DIY: A faux terrarium for your real life


Want to make your space look inviting? Bring in the green stuff — and we don’t mean money! Plants add texture, depth, color, and a natural element to a space, and there are plenty of affordable, low-maintenance options to fit your style.

faux succulent plant

Image courtesy of


We’re particularly fond of terrariums. There’s just something about the contrast between glass and green that makes our hearts happy. Air plants and succulents are the darlings of the interior design world for a reason: they’re gorgeous and they’re super easy to work with. When we’re trying to keep our living spaces looking luscious — despite the fact that we’re actually living in them — low-maintenance is paramount.
Then there are those of us that prefer to opt for no maintenance, and that’s ok too. There are some major benefits to going faux and with all the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Alive! “silk” options out there, you can rock your terrarium game minus the plant-parent angst. Winning!


Why go faux?

  • Zero maintenance is a delightful amount of maintenance.
  • Don’t let your plants be the boss of you. Put your terrarium where you want it. Natural light optional.
  • No risk of damaging your stuff with water. Your bookshelf or tabletop will breathe a sigh of relief.
  • Fly it high! We love hanging terrariums from the ceiling to draw the eye upwards, but step stools + watering cans aren’t always the best combo (in our experience). Hang it once, then step away from the ladder.



1. It’s all about the container

A great terrarium is all about the packaging so we start with a container and go from there. We always keep our eyes peeled while thrifting for a funky vessel to fill with green goodness. Since you’re using faux plants, your container doesn’t even need to be watertight! We’ve made terrariums out of everything from conch shells to hollowed-out plastic dinosaurs (CrazyCouture sells some awesome ones in their Etsy shop).


We found this geometric vessel at good ol’ Target


2. Get creative with fillers

Sand makes an effortless neutral background for succulents and conforms easily to the shape of your container. If you’re not geographically blessed enough to live with a stroll of the beach, you can buy sand from a craft supply store (check the candle department) or order some on Etsy. You can also use pebbles, marbles, sea glass… get creative!

Sand (1)

Don’t hate us because we walked to the beach to get sand!


3. Layer plant height, textures, and colors for a natural look

We recommend starting with three different plant species, mixing height, textures, and colors. We found a great selection on, or you can try a floral supply store or large craft store like Hobby Lobby or Michaels.

  • Measure your container and compare to the size of your plants for a good fit.
  • In nature, plants overlap a little. Try a few different arrangements until you achieve a natural, organic look.

Finished product (1)

Check out that overlapping action!

4. Style in your space

Because you don’t have to worry about making your plants happy, you can choose a home for your terrarium that makes you happy! We like a terrarium perched atop a stack of books, a coffee table tray, mantle, or on a table in the entryway. You could even suspend one (or two or three) from the ceiling.

image 1

All styled up!


Do it North Fork Style: Add a little something!

Depending on the look you’re going for, a miniature figure, crystal, shell, tiny toy, or other object of interest can add personality to your terrarium or spark a happy memory. The key is to keep the object small in proportion to your plants — something you’d only notice if you looked closely. A little whimsy never hurt anyone!


We found this little lady in the TierraSolStudio Etsy Shop. LOVE.



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