Home & Garden

Perk up displays with colorful pottery

Few of us like to completely remake our home's interior on a regular basis. But I'd guess that most of us like to tweak it every few months. One of the things I like to do most on my days off is play with the displays in my home. I frequently move favorite accessories from room to room, display to display, making room for new treasures.

Right now, those treasures are the colorful pots, bowls, vases and urns I discovered at market. Not only is the collection of pottery shockingly inexpensive, the pieces are both contemporary and timeless, which means they work well in any style of home.

Here are ways you can use perky pots to freshen up your home's interior displays.

I prefer a cleaner, simpler look on fireplace mantels, using just a few accents. To create an energetic mantel, we simply lined up three matching vases, alternating between sunny orange and azure blue. You could stick with just one color, but I thought this particular display needed something more to hold its own on the big mantel. So we placed a set of tall, thin vases on either end. The vases acted as bookends.

For another display, we arranged a mirror-image trio of ginger jars on each side of the mantel. Because of the room's striking yellow and gray upholstered furniture, geometric-patterned area rug and collage of mirrors, we kept the pottery neutral. You could keep up such a display all year long, perhaps adding tiny seasonal touches.

If you have a large hutch in your living room or family room, turn it into a statement piece by filling it with colorful pottery. Mix several colors, like green, yellow, orange and blue. Or pick one color and repeat it in new and interesting ways through several displays.

Taking our inspiration from the accent pillows on a sofa, we pulled together a selection of coral-colored pottery pieces in a hutch. To prevent the display from being too dark, we added a liberal amount of creamy-white pottery vases and urns.

The reason this display worked was the staging. We set off each mini tableau with a piece of framed art, casually leaned against the back of the shelf. Then we played around with the positioning of each pottery piece. Some pieces were elevated on risers like books or capitals. Others were tipped on their sides. Finally, we broke up the sea of shiny finishes by tucking in a few potted ferns and inserting rolled-up paper in the mouth of some of the urns. Thanks to the blend of textures, shapes and sizes, the hutch display was a head-turner.

Pottery is a great way to infuse a coffee-table display with color and substance, especially if your room is full of neutrals.

To give pottery something stable to stand upon — for example, an upholstered ottoman coffee table — we started one display on a sizable mirrored tray. A capital riser hoisted one of our pots, giving the scene visual height. We balanced the duo of pots by displaying a book wrapped in a jacket made out of a map. I liked how the map's colors reflected the bright blue and orange pots. Stacking books in the foreground softened all the hard surfaces and made the display look natural, not stuffy and staged.

As a huge fan of blue-and-white Asian pottery, I just had to demonstrate how to use this timeless classic in a contemporary setting. We leaned a mirror against the back of a large open compartment in a black bookcase. Next, we placed traditional ginger jars on either side. Then, we filled the space in between with a few pieces of modern pottery in a complementary white-and-blue glaze. Because the bookcase was so dark, we wove in some glass accents to give the display some snap, crackle and pop.

Another lovely bookcase needed a bit of color. So we removed a few books to make room for a selection of green pottery.

We decided to stick with one key color and shape for the simple display, but you could easily mix in pottery in an array of colors and shapes.