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indoor vertical garden using fake plants on kmart industrial ladder shelf

How to Create an Affordable Indoor Vertical Garden

I’m loving the recent trend of rocking an indoor vertical garden. But let’s face it; I’m by no means a DIY guru.

The best thing I’ve ever accomplished at home in the crafty realm was my recent Aldi furniture makeover. I was pretty impressed with that actually (no cuts, bruises or trips to the emergency room!). And it only made me want to do more hands-on things around the home.

But honestly guys; I wasn’t born with Tara Dennis-level skills in this area, so when it came time to create my own little indoor vertical garden, it had to be easy. I’m talking skill level zero kinda easy. Because anything above a skill level three is too-hard basket in my books.

For the vertical garden hack in today’s post, I’ve teamed up with budget style superstar Chelsea from I Heart Bargains and the team at Metricon to show you how you can easily jazz up your walls without spending much money. Or without buying art. Or without breaking a sweat.

Are you getting the impression that I’m not into hard work?

indoor vertical garden using kmart industrial ladder shelf and fake plants

Use Real or Fake, it Doesn’t Matter

You know I love me indoor plants, especially the fake ones. No real, bastard, hard-to-keep-alive fiddle leaf figs in this hack. And no expensive wall-mounted installation either. Which, come to think of it, makes this idea an amazing one for renters. No holes in the wall. No annoyed landlords. No bond being withheld! 

To create your own indoor vertical garden indoors, your first pit stop is Kmart. For this hack, we purchased two of their industrial ladder shelves. But if your wall is long enough you could squeeze three shelves in and really take your greenery game to new heights. If your local Kmart is out of stock, feel free to use any shelf in a similar colourway, from any retailer you like. 

And If your space is a bit smaller, go for one shelf only. The impact will be just as sublime, I promise.

With the shelves side-by-side, the idea is to pack in as many plants and ornaments onto it as possible. Thankfully Metricon’s Home Solution show home had oodles of artificial plants in each room, so we were blessed by the decor gods on the day.

I dish the dirt on the best places to get fake plants from in this post if you need.

kmart industrial ladder shelf used as an indoor vertical garden

Style with a Considered Colour Palette

The one piece of advice I can give you when styling shelves like these, is to consider the colour palette first. You’ll see here that we’ve gone for green, grey, black, white and some brown tones. All rather subdued right?

Keeping your palette neutral here will allow you to pack more onto the shelves without it looking cluttered or visually chaotic. More is definitely more in this look, but you gotta keep the colour palette streamlined.

The other thing I would suggest you do is buy larger ornaments. Too many little moments packed in can look dwarfed and too busy on the shelves. There’s a lot of space to fill heigh-wise, so ensure you have tall moments too.

Don’t Forget your Depth of Field

Another thing to consider is having homewares at different depths on the shelf rung. You don’t want to have pieces all in a row, at the same height. You’ll notice if you do this, it will feel odd right away. Make sure some are higher and wider than others, and that some are moved forward in the vignette, while others recede.

And lastly, make sure you have lots of pottery and ceramics with a matte finish. Pieces in a gloss finish can feel too glam and shimmery (and often less designer). And they can take away from the industrial, chilled-out vibes we’re going for here.

Oh, and please have fun with this

It can take time to work out what looks best and what’s not working, so don’t stress too much! You’ll find yourself moving things around on the shelf until you get it just right. And that’s totally OK.

Additional tips from on how to style shelves are in this post if you’re hungry for more.

kmart industrial ladder shelf indoor vertical garden ideas

In short, follow these styling rules:

  • Keep the colour palette neutral (or to four main colours)
  • Ensure ceramics are more matte than gloss
  • Have homewares at different heights and depts on the shelf
  • Make sure you have tall pieces to fill each shelf rung
  • Draping plants are also a great idea; cascading vertically

All in all, I really loved how this interior garden wall turned out. This makeover was a cheap one to implement, and you can use loads of homewares you already have around the house to dress the shelves if you’re budget is tight.

After we did this makeover I actually went and bought two of the same industrial shelves for my own home and adore them! So they get my real life, in-my-own-home seal of approval 😉

kmart industrial ladder shelf with plants on it

Happy styling and lemme know if you have any questions!

This post includes images and/or videos of Metricon display homes and events, reproduced with permission.  © Metricon Homes Pty Ltd 2016.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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6 Responses

  1. Beautiful creation! Thank you for sharing your work with us. It really helps us to start indoor planting by applying what you’ve done. How relaxing to see indoor plants arrange properly. Good job!

  2. Hi,
    Love this deign so much, I’m going to try and recreate it in my house
    Just wondering where the 2 black cubes that sit inside each other are from?

  3. Thank you for your ideas, ive found them inspirational and have found myself taking to a greener home, I can’t believe the different feels and looks I can get from plants alone.
    I’ve come across an online company called http://www.botancialhome.com.au they deliver to your door. The plants are amazing quality. I’ve found them to be so much better that the quality at Kmart especially if you need larger ones as you don’t want those ones to look like plastic when they are so big.

  4. Wow how amazing does that look – love all the textures and contrasts, just given me inspiration for all those different grey and neutral vessels and vases Ive collected, and a great idea to mix real and faux plants when you have an area that does not have much sun – just brilliant, many thanks

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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