25 Greenhouse Ideas for Gardening and More

dining room in a greenhouse

yomargey / Instagram

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.

  • 01 of 25

    Wall Shelves are Space Savers

    Glass greenhouse with one wooden wall painted white with shelves holding pots of geraniums and other perennials.

    Louise Prett / Instagram

    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.

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  • 02 of 25

    Vertical Planting Space

    wire trellis on greenhouse exterior

    Ursula Carmona of Home Made by Carmona

    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.

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  • 03 of 25

    Simple Stone Walkway

    Small rustic greenhouse with brick and glass walls, and slab of stone atop gravel in front of entrance

    yomargey / Instagram

    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.

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  • 04 of 25

    Outdoor Seating

    chair and table in front of greenhouse door

    Getty Images / Johner Images

    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.

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  • 05 of 25

    Cabinet Storage

    white painted cabinets for tools in a garden shed

    Ursula Carmona of Home Made by Carmona

    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.

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  • 06 of 25

    Stash Your Tools

    Wooden tool chest with garden tools leaning against it and green watering can

    Bartlomieg Kaminski / Getty Images

    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.

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  • 07 of 25

    Use Reclaimed Materials

    White painted reclaimed windows and doors being used to build greenhouse

    kinship_creativedc / Instagram

    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.

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  • 08 of 25

    Containers with Rustic Charm

    Greenhouse worktable and shelves with terra cotta planters full of flowers and a wooden flower bulb crate

    shar0n_harris0n / Instagram

    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.

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  • 09 of 25

    Art Studio

    Easel with flower painting in corner of sunny greenhouse with art supplies hung on the wall

    Ursula Carmona of Home Made by Carmona

    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.

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  • 10 of 25

    Winter Holiday Retreat

    White window enclosed greenhouse with antique table and chair with evergreen tree in a pot

    r.home_ / Instagram

    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.

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  • 11 of 25

    Make the Most of Your Space

    Glass greenhouse corner planting area with stepladders and pots

    shar0n_harris0n / Instagram

    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.

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  • 12 of 25

    Make Room for Pets

    Wooden work bench area in greenhouse with shelves and cat sleeping in basket on shelf

    Catherine Falls Commercial / Getty Images

    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.

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  • 13 of 25

    Add Some Rustic Furniture

    rustic greenhouse workbench

    Ursula Carmona of Home Made by Carmona

    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.

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  • 14 of 25

    White Palette

    White greenhouse with white table grandfather clock and statue

    r.home_ / Instagram

    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.

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  • 15 of 25

    Greenhouse Hygge

    Cozy greenhouse with glass walls, daybed and woodstove with basket of logs

    villa.pax / Instagram

    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?

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  • 16 of 25

    Pallet Flooring

    Greenhouse with wooden pallet floors and red planters

    Alexander Shapovalov / Getty Images

    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.

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  • 17 of 25


    Glass and metal greenhouse with candlesticks and candle chandelier.

    villa.pax / Instagram

    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.

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  • 18 of 25

    An Empty Greenhouse is a Clean Greenhouse

    Glass and metal greenhouse with small sign on doorway that says "The Potting Shed"

    lisamaries_kitchengarden / Instagram

    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!

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  • 19 of 25

    Create a Corner for Veggie Seedlings

    Greenhouse with many vegetable seedlings growing in sunny corner

    V Chettleburgh / Getty Images

    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.

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  • 20 of 25

    A Nook for Coffee and Reading

    Tall greenhouse with daybed in corner and tools and watering cans nearby

    villa.pax / Instagram

    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.

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  • 21 of 25

    Dried Flowers

    Flowers in bunches hanging to dry alongside the window of a greenhouse

    kinship_creativedc / Instagram

    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.

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  • 22 of 25

    Upcycle Old Gear

    Rubber boots planted with ferns in a greenhouse on a bed of moss

    Lari Bat / Getty Images

    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.

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  • 23 of 25

    Terrariums, aka Miniature Greenhouses

    Glass jar with terrarium on table with terrarium materials

    The Garden Society / Instagram

    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.

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  • 24 of 25

    How About a Shabby Chic Greenhouse?

    Greenhouse crowded with potted plants, antiques, signs, fabric and a chandelier.

    bloom_greenhouse / Instagram

    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.

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  • 25 of 25

    Don't Forget the Flowers

    cut flowers arranged in vases in a greenhouse

    Getty Images / Hugo Goudswaard

    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.