During the pandemic, plant stores have seen an influx of new gardeners in local areas. It’s no surprise that since we’ve been stuck indoors, we’ve all become mini interior designers. As we modify our homes to maximize comfort or productivity (Hello, new home office! ), Plants have come in handy time and time again to give our rooms the perfect finishing touch. Many of us came to wonder, what happens when your small hobby becomes a major obsession?
When the pandemic started, I was a proud parent to about 40 plants. Now, I have roughly 100, not counting my plant “projects” consisting of various propagation babes. Needless to say, my hobby grew quite a bit. I could see that I was beginning to run out of room on windowsills and side tables. I first thought I could just switch to hanging baskets, but I quickly ran out of room for those, as well. My saving grace turned out to be Tiktok!
I saw the above video and thought it was a clever way to maximize space. I thought it could be a great eye-catching piece of furniture that would also serve a great purpose. Who wouldn’t want to have their own greenhouse in their living room? I was beyond excited to start this project!
I LOVED this Tiktok video because he really laid out how to do each part to turn this Rudsta cabinet into a functioning greenhouse. It was a great foundation to use for creating my own! If you’re interested in doing this project yourself, I have some amendments that I would add to help:
- When you’re using the matte enamel spray on the glass pieces, invest in some masking tape. He states in the video that you could just rub off the enamel on the glass, but if it dries…it becomes very challenging to remove. Masking tape can greatly assist in keeping your glass clean. Also, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to spray a couple light layers of the enamel for extra protection.
- The bottom of the Rudsta cabinet is metal. Use eye protection when creating the hole for your cords, make sure the torque you’re using on your drill is appropriate, and use oil so you don’t wear down your drill bit. Take your time and be careful!
- DO NOT use all the weather stripping recommended in the video. Weather stripping is great and is essential if you want to have control over the temperature and humidity inside the greenhouse. However, when you look at actual greenhouses, you see that a lot of them don’t actually use glass but instead rely on polycarbonate or other various materials. This is because glass can form an airtight greenhouse, making it hard for gasses to be exchanged. having a continuous flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide is essential for plants to successfully execute photosynthesis necessary for it to thrive. I’ll attach a Tiktok video I made to explain more, but in summary, don’t weatherstrip every nook and cranny. I left some parts open deliberately so the unit can still “breathe” so to speak.
- Give yourself a few days to mess around with the humidifiers, fans, and whatever equipment you store inside. I have two temperature and humidity monitors, one on the top corner where the light is not directly hitting it, and one on the bottom shelf in a similar position. This ensures that I know whats happening throughout the unit. you want your unit to have a humidity around 60-70% and temperature in the 50-70 degree F range. Take a while to get into the rhythm so you know when you should cut on the humidifier on and for how long to let it run.
- Spice racks! Spice racks from Amazon can add a great touch. These magnetic shelves have been great for my tiny guys, so I could save a little space for my bigger pots.
Right now, I have two humidifiers, one fan, one dehumidifer, and the two monitors inside. I think I’ll be tinkering with what I use often because I can’t ever stop tweaking it, but thats just me! Your setup might be completely different, so let your greenhouse have your own touch of personality!
Once I finished everything, I thought it looked very…black. It just looked bland and didn’t have the pop of personality I wanted. Enter preserved moss!
In order to make the unit look more natural and wild, I started to take a look at adding moss. I originally wanted to find a way to install living moss, and it can be done, but the maintenance and upkeep was something I didn’t want to commit to. I wanted an easy, natural, forest vibe that wasn’t going to distract me from the maintenance of the actual houseplants stored inside. Preserved moss is certainly a fun thing to use in terrariums, so I decided to turn my greenhouse into one big terrarium, so to speak! This is still a work in progress, but by super gluing different tones of natural moss and small pieces of driftwood, I can get a more 3D feel that reminds me that all of the houseplants contained inside originate from different homes and climates. Certainly, this added some necessary pizzaz to my new favorite piece of furniture!
All in all, transforming an Ikea cabinet into a greenhouse was a lot of fun! It was challenging, but was a fun way for me to think deeply about what makes a greenhouse what it is and how to create the best environment for my plants. I’m already itching to put another one in my bedroom!