Greenhouses are multi-functional structures: for growing, storing, working, planning, creating and even socializing. Depending on how much space you have, your greenhouse could serve multiple purposes.
Some greenhouse features require certain conditions, such as adequate light, ventilation, sturdy structures, a heating element, etc. Some activities are messier than others (for example, growing plants from seed to later transplant into the garden). But even if your greenhouse isn't a candidate for a magazine photoshoot, that doesn't it can't be a comfortable and inspiring place to spend time working and relaxing.
We've gathered some ideas to inspire you and help make your greenhouse a welcoming and useful space.
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Wall Shelves are Space Savers
Finding enough space in the greenhouse is, ahem, a perennial problem! But if you're lucky enough to have a greenhouse built on a solid wall, attaching shelves can be a great solution. Shelves are useful for both storage and to create a decorative display for container plants.Continue to 2 of 25 below.
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Vertical Planting Space
Another way to use vertical space for planting is to attach a wire or a piece of fencing to your wall and use it as a trellis for a climbing plant or to hang planters or tools.Continue to 3 of 25 below.
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Simple Stone Walkway
A simple entrance walkway of a stone slab and gravel is simple and neat, preventing too much dirt being tracked on your greenhouse floor. It's also easy to maintain. A broom, rake, and/or leaf blower can clear debris quickly, and spraying with a hose can help with quick clean-ups as desired.Continue to 4 of 25 below.
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Take a break and have a seat! If your greenhouse is too small for a chair, set up some chairs outside nearby, and maybe even a table too. You can get out of the humidity, catch some rays, and rest for a bit before you go back to planting.Continue to 5 of 25 below.
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Having cabinets to store tools and supplies helps keep your greenhouse organized and looking neat. Clean your tools at the end of the season before winter storage to preserve them from rust.Continue to 6 of 25 below.
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Stash Your Tools
If you're squeezed for space, you can always create a spot outside the greenhouse for tool storage, like a bin or chest, or freestanding shelves. Just be sure they're out of the rain and sheltered from dampness to avoid rust.Continue to 7 of 25 below.
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Use Reclaimed Materials
You'll need carpentry skills, but creating a greenhouse with reclaimed materials such as old windows, roofing and doors can be a very satisfying creative project. The resulting structure can be very sturdy and long-lasting, not to mention beautiful.Continue to 8 of 25 below.
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Containers with Rustic Charm
Natural materials like clay, wood and stone add rustic charm to your greenhouse decor. Weathered terra cotta planters? Yes, please! These classic pots add warmth to any color palette and are super practical. What about some vintage wooden crates or wine boxes for transporting stuff? They're lightweight but sturdy and look great.Continue to 9 of 25 below.
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The same light that makes your heirloom tomato and zinnia seedlings grow is also great light for painting and drawing. You can even use the same pegboard you use for hanging tools to create storage for art supplies. Fold up the easel when not in use, and make sure to use proper ventilation if using oil paints or solvents.Continue to 10 of 25 below.
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Winter Holiday Retreat
Imagine a cozy winter holiday party in your greenhouse, with evergreen boughs and decorations, candles, enjoying cookies and hot drinks while gazing out at bare tree branches or snow. The greenhouse is a perfect spot for a winter gathering or a quiet retreat space. Even with a heater your greenhouse may be cold, so be sure to tell guests to dress warmly.Continue to 11 of 25 below.
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Make the Most of Your Space
Your greenhouse may not be big enough to do all the things you want to do every day, so you may have to rearrange things periodically depending what work you're doing. Your trusty stepladder might come in handy to use as a plant stand or a temporary shelf to hold tools or materials if your work surface is full of plants.Continue to 12 of 25 below.
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Make Room for Pets
If your cat or dog love to hang out with you (and they're not too mischievous) they might enjoy napping in the warm light of your greenhouse while you work. Bring a pet bed in for them and a water dish so they aren't lapping up the water dripping out of your pots.Continue to 13 of 25 below.
