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Greenhouse Window

Instead of spending the winter gazing through glass panes at frozen flower beds, transform a window into a mini-greenhouse where herbs, houseplants, and even little pots of grass will thrive. For best results, choose a large inset window that receives lots of light.




  • Measuring tape and ruler
  • 1/2-inch-thick piece of glass
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Hand saw
  • Molding
  • Sand paper
  • Electric drill
  • Wood putty
  • Paint
  • Felt dot or plastic glide


  1. Step 1

    To determine the dimensions of the shelves, measure the depth and width of the window frame, and subtract 1/2 inch from the width.

  2. Step 2

    Have a glazier cut a 1/2-inch-thick piece of glass to size for each shelf; for a more finished look, have the edges sanded. Using a level and a ruler for precision, make pencil marks where each shelf support should go, starting from the top of the window frame.

  3. Step 3

    Make supports out of molding, available at hardware stores: Using a hand saw, cut two lengths of molding for each shelf (the molding length should equal the depth of the frame). Sand the ends smooth.

  4. Step 4

    Drill three evenly spaced holes (just bigger than the head of a wood screw) in each support. Hold a support against the appropriate mark on the window frame, insert the bit of an electric drill through one of the holes, and drill a starter spot into the frame.

  5. Step 5

    Repeat for the other holes, then countersink screws so the heads don't show. Repeat for remaining supports. Fill holes with wood putty, sand smooth, and paint supports.

  6. Step 6

    Once paint dries, attach a felt dot or plastic glide to each support end, and set glass shelves in place.

Martha Stewart Living, February 2004



Reviews (14)

  • Natalie511 14 May, 2011

    I think I would use plexiglass instead of glass...easier to cut and you don't have to be as careful placing the pots on the shelf...

  • Sheryll 30 Oct, 2010

    I so very much want to do this, but my tiny house has absolutely no window depth. And with kitty kats, I just can not even dream of such a gorgeous window..... I sure would love it though!

  • Sissy 25 Jun, 2009

    Thanks for the clear instructions and great picture!

  • 812SAL 25 Jun, 2009

    Great idea!!....and keeps plants out of the reach of children and pets.

  • JMarsden 20 May, 2009

    I would love to add this to my beautiful house very soon. I would grow my new Zinnia's in there!

  • kmeisenheimer 16 Jan, 2009

    This is a great add on for an apartment! Bringing some of the outdoors in is always nice during the long winters.

  • skkymoon 8 Jan, 2009

    I love the idea but How do you clean your "swing in" windows? The supports would prevent the window from being opened in that way for cleaning?
    Any ideas would be helpful as the windows are 2nd story.

  • Pandamama 31 Dec, 2008

    Any suggestions on how to achieve this look if the window frame is flush to the wall?
    I have been wanting to have this project done but have moved from house to condo and have no depth to windowsill. Could glass shelves be placed on exterior of windows? Would love to present this to husband, but need some back up.

  • schoolgarden 24 Jul, 2008

    I love the clay pots...warm and inviting. I've been wanting to do this project for awhile now, but my husband just couldn't visualize. Now I have a picture to show him. Thanks!!

  • didi1966 4 Jun, 2008

    this is something for my kitchen window love the idea i love fresh herbs year round and if not beautiful candles,spices and even recipe books could do the trick

  • customlady 29 Feb, 2008

    My Mom's friend had something similar, which I copied. Use components from wall hung shelves. Mount a pair of the metal wall hardware on each side of the window. Buy short brackets to hold up each end of the glass shelf. Instead of or in addition to plants, put transluscent colored glass pieces (vases, bottles, etc). My window is over my kitchen sink and looks fabulous with the sun shining through.

  • palindrome 19 Feb, 2008

    ceramic color is classic. i love this. too bad I don't have inset windows.

  • nickio 29 Jan, 2008

    That looks fun I'm going to have to run that by my nana to try. you are right though that white would have looked better

  • asfinlay 27 Jan, 2008

    This would look especially nice if all the planters were white. Let more light in, too.