12 ways to decorate with plants on shelves

Freshen up with a pop of greenery.
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A splash of nature ushers a welcome freshness into any space, be it a plant for your kitchen, home office, living room or bathroom. The perfect platform to showcase a plant, you don’t need to invest in custom shelving – a simple bookcase or a floating shelf works beautifully.

Beyond styling up the perfect shelfie, plants purify the air, so the added health-giving properties of indoor plants brings an extra dimension to their enjoyment.

Here, we’ve collected inspiration from all over the globe with the latest ideas on how to display your indoor plants on shelves. Take a tour with us and bring the outdoors in for an Insta-worthy transformation.

1. Keep it simple

Start with a curated selection of plants and pots on your shelf. Where leaves are small and trailing, keep the colour and style of your pots consistent. These earthy tones of terracotta and natural clay let the plants take centre stage and avoid visual clutter.

Plants on timber shelf
(Credit: Image: The Plant Society)

2. Bedroom bliss

Tumbling plants on a shelf above the bed transform this room into an urban jungle. To achieve this look, choose bedroom plants with a contrasting mix of leaf shapes and sizes – large and small, high and low. Mingle different pots and planters along the shelf in neutral tones to keep things interesting.

Bedroom with plants on floating shelf
(Credit: Image: @drlivinghome via Instagram)

3. Colourful kids

Faux plants sometimes work just as well in a setting – particularly where there is low light or little chance of regular care and watering.

Decorating kids rooms can be fun and doesn’t have to be all toys and brightly coloured blocks. Two tiny pot plants add movement and texture to this colourful bedroom and are kept high away from enquiring hands!

Kids room with indoor plants
(Credit: Photography: Armelle Habib | Styling: Julia Green)

4. TV dreams

This fabulous setup cleverly solves the problem of how to avoid a TV dominating the living room. 

Having a television that doubles as artwork is a fantastic start, but surrounding the large screen with shelving filled with a cascade of plants growing down and across ties everything together. Pots are kept all white to keep things visually clean.

Concealed television with indoor plants
(Credit: Photography: Alex Reinders | Styling: Sarah Elshaug)

5. Lush living

Custom curved brickwork and a cascading indoor plant make this fireplace Insta-worthy. Smaller specimens sit alongside books, objects and artwork, whilst larger potted plants on the floor draw the eye upward and blend with the arrangement on the shelf, amplifying the effect.

White brick fireplace with cascading indoor plant
(Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Jamee Deaves)

6. Verdant display

Trailing devil’s ivy, a zanzibar gem, and other indoor plants take pride of place upon light timber shelving in this contemporary dining room. The shelving breaks up a large expanse of wall in the dining room. Placing indoor plants in the dining room or kitchen also gives the suggestion of fresh herbs.

Dining room with indoor plants on floating shelves
(Credit: Photography: Shania Shegedyn | Styling: Alana Langan)

7. Mix-and-match

Many plant varieties are timeless, defy trends and transcend design styles. In this living room, an elegant orchid (popular in Hamptons style homes) has been styled with variegated devil’s ivy (popular in contemporary and Scandi-style homes), a maidenhair fern (popular in mid-century modern homes) and a Peperomia. It just goes to show that grouping indoor plants together always looks good, no matter what your interior decorating style is.

Contemporary living room with indoor plants on shelf
(Credit: Photography: John Downs | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

8. Short on shelves

If you’re renting or don’t have any shelving suitable for plant display, think outside the frame and press your windowsill into service. Line your sun-loving plants along its edge and they’ll thank you for the availability of light with bumper growth.

Woman standing in timber kitchen with indoor plant on window sill
(Credit: Photography: Marnie Hawson)

9. Bathroom botanicals

Many indoor plants thrive in the bathroom, so bring a touch of greenery to your morning routine by placing a trailing plant in the shower niche. Just be sure to measure the depth of the niche carefully and select a pot that won’t be a fall hazard.

Tiled shower with indoor plant in niche
(Credit: Photography: Alex Reinders | Styling: Sarah Elshaug)

10. Spa sanctuary

Who needs a soap rack with this luscious bathroom wall garden? Clever use of wall fixtures for pots allows a cascade of plants that are suited to bathroom living to soften the space.

Renovated bathroom with group of indoor plants on floating shelves
(Credit: Image: @mo.and.the.jungle.shelf via Instagram)

11. Warm welcome

Nestled into a timber niche shelf, a potted devil’s ivy signals the transition from the original section of this bushland family home, to the brand new extension. A second plant (Monstera deliciosa), at the top of the stairs, heralds your arrival in the new wing.

Concrete and timber stairway
(Credit: Photography: Marnie Hawson)

12. Leafy ladder

Transform a timber ladder shelf with a generous collection of plants. If you’re looking for extra depth to your display, source a vintage ladder with plenty of patina to offset the leafy greens. Rotate your plants to promote even growth at all heights.

Ladder shelf with indoor plants on the shelves
(Credit: Image: @connieandluna via Instagram)

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