This winter it seems as though my small house has become a bit more spacious, largely due to how I’ve cleverly arranged my houseplants.

I’ve found new purposes for shelves, tables and stools, and also acquired a couple of new plant stands. This small bit of rearranging has made me realize how easy it is to change the functionality, appearance and flow of an indoor (or outdoor) space by utilizing plant stands.

A plant stand may seem to be an inconsequential object, but it can serve many purposes. Some plant stands serve as pieces of furniture or artwork in homes, giving a tasteful touch to the energy of a room. Of course, the main goal is to get the plant off the floor and onto an elevated surface of its own. Plants enhance our spaces,

they become part of it in many ways, but they’re not meant to get in the way. So finding stands that serve a space well is important.

One of the best attributes of a good plant stand is height. Quite often we need to situate a plant near a window or light source, and the closer we can get them to that source, the happier the plant will be. Tall plant stands are often found as wooden, metal, or ceramic pedestals. It’s important that the base of tall stands be heavy and sturdy as they can quickly become top heavy with a terracotta or ceramic pot.

Another functional perk of a good plant stand is multiple tiers. After separating a large dish garden this past year, I had eight small plants which I potted into 4 inch and 6 inch pots. Tiered stands make quick work of finding homes for numerous plants like these. They can also give a staggered look to a room, with some almost creating a living wall of greenery.

Local garden centers specialize in more uncommon types of plant stands. Winston-Salem garden shop House of Plants has the best selection of plant stands I’ve found anywhere. If you’ve ever visited this inspirational shop, you’re well aware of their intricate displays, unique garden décor and whimsical atmosphere. And they have a plentiful collection of plant stands in every possible material, size and shape.

In the greenhouse at House of Plants, they have tiered cast aluminum stands with elaborate scroll work. They have steel and metal stands that stand over 5 feet tall, as well as black wrought iron stands in different heights.

Scattered throughout the interior, House of Plants offers nesting sets, tiered corner sets, wooden tables, and concrete pedestals. Some plant stands are designed to hang, offering multiple levels of wooden troughs. Handmade rustic wooden pedestals are designed to be used as stools or as plant stands — these are truly one of a kind.

The staff and designers at House of Plants do a fantastic job of using plant stands to display their plants and merchandise — which inspires their customers and gives them a head full of ideas. They also envision plant stands out of furniture and large pottery, allowing visitors to see how simple items can transform into a distinctive housing for plants.

Creating your own stands is also a fun choice. The options for DIY plant stands are vast, which only employ a little bit of creativity and a clear vision. This can mean building your own wooden stand or re-purposing found objects.

If you’re willing to put in a little time and sweat equity, there are many designs online for building your own plant stands. Some involve copper pipe and concrete, others utilize wooden dowels and glue.

But my favorite plant stands are the found objects, the re-imagined items that make us tilt our heads and smile when we realize the genius of their dual value. My favorite plant stand is a waist-high wooden side table that was destined for the dump. The table top was trashed, so I affixed a new round cedar top to the base, which was all it took to make a stunning and functional plant stand.

Consider also objects you may have in your garage collecting dust that could function as a cool plant stand. Frames of medium or large lamp shades make great vessels for potted plants. Simple strip off the shade, snip a few wires around the center, and settle a plant into the middle of the frame. As long as the rim of your pot is a little wider than the frame circumference, it should nest nicely inside.

Other items that are easy to re-purpose for plant stands are dresser drawers, bar stools, caned chairs, piano stools and wooden ladders. One of the best I’ve seen lately is an decorative elevated pet feeder used as a plant stand. Remove the stainless water dishes, and voila! You’ve got two openings perfect for terracotta pots to slide into.

After gardening and keeping indoor plants for 20 years, I’ve sometimes had a hard time finding the perfect plant stand. But it’s refreshing to see so many options these days, and to be inspired by re-imagined objects.

Our houseplants and tropicals deserve their own space, and quite often appreciate being put on a pedestal.

If you have a gardening question or story idea, you can find Amy Dixon on Facebook at You can also send an email to her attention to Put gardening in the subject line. Or write to Amy Dixon in care of Features, Winston-Salem Journal, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101

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