No Thanks
Keep In Touch With

Sign up and we'll send inspiration straight to you.

Martha Stewart takes your privacy seriously. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.


Adapting Vintage Planters


Ready old ceramic planters for use by hand-washing them with soap and water. Mineral deposits and water stains along the inner rims are easily removed with a gentle cleanser, such as Bon Ami. For more stubborn stains, scrub carefully with fine steel wool, taking care not to damage the glaze.

On our vintage metal tea tray, similar shades of blue unify planters of disparate styles. The container with an abstract leaf design holds cookies neatly beside a faux wood-grained "basket" of tea bags. A scalloped planter base makes a miniature tray for cups, while the companion planter has room for lemons and napkins. Sugar lumps nestle in a handsome blue glass planter. When teatime is over, the planters can earn their keep as storage containers on a pantry shelf.

The yellow planters on this page are a playful spin on more traditional bathroom accessories. Displayed on a metaland-glass table, they hold bottles of shampoo and liquid soap, sponges, bar soap, and hand towels. Tuck a new toothbrush, soap, and a washcloth into a planter and put it in the bathroom cupboard -- you'll have the perfect guest package ready at a moment's notice.

A few planters beside the kitchen sink can bring order to your cleaning supplies. Dish and hand soap, bottle and vegetable brushes, scouring pads and sponges all fit neatly into these colorful containers. At your desk, paper and binder clips, pens and pencils, notepaper, and even the stapler and hole punch will form an efficient workforce in a series of green or white planters (you may wish to line the bases with felt to avoid scratching the surfaces they stand on). And don't forget planters for playing cards, nuts, candies, score pads, and pencils. Bridge anyone?

A sunny collection of planters, in a variety of styles and sizes, organizes bathing essentials. To make a practical soap dish, we filled a planter with white beach pebbles, which let water drain to the bottom, leaving soap dry.

Multiuse Planters


  1. Step 1

Martha Stewart Living, May 2001

Reviews (11)

  • tica 7 Mar, 2011

    you may want to try warm vinegar berfore you use anything aabrasive as the gunk is usually just lime/calcium deposit from watering

  • deeanne5354 8 Oct, 2008

    I use a long container for brushes

  • beachgirlAZ 8 Oct, 2008

    I love this idea. I have been using these containers in my house for awhile. I use flower pots in my kitchen for utensils. I buy the pots on E-bay or in antique stores.

  • JessePiester 8 Oct, 2008

    eBay has tons of these. Pick a color or shape and put together a fabulous collection. The cheapest ones are the imperfect ones (fleabite chips, missing lids, etc.). Find a seller that has multiples listed so you save on shipping.
    I have used these in my office for years: holds biz cards, notepads, correspondence, pens. . . .

  • dianetavegia 8 Oct, 2008

    I see them at yard sales for 50 cents and had no idea what to do with them. This is a great idea. Recycle!

  • linzyfitzsimons 8 Oct, 2008

    Does anyone have any ideas as to where I may be able to find some of these containers? Antique stores? Thanks for the help!

  • DEINYA 8 Oct, 2008

    It looks like the tea table has a glass shelf. If it is to be used in the bathroom using clear lucite is a better option to prevent breakage or injuries. Also, the planters should be very stable, again to prevent breakage especially in a high use bath with youngsters or older persons. Deinya Mautz, Jacksonville, FL

  • shelleyj 8 Oct, 2008

    I have lots of those containers.....nice to see them used...I only use acouple....

  • CarolynRubenstein 8 Oct, 2008

    Love this idea :). I've used them as well all around the house for collecting loose change, pencils, and other little items that don't seem to have a home!! I love adding the pops of color!

  • tbalikes 8 Oct, 2008

    This is a wnderful idea that I have used for years, put them anywhere and they look great. I even have one at my front door for keys, change, etc...

  • tbalikes 8 Oct, 2008

    This is a wonderful idea that I have used for years, put them anywhere and they look great. I even have one at my front door for keys, change, etc...