a bold, statement way to bring plants into your home, but they can also be difficult and time consuming to achieve.

As an alternative, it's possible to create a living wall look with shelves. 'By closely arranging multiple shelves filled with diverse plants, you can emulate the lushness of a living wall,' says Artem.

'This approach transforms a plain wall into a vibrant, green focal point, adding life and texture to the space,' he adds.

The plants that are most effective for achieving this look are ones with interesting foliage, such as ferns and hanging plants.

Plant shelf with a personal touch

Bookshelf plant shelf

(Image credit: Getty Images/SrdjanPav)

You can easily transform an existing shelf, sideboard or bookshelf into a plant shelf by adding foliage among your other belongings.

'Integrate decor elements such as books, small art pieces or colorful pottery that create a much more personally appealing and engaging display. This combination of nature and creativity enhances their attraction,' says Artem.

Having an collection of books, photos and plants adds authenticity and personality to your indoor plant shelf display.

'Plants are so versatile they can work either as fillers or focal points when styling your shelves,' says Carmela. 

Minimalist plant shelf

Minimalist indoor plant shelf

(Image credit: Getty Images/Yulia Naumenko)

For an indoor plant shelf with a touch of elegance, strip it back to basics and keep it simple.

'For minimalists who prefer a clean look, go for uniform pots with similar plant types,' says Artem.

Small to medium plants look best in this style, neatly fitting on a shelf at around the same height. Although, it can also be effective to add a trailing plant among them for variation.

'Trailing plants are really made for shelf styling,' says Carmela. 'They add texture, color, and flair, especially those with cascading leaves, like ferns, pothos, English ivy, or string of hearts.'

Kitchen plant shelf

Kitchen herb shelf

(Image credit: Getty Images/brebca)

Indoor plant shelves can be used in any room, but using them in your kitchen can be an effective way to add style to your indoor herb garden.

You may choose to display your indoor herbs on a windowsill, but using a plant shelf can give it a more purposeful look and locate your herbs more conveniently for cooking.

'Don't forget to rotate them regularly so the other side, the one that's hidden from view, doesn't deteriorate,' says Carmela.

Shop plant shelves online


How do you make a DIY indoor plant shelf?

Indoor plant shelves are a great way to style your houseplants. There are lots available on the market, but it's also easy to create a DIY plant shelf by getting creative with furniture you already have. You can use any surface, like a bookshelf or even a sideboard, and line up a selection of houseplants to create a dedicated indoor garden space and give the appearance of a plant shelf. 

If you're looking for new ways to display your houseplants, plant shelves are a great option. It's a beautiful way to incorporate your plants with your existing decor and create curated, styled displays. 

They're versatile and there are options for most sized plants, but it's important to research your plant's care requirements, such as lighting, to see if a shelf will be appropriate for it and to avoid making common houseplant mistakes.

Tenielle Jordison
News Writer (Gardens)

Tenielle is a News Writer in the Gardens team at Homes & Gardens with five years of journalistic experience. She studied BA Journalism, Media and English Literature and MA Magazine Journalism at Cardiff University. Before coming to Homes & Gardens, Tenielle was in the editorial department at the Royal Horticultural Society and worked on The Garden magazine. She is passionate about sustainable living and the role gardening has to play in tackling the effects of climate change. Tenielle is also a houseplant lover who is slowly running out of room for her ever-growing collection. She has experience successfully propagating indoor plants and overcoming common houseplant problems.