Shopping for Decorative Bowls

Whether they’re holding fruit, mail or nothing at all, decorative bowls add visual interest to a room. (The Echasse bowl by Theresa Arns, above, is about $300 at MenuDesignShop.)

When your decorating is mostly finished, and the major pieces of furniture are in place, details like decorative bowls often help pull it all together.

“They’re something we use all the time to add a finishing layer,” said Catherine Kwong, a San Francisco-based interior designer who searches out statement-making bowls, both vintage and new, to accessorize rooms.

“Especially in a more minimal space,” she said, “it’s a nice way to add a sculptural silhouette or another layer of texture or color.”

In the kitchen, they can serve as interesting fruit bowls, while on an entry console or bedside table they can be used as catch-alls. Ms. Kwong, however, frequently leaves the bowls empty, placing them on stacks of books or alone on coffee tables.

“I use them as decorative objects,” she said. “Almost like sculptures.”

• Is it possible for a bowl to be too perfect? In a word, yes. Unlike ordinary mixing bowls, decorative bowls are better if they have handmade imperfections, natural textures and free-form glazes, Ms. Kwong said.

• Will it be a permanent addition to a room? “A bowl can be a nice update piece to refresh a room,” Ms. Kwong said, noting that it can easily be swapped out with other accessories to keep things fresh.

• Decorative bowls can serve multiple functions: Many are food safe, so in a pinch, they can work as serving pieces.

Powder-coated cast aluminum bowl by Fort Standard | $110 at FS Objects: 718-576-2204 or


Slip-cast marbled stoneware bowl | $210 at Helen Levi:


Smoked-glass bowl with brushed brass stand by Theresa Arns | About $300 at MenuDesignShop:


Hand-formed glass bowl with iridescent finish | $340 at Tom Dixon: 212-228-7337 or


Cream-colored marble bowl with chunky base | $195 at Jayson Home: 800-472-1885 or

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