If Your Home Lacks Sunlight, IKEA Has a Solution for Your Tiny Plant Babies

published Jul 9, 2023
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Credit: Erin Derby

Meher Goel lives in a 750-square-foot apartment in the East Village of New York City and considers her design style to be a mix of modern and eclectic influences with “a splash” of maximalism for good measure. Almost every inch of her home is colorful and boasts something special to look at. “I’ve lived across six countries, which has allowed me to borrow inspiration from all the cultures I’ve been lucky enough to carry with me,” Goel says in her house tour. “So the landscape and history those countries offer definitely inform my design choices.” 

Credit: Erin Derby

When asked about some of her favorite elements in her home, though, Goel hones in on her DIY projects — and her plant collection. Placed high and low, on tables, on the floor, and suspended from the ceiling, greenery takes center stage in Goel’s little slice of NYC to create an indoor jungle vibe. “Bringing the outdoors indoors acts as a catalyst to healing and helps me manage my anxiety while instilling a deeper sense of gratitude for life,” she says. While certain spots in her place get a decent amount of natural light for her plant babies, Goel’s had to get creative in other areas that aren’t quite as sunny. Case in point: Her IKEA RUDSTA hack, where she turned a glass cabinet into a small-scale greenhouse for an assortment of smaller plants. This project perfectly blends her love of plants with DIYing.

At 61 inches tall and 15.5 inches wide, the IKEA RUDSTA glass-door cabinet comes with three interior shelves and a fourth open shelf at the bottom for added storage. Because this cabinet’s mostly glass, Goel figured it’d be perfect for storing plants. Instead of leaving the cabinet as is and placing her plants on the existing shelves, though, she ordered acrylic greenhouse shelves from Etsy (similar to these), which fit the RUDSTA’s dimensions exactly and allow for more airflow through their ventilated design. They’re also triangle-shaped to accommodate taller plants. Goel also added grow lights to supplement the sun. Apparently, there’s a whole ecosystem of IKEA greenhouse hacks — others choose the MILSBO glass-door cabinet for a similar end result, but the RUDSTA is about half the price and smaller on the whole. 

“I planned almost every DIY project in this space with the intention of iterating on it when I got bored of it, further giving it another purpose,” Goel says. In the case of her cabinet turned greenhouse, she could move the whole unit to any spot of her choice and potentially change the finish of the frame with a little spray paint. Or she could remove the grow lights entirely and restyle the cabinet as a display case. The options for what she could choose to fill the shelves with are, seemingly, endless. 

If you live in a smaller space and are looking for a compact way to grow a few more plants, then this IKEA cabinet hack is a win-win. The tall, slim profile of the RUDSTA is perfect for small spaces, and its glass construction makes it an ideal home to adapt for indoor plants.