ENCHANT YOUR ROOMS WITH VINTAGE PLANT STANDS
Looking to elevate your variegated vines, lift your fiddle leaf fig, hoist your hothouse orchids, or give your bonsais a boost? Yes, a dresser or console could handle the job efficiently enough, but why not consider a piece crafted specifically for the task? Enter: the plant stand. An oft-overlooked, but never outmoded piece of design, the plant stand dates to the mid 19th century. The plant stand’s genesis can be directly linked to the Industrial Revolution. As mass manufacturing capabilities increased, the ability to create more specialized goods for the home also increased, leading to manufacturers creating specialized products like the plant stand.
Victorians, especially, known for their adoration of all things worldly, loved plants and used them in abundance to vivify their homes. The Victorians considered plants to be symbolic of moral values and emotions, and in turn, developed a comprehensive “language of flowers.” Guidebooks from the era designate various flora and fauna as symbols of devotion, love, sorrow, remembrance, or hope. Which is all to say, that Victorians revered the ability to give their plants prominence in their homes.
In the late 19th century, plant stands could be purchased in virtually any style desired, from the reigning Victorian style to revival styles like Neoclassical, Rococo, or even Baroque. Construction materials also varied, ranging from wicker to wire, which is why it’s common to find antique plant stands in such a wide array of materials today. Victorians maintained no limits on how and where plant stands could be used in the home. Window gardens were common in the era, as all that was required was a sunny aperture plus an army of verdant botanicals. Plant stands doubled the amount of plants that a single window could accommodate, thereby earning their keep as household must-haves.
Today, plant stands are more novelty than necessity, yet they remain a back-pocket design trick of many top designers who love to deploy them as an unexpected way to add height to a room. In an askew space, they can also provide balance when used in pairs. For beginners, consider them anywhere you’d naturally feel inclined to drop a fiddle leaf fig.
5 WAYS TO PERCH A PLANT
Folding Tiered Plant Stand
Those looking for the most bang for their buck will likely be endeared by vintage folding plant stands with multiple tiers. Operating similar to stage risers, these vintage stands unfold to reveal multiple levels prime for situating potted plants. Since these vintage plant stands tend to be larger in size than most other designs, use them outdoors on a porch, or in a sunroom. Pre-war urban apartments with no outdoor space but a sunny bay window to spare could also make use of a tiered plant stand. In a bay window situated off a kitchen, deck one out with culinary-friendly herbs like thyme, oregano, and basil. For a bedroom or living room-facing window, fill the tiers with leafy low-liers like bird’s nest ferns, prayer plants, and rubber plants. Not only will these specimens help to nurture a city dweller’s green thumb, but they'll also act a privacy screen.
Plinth Plant Stand
One can always make a case for the classics, and the plinth or columnar plant stand is no different. An easy, effortless shape that will add a storied feel to virtually any interior, a plinth plant stand imparts instant sophistication without any of the accompanying clutter of lattice-y wire or leggy wood stands. Use a plinth plant stand to anchor a bay window, or adorn an outdoor garden path. While there are no hard rules to be obeyed with plant stands, consider topping plinth plant stands with a fern or something equally drapey to soften its rigid silhouette. Alternatively, think of balancing plinth with a plant that mimics the shape of a bust (which, if you’ll recall, are plinth’s other main hoisting gig). A full, upwards canopy that echoes a bust can lend some balancing symmetry.
Table Plant Stand
Easy enough to mistake for a “tall table,” table plant stands may not be the most daring perches on the block, but they do pedestal plants like a champ. Table plant stands generally have either a traditional four-legged base or a pedestal base. Among table plant stands, Chinese plant stands are a common find. Frequently crafted of rich woods like rosewood or mahogany, these tables often come equipped with curvy silhouettes that mimic an hourglass or ginger jar. With that in mind, use them anywhere you might use a ginger jar, as they have similar curvature and intricacies.
Stool Plant Stand
Need a plant stand always hover over all the other furniture in a room? Not at all. Stool-sized plant stands generally fall somewhere between a pouf and a proper footstool height-wise, making them ideal for integrating into a conversation pit. Dock one next to an armchair similar to how you would a pouf and you’ve created arresting visual interest in a flash. Choose a stool-style plant stand in a durable material like ceramic or tight-woven wicker with a flat, ridge-less top and your plant stand can double as extra seating during a get-together. With that in mind, consider plugging “garden stools” into your search bar if you’re looking for stool-style plant stands, but aren’t finding anything that suits your fancy. In most cases, ceramic garden stools will sub gamely for plant stands. Plus, they tend to showcase more decorative designs than the common plant stand, too.
Basin Plant Stand
As perennially popular as the annuals and perennials they’re meant to spotlight, basin plant stands are perhaps the most ubiquitous of all plant stands. As they’re often made of wood or metal, basin-style plant stands are pieces that don’t take up a lot of visual space. Their slim, tripod-like form makes them easy to slip into tight quarters like powder rooms or hallways—anywhere that might benefit from a bit of greenery but lacks the space for a substantial piece of furniture. As a bonus, basin plant stands can be ingeniously reinvented should your black thumb get the better of you. Devoid of plants, a basin plant stand can be repurposed for holding anything from towels to champagne!