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Add Some Rustic Furniture
Between dirt, moisture and tools, the surfaces of wooden furniture can take a beating in the greenhouse. But the warm look and sturdy surfaces of wood are a good fit for your rustic greenhouse style. Check out thrift shops and garage sales for used furniture that doesn't have to look perfect and that can be useful for your gardening tasks. Seal it or treat it as necessary to preserve its lifespan.Continue to 14 of 25 below.
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Though pairing white walls and decor with greenhouse tasks involving dirt might seem dubious, there's something that's both peaceful and invigorating about a white and green palette. Bonus: the dirt's easier to see for cleaning up.Continue to 15 of 25 below.
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Hygge is a Scandinavian concept for a feeling of contentment and wellness that arises from feeling cozy in one's surroundings, particularly in winter. How about a day bed with pillows in soothing shades of green, large candles, and a wood stove for warmth?Continue to 16 of 25 below.
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If your greenhouse has a dirt floor, or the floor is not very level or sturdy, consider using wooden pallets for flooring. These are fairly easy to find (your local garden center may have some they're recycling or getting rid of) and this is a quick and inexpensive (or even free) option compared to putting down gravel or brick. It's best if the pallets can be easily moved to clean under them at least once a season.Continue to 17 of 25 below.
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Candlelight looks lovely at night for an impromptu greenhouse dinner, but candles during the day can help add some warmth and even help dehumidify damp air (especially if you don't have an electric heating element). Plus they add a touch of romance. Be sure never to leave them lit unattended.Continue to 18 of 25 below.
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An Empty Greenhouse is a Clean Greenhouse
Once a year, try to clear everything out and give your greenhouse a good cleaning. This can help prevent mold and mildew from forming, and keep the glass sparkling. If your greenhouse is mostly glass and metal, you can use a vinegar and water solution with a bit of soap and then hose it down. You can do the same with wood-framed greenhouses, but choose the first of several sunny warm days so the wood will dry. Best timing? Maybe that week in early summer when you transplant the last of your seedlings!Continue to 19 of 25 below.
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Create a Corner for Veggie Seedlings
Planting vegetable seeds before the last frost date in your sunny greenhouse means you'll have nice healthy plants ready to transplant to your garden beds or outdoor containers once the weather gets warmer. The spring greenhouse may be a bit crowded! Keeping the seedlings all together makes for easier watering and moving outside when the time comes.Continue to 20 of 25 below.
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A Nook for Coffee and Reading
If you have the space, consider a cozy corner for a comfy chair or daybed, for reading, flipping through seed catalogs, sipping coffee and maybe the occasional nap.Continue to 21 of 25 below.
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Drying flowers can be a fun craft project, and the process is as beautiful as the results. Why not use your greenhouse for this activity? Be sure you open the doors to get some ventilation and to dehumidify if the air is moist; turn on the heater for a bit if you have one. Once the flowers have hung for a few days you can move them to a drier spot to finish drying. When they're fully dry they can be used to decorate in the greenhouse.Continue to 22 of 25 below.
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Upcycle Old Gear
So maybe your old rubber gardening boots sprung a leak... who says you can't turn them into planters? Upcycling old gear and tools is not only thrifty, it can serve as a gentle and humorous reminder of one of the most important reasons why you do all this gardening stuff: for the sheer enjoyment of it.Continue to 23 of 25 below.
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Terrariums, aka Miniature Greenhouses
Looking for craft projects to do in the greenhouse? Why not make a miniature greenhouse? Terrariums are easy to make with found materials, and you can also find kits for them. Perfect rainy day activity for kids or grown-ups that still feels outdoorsy. The finished terrarium can be displayed on a sunny greenhouse shelf or table.Continue to 24 of 25 below.
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How About a Shabby Chic Greenhouse?
Weathered signs, rustic fabrics, unique antiques, old painted pots and wagons: there's a certain enchanting European provincial aesthetic that is conjured when shabby chic is done right. Whether or not your greenhouse is a place your friends like to visit, you should decorate as you see fit.Continue to 25 of 25 below.
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Don't Forget the Flowers
Maybe you're already growing flowers in your greenhouse. But if you're mainly growing vegetables, you might miss the color and fragrance of flowers while you're toiling away. Bring a few cut flowers inside and put them in a vase; they'll give you a jolt of beauty and joy every time you look at them.