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Add Plants & Privacy: DIY Glass Window Shelving System

updated Jul 23, 2020
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(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Need more room for your growing plant collection? Need more privacy for one of your windows? This DIY shelf idea can give you both. And it’s a particularly great idea for those living in small homes with limited space.

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(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Sarah had asked her designer Lei Lester for a privacy screen on her bedroom window in her Cape Town apartment…only she wanted it made of plants! After showing Sarah an inspiration photo from Martha Stewart, Lei and Sarah decided glass shelves were the way to go.

For this project, strips of tempered glass about 3/4″ thick are anchored to the sides of the window frame by stainless steel holders screwed into the wood frame. If you have a standard-size window frame, glass shelves available through hardware stores or online may be a fit for your window. Or, you might have to get the glass cut custom like Lei and Sarah did for this project.

(Image credit: Lana Kenney)

Lei reports that the types of brackets they used are similar to the ones used to secure glass shower screens to walls in bathrooms. “The brackets you can find at most hardware stores and are specially designed for glass or shelving to slide into, and then you screw them together to hold the shelf in place.” They chose a stainless steel bracket option (not pictured), but fortunately for those who love detail, you can really geek out on brackets for a project like this. I learned today that this kind of hardware comes in a dizzying array of styles and finishes (even space-aged looking ones). Be sure that whichever brackets you choose aesthetically fit the thickness of the glass shelf, as well as have a clamping/tightening action (versus needing pre-drilled holes in the glass shelf).

The final element in Sarah’s plant privacy window is the glass column in the middle that adds more sturdiness to the whole setup. The vertical middle glass piece is glued to the horizontal glass shelves with silicone adhesive sealant to give it a seamless connection.

It’s a surprisingly simple DIY project that could add both privacy and room for more plants! But just remember the most important detail: “I’d recommend some research on the weight that a single glass shelf could bear and testing the shelves before loading them up,” says Sarah.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

But just like there’s more than one way to bake a cake, so too are their different ways to create your own “greenhouse” window at home.

  • You could follow the directions from Martha Stewart.
  • This tutorial from While Wearing Heels looks easy to follow, as well.
  • This tutorial from Pretty Handy Girl is similar.
  • Or you could skip the bracket installing inside the window frame and install some shelves around your window instead, like the example above.