3 Expert Tips To Choose A Decorative Bowl

Decorative bowls can make a stunning accent to countertops, end tables and dining tables. But with so many styles out there, how do you choose one? Below we'll cover which bowls work with different decorative purposes in mind, types and materials.

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How to place decorative bowls?  

To begin, there are a few interior tips to follow when placing decorative bowls. You should start by deciding how you plan to fit the bowl into your décor. This will help you narrow down which type of bowl you are looking for and where to put it. 

Decide if you want an accent piece or if you want the bowl to match the surrounding décor. If you want an accent piece, the bowl should stick out from the surrounding décor without clashing with it too much. For instance, the color of the bowl might match other accent color pieces in the room, like a bright blue shade on a throw pillow. Or a metal bowl might fit in with an overall industrial style, but still give some bright golden tones that pop in the space. Overall, an accent piece should stand out.

Bowls meant to stick out can work well on end tables and shelving, since they draw enough attention to be placed anywhere. But accent bowls can also work well on countertops and tables.

Bowls that match the surrounding décor do well on kitchen or dining tables and countertops. If you place them off to the side, they can blend in too much. Below are some of the major types of bowls and which styles they match well.

What types of decorative bowls are there?

When it comes to decorative bowls, you have many different types to choose from based on the look and material. The main categories include:

  • Decorative ceramic: These usually have a colorful, artsy finish and added geometric designs. Choose these for artsy homes or for bold accent pieces that are meant to stick out. 

  • Metal wire: These often have a see-through quality. Use these in modern or industrial spaces that work with austere materials. 

  • Solid metal: These have solid edges, often with a high sheen to them. These look good in modern or industrial spaces. Many are often highly ornamented for a classic look, which can look good in retro styles.

Ceramic Wave Decorative Bowl in Beige
Stone Ceramic Decorative Bowl
Metal Wire Industrial Decorative Bowl
Simple Gold Metal Decorative Bowl
Metal Industrial Decorative Bowl in Black
Silver Metal Coral 2 Piece Decorative Bowl
  • Carved: This style is carved from wood and usually looks handmade. It's great for rustic, country or classic spaces.

  • Glass: Glass bowls are great for displaying items inside them. They also look nice in sleek, modern styles.

  • Wicker: These combine the look of a handwoven basket and the shape of an accent bowl. They're good for classic styles that make use of handmade looks and high texture.

  • Abstract: These bowls have highly curved edges, sometimes to the point of not being able to display anything in the bowl. Choose these for artistic styles that make use of abstract art.

Carved Wood Decorative Bowl
Carved Teak & Aluminum Decorative Bowl
Red Glass Christmas Decorative Bowl
Glass Round Fruit Decorative Bowl
3 Piece Wicker Decorative Bowl Set
Abstract Silver Decorative Bowl
  • Dough bowls: These are long, short and narrow bowls that are typically made of wood. They look good in rustic or minimalistic spaces. 

  • Theme bowls: Some bowls are made to look like certain items, like a bowl might be shaped like a s'more or something else playful. Use these in artistic spaces, theme spaces or children's areas.

Oval Rustic Wood Dough Bowl
Light Wood Dough Decorative Bowl
Rustic Wooden Dough Decorative Bowl
Theme Decorative Bowls for Candles
Marble Ceramic Phone Amplifier Decorative Bowl
Glass Theme Decorative Bow for Fruits

What can decorative bowls be used for?

You can use a few different decorative methods with bowls. Each different bowl type works for a certain decorative purpose.

  • Accent piece bowl: One of the most common uses for decorative bowls is to place them on a shelf or table as an accent piece. Bright or bold colors and funky shapes work well for this attention-grabbing decorative use.

  • Fruit/potpourri display: The other main use for decorative bowls is to use them for displaying fruit, or possible potpourri. For fruit, choose a bowl you can see through, like an open wire design, so that you can see what's inside. Low-sided solid bowls can also work for fruit and potpourri.

Accent Metal Ring Decorative Bowl
Accent Metal Rectangle Decorative Bowl
Black Decorative Fruit Basket
Glass Ball Decorative Potpourri Bowl
Black and Gold Decorative Potpourri Bowl
Organic Wood Potpourri Decorative Bowl
  • Plants/flower display: High-sided bowls are best for displaying flowers, as the stems have room and the flowers can stick out of the top of the bowl. Plants that are surrounded in soil or stones, like succulents, can get away with wide-mouthed solid bowls of any height. 

  • Phone holder: A modern use of decorative bowls might be to place your phone, keys or other electronic device in them. A small decorative bowl with a narrow mouth can be good for this purpose. Make sure the material is sturdy, such as a thick ceramic.

Bubble Ball Decorative Bowl for Plants
Moose Antler Decorative Bowl for Plants
Simple Round Wooden Decorative Bowl for Plants
Llama Ceramic Phone Decorative Bowl
Violet Ceramic Phone Holder Decorative Bowl
Glass Stand Decorative Candle Bowl
  • Votive candle: Some people use decorative bowls to display votive candles. Look for a bowl made to fit a votive candle, as these will have a certain shape at the bottom to cradle the candle and often be short/open enough to display the candle. Clear bowls can also be good for water and floating votive candles. 

  • Multi-item: Another fun idea for decorative bowls is to place a full array of items inside, like books, a flower vase and a teacup. Large, low-sided bowls are great for this purpose, like a dough bowl.

Lily is a modern designer with great appreciation for sleek architecture, a love for art in its many forms, and a passion for sharing her experience with people. If you’re looking for advice on how to modernize your old-fashioned place or make your new restaurant a visual blast, she’s definitely the one to ask.