What to Put In Planters Beside Plants?

Posted by Jason Wyrwicz on Apr 9th 2024

When a plant that you did your best to take care of dies, not only sadness remains, but also an empty planter - and while it can obviously be used for the next plant to grace your home, there are actually many alternative uses you can utilize your planter for if you don’t want to plant anything in it for the time being.

What are those? That’s what we’ll be talking about here, so if you’re curious about what to put in planters beside plants, we have the answer for you.

Indoor Empty Planters Ideas

  • Side Table
  • Wastebasket
  • Umbrella Holder
  • Guest Slipper Holder

Outdoor Empty Planters Ideas

  • Toy Storage
  • DIY Bird Bath
  • Swimming Pool Storage
  • Garden Tool Storage
  • Drink Cooler

Side Table

Is the planter you are planning on re-using on the larger side? Then you can use it to make a side table. Simply put a top over it - one made of glass will look elegant while blending in with the background, but you can choose whatever color and material option you want. For example, you can go a completely different way and repaint your planter a fun color and then add a top in another lively shade, making the side table the focal point of the space.

Both round planters and rectangular planters will work great for this DIY project. While we would recommend using lower planters simply for convenience, using tall planters should be fine as well.

side table

Toy Storage

Do you have kids or pets, and their toys lying around everywhere in the backyard are driving you crazy? You can use an old large planter for storage! It’s a win-win situation if you think about it - the planter will be put to use, while you will have a clean backyard (at least for a moment).

Cleaning them will also become easier, as all you’d have to do is place all the toys in the planter within your reach instead of taking them back inside - not to mention that it won’t interfere with your garden’s aesthetic as regular plastic containers would.

DIY Bird Bath

diy bird bath

While your plant won’t be able to make use of it anymore, a tall planter can be a great base for creating a DIY bird bath. All you need, aside from the said planter, is a saucer (that’s where the water will be) and something to hold both parts together, for example, construction adhesive. That’s all!

Swimming Pool Storage

Large planters can be a lifesaver when it comes to storing essential swimming pool items like towels in an easily accessible place. This is especially useful for sunscreen bottles, which cannot be exposed to sunlight as it can degrade the ingredients in them that protect you from getting burned, eventually preventing the sunscreen from doing its job.

swimming pool storage


This one might be the least aesthetically pleasing project on this list, but it’s still very much useful in a home. If your planter is cracked, or you just don’t think it will fit any of your spaces that well, you can always use it as a wastebasket.

Just make sure to put something under the actual trash bag so that in case anything leaks out of it, it won’t ruin the planter permanently - who knows, you might change your mind in the future and want to actually display it somewhere.

Garden Tool Storage

If you don’t have a shed but still take care of your garden and would like to have a place to keep the smaller garden tools in, you can repurpose the planter and turn it into a tool storage. We would recommend using outdoor planters for this because of their weather-resistant properties, but if you have an indoor planter instead, it should work, too.

To make sure that they won’t get rusty, add sand to your planter and mix in a little bit of vegetable oil. The oil will create a protective layer on the metal’s surface, preventing the rust from forming.

Drink Cooler

This is a rather unusual use of a planter, but nonetheless useful when you don’t have a portable drink cooler on hand. Simply put a lot of ice into it, and place your bottles into the ice bath. If you want to make the cleaning process easier, you can put a plastic bag under the ice so that once it melts, you can just grab the bag to dump the water, but not using it is fine, too. Large planters and long planters will work best in this case, but you can try it with others as well.

Drink Cooler

Wood Holder

If you have a fireplace but no place to keep the wood and don’t want to purchase a wood holder, you can use a larger planter for it. Long planters will be able to hold more wood at once, but regular large planters should work just fine in this case, too.

Umbrella Holder

Have nowhere to place your wet umbrella after coming home during rain? Tall planters can solve this issue for you. Simply put it next to your front entrance, so that the next time you come home all wet, at least you will have a place to let your umbrella dry in peace.

This idea will also work great for your office. If you have an empty office planter lying around, why not use it for your clients and anyone else visiting the office?

Guest Slippers Holder

If whenever someone visits you, you prefer for them to remove their shoes, then you would consider using an old planter as a holder for guest slippers or socks. Keep it in the entryway, and if you want to, you can also add a sign above to make sure that no one will mistake what the planter is standing there for.

Guest Slippers Holder

What To Do Before Repurposing the Planter

Regardless of what you decide to do with your planter, it’s important that you clean it properly since it did have a plant and soil in it. Wipe it down to remove any dirt, and make sure that there is no leftover soil inside the planter.

Check whether it has any cracks and if it can be repaired - while in most cases it won’t affect whether you’ll be able to use it, you might have to fix the cracks before anything involving water. Depending on the state of your planter, you can sand it down and paint it to give it a second life.

Once your planter is all cleaned and ready, you can pick what you want to do with it - pick one of the ideas mentioned above or come up with something on your own.

The Bottom Line

Even if your plant dies and you don’t want to plant another one any time soon, it doesn’t mean that you have to throw your planter away. As you can see, there are actually plenty of ways you can repurpose it, giving them a second chance. Decide which one will be the most suitable for what you need, and give your planters an opportunity to shine again - just in a different role.