How to Decorate with Unexpected Planters


I only bring plants into my home that will withstand some major abuse and neglect.  My Mother-in-Law’s Tongues literally thrive under my black thumb and my new Fiddle Leaf Fig is showing signs that he’s going to survive my household, too.

I love easy plants, but I hate traditional plant pots.  I’m not a fan of orange terra cotta, and the painted pots I find are either not my style or way too expensive.  I do have a few black pots and gray pots, but I can only have so many of those around, you know?

Lately, I’ve started gathering unexpected items to use as planters, and I’m loving the quirk they are bringing into my home!  For all of them, I leave the plant in the plastic pot it came in and put that right inside the planter.  That way, I can just take the plastic pot out of my planter and put it directly into my sink to water and drain.

Here are some of my new favorite “planters”:


On the left is a brass-plated bowl I found for a few dollars at the thrift store.  These were popular in the 80s and 90s, and people tend to be getting rid of them now because they are “old.”  Good thing I love them.  I grab every one I see.

In the middle is a little cuffed fabric bin from The Container Store.  It was $6 and the cuff is adjustable.

On the right is a trash can.  Yep, it’s called the Oscar Crunch Can (doesn’t it look like Oscar’s can?) and is also from The Container Store.  How fun is it used as a planter?  It was $10.


In this image, the left plant is in an actual pot that I bought years ago – I think from JoAnn.  I gave it some funk by putting it in another thrifted brass-plated bowl.

The larger plant is in another Container Store find – and possibly my favorite.  The White Trim Paper Bin is made from recycled paper and coated in plastic so that it doesn’t tear.  You can fold it over as much as you want – or not at all.  It was $25 which is a bit much for a planter, but I think it was worth it for this one.  I mean, who puts a plant in a paper sack?  Lindsay does.


When I bought my Fiddle Leaf Fig at Ikea (yep, Ikea), I found this red bucket for $8.  It’s a perfect fit and I love the green and red together.

I don’t have all of my plants displayed together, but I put them together for ease of photographing.  It’s kind of like my own quirky little forest!


Do you have your plants in traditional pots or something a little more unexpected?  What do you think about these?

Filed Under: Decorate Your Home, Project Gallery

About Lindsay Ballard

Lindsay Ballard is a former college mascot turned political geek turned DIY fanatic who is conspiring to live in a Technicolor dream world. Her designs are bold and graphic, while her spirit is fun and full of color. Lindsay chronicles her projects and design ideas here at Makely, where she shares daily tutorials and inspiration. Lindsay lives outside of Austin, Texas with her husband (Tom), children (Zack and Emma) and dogs (Jack and Duke).


  1. Lo-ove the paper bag planter, so clever!

  2. Julia@Cuckoo4Design says:

    So great! I just bought a copper fabric storage container from H&M and will use it as a planter.

  3. SO fun and unexpected :)

  4. These are great! I never have enough containers for all my plants

  5. I have four plants in paper sacks right now! Another plan is in a vintage ice bucket I picked up for 2.00. I have also used a broken floor lamp in the past for a lamp. I retired that one when I had kids!

    Love your stuffs!

  6. I typically think traditional planters are boring too. Love your creativity!!