Very few of us like to completely remake our home’s interior on a regular basis. But I’d venture a guess that most of us like to give it a tweak every few months. One of the things I enjoy doing most on my days off is playing with the displays in my home. I frequently move my favorite accessories from room to room, display to display, making room for a few new treasures I couldn’t live without.

Right now, those treasures are the colorful pots, bowls, vases and urns I discovered at market. Not only is this collection of pottery shockingly inexpensive, the pieces are both contemporary and timeless, which means they work well in any style home. Here are four ways you can use these perky pots to freshen up your home’s interior displays …

Razzle-Dazzle Your Mantel

I prefer a cleaner, simpler look on fireplace mantels right now, using just a few accents to achieve a big look. Nothing gives you more bang for your buck than colorful pottery. To create this energetic mantel, we simply lined up three matching vases, alternating between sunny orange and blue. The color and repetition grabs your eye, doesn’t it? You could also feature the vases all by themselves or stick with just one color. But I thought this display needed something more to hold its own on this big mantel. So, we placed a set of tall, thin silver vases on either end. I like how the silver vases act as bookends, pulling together the artwork above and the pottery below.

We went for a transitional look on this mantel. We paired a trio of ginger jars on each side of the mantel, making each side a mirror image of the other. Because there is so much color and pattern in this room, with the striking yellow and gray upholstered furniture, geometric patterned area rug and collage of mirrors, we decided to keep the pottery neutral. You could keep up this display all year long, perhaps adding tiny seasonal touches if you wanted to.

Create a Head-Turning Hutch

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 together several different colors, like green, yellow, orange and blue. Or, pick one color and repeat it in new and interesting ways through several displays, like we did here.

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

The reason this displays works, and isn’t boring or busy, is 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, this hutch display is a head-turner.

Shake up Your Coffee Table

Pottery is a great way to infuse your coffee table display with color and substance, especially if your room is full of neutrals, like this one at Nell Hill’s Briarcliff. And since the pottery is so inexpensive, it’s a great choice for a high-traffic area like a coffee table because if it gets bumped and breaks, you won’t be out a fortune.

To give the pottery something stable to stand upon on this upholstered ottoman coffee table, we stared the display on a sizable mirrored tray. We used a capital riser to hoist one of our pots, giving the scene visual height. We balanced the duo of pots by placing a hurricane on the left side of the display, filling it with a book wrapped in a jacket made out of a map. I like how the colors in the map subtly reflect the bright blue and orange pots. The stack of books in the foreground softens up all the hard surfaces and makes the display look natural, not stuffy and staged.

Wake Up Boring Bookcases

Since I’m such a huge fan of blue and white Asian pottery, I just had to show you an example of how to use this timeless classic in a more contemporary setting. We leaned a unique mirror against the back of a large open compartment in this black bookcase. Next, we placed traditional ginger jars on either side. Then, we filled in the space between the ginger jars with a few pieces of modern pottery that feature a complementary white and blue glaze. Because the bookcase is so dark, we wove in some glass accents to give the display some snap, crackle and pop.

This 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 this simple display, but you could easily mix in pottery in an array of colors and shapes. These cute pots are not just fun, they are functional, working perfectly as bookends.

Next Week … The right accent lamps can infuse your décor with personality. I’ll share some tips for picking the perfect lamps for your home.

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24 Responses to “Perk up Displays with Colorful Pottery”

  1. patricia opie Says:

    if this terrible light bulb law takes effect, we will not be able to light up our homes in a cozy and pretty way. it is a cold blue light and not a warm incadescent light. i do hope it is repealed. pat

  2. Charla Vinyard Says:

    I ordered the fat blue pot with a lid and the cute handles for my living area, which has muted browns and other neutrals, and it is such a nice touch! It is a spot of color that sparks the setting beautifully! Thanks, Mary Carol, for selling it online so I could get it from Texas!

  3. Karin Says:

    @ patricia Those “terrible” light bulbs are helping to save the planet for my children and future generations. FYI, the newer ones cast a yellow light that is indistinguishable from the old-style energy eaters. Get with the program.

  4. Sherrie Says:

    Let’s keep politics off this site, Karin.

  5. Jan Says:

    Karin, you are so right! The new law will just mandate a greater energy efficiency, and the manufacturers are free to achieve that however they see fit. And yes, there are new, energy-efficient bulbs with the look of incandescent in the works that will blow you away. Please don’t take the bait of the “tea-baggers” and assume that if it’s new, efficient and forward-thinking, it’s scary, and somehow dangerous. Put your big-girl panties on!

  6. Robie taylor Says:

    Is there any retail outlet in Wichita or KC where your Mary Carol line is sold that would still have the burlap and velvet or black or brown houndstooth round tablecloths available for sale. Twigs was the only outlet I was familiar and they are gone so would appreciate other suggestions

  7. Mari Says:

    Pat ~ The House repealed the law to make florescent light bulbs mandatory, the Senate didn’t. There are other reasons to dislike this ugly bulb: because it contains mercury, it’s problematic to dispose of; also, it can’t be made in the U.S. (too expensive), and as a result GE has to completely shut down its bulb manufacturing plants. The sad thing is that there are much better alternatives that could have been produced here in the United States.

  8. Market St. Consignment House Says:

    I have one of Mary Carol Houndstooth table cloths.
    I love buying her items at Dallas Market for our store.
    I have share Nell’s Hill web site with all of my customer.

  9. Sue Bingeman Says:

    I have been looking through the online catalogue in an effort to fine and purchase a capital riser as soon in this blog (and an earlier one). I can’t find it – can you help me? I’ve looked carefully throught the “Accents.” Thanks so much and I always enjoy this blog and am inspired by it!

  10. Sue Bingeman Says:

    I have been looking through the online catalogue to find the capital riser shown in this blog and an earlier one. I can’t locate it – can you please help me? I looked carefully through the “Accents” but could not locate it there.
    Thanks so much for the inspiration you provide and I wish I lived close to your stores but I have all your books!

  11. Becky Says:

    Is there no blog left to visit that is free of partisan name-calling? There are two sides to every issue, and this is not the place to hash that out. Let’s conduct ourselves as ladies, please.

  12. Kent Says:

    Hi could tell me about the pieces in the back of the bookcase with blue and white jars, they seem to be rectangle shape plaques, ??????
    I would like to know if the are for sale.
    Thanks Kent

  13. Jeanette Duke Says:

    Thank you Becky, It is nice to go to blogs where politics are not the topic. We don’t have many places to go anymore that it isn’t. Nell Hill’s is a wonderful and fun place to come and enjoy playing house— as my husband calls it.

  14. nickie Says:

    I notice comments ALL of the time on the blog that are people wanting to purchase basic Nell Hill’s items that maybe aren’t offered in their online store. Granted, if you haven’t experienced Nell Hill’s, do make it a priority, it is worth the plane ticket! That said, I would love to help those of you out, if the store is unable. Maybe through paypal?

  15. Rosalie Says:

    Jan, according to Mari, you haven’t been doing your homework. Patricia opie, never mind women like Jan, they’re just bitter liberals who disregard the feelings of others. Jan, do you wear “big girl panties” because you’ve been eating too much? You definitely talk too much.
    Peace out!

  16. Betty Says:

    If we don’t get things straightened out in D.C. pretty soon, we’re not going to have any of our fortunes left to buy all these pretties. Maybe it’s time we do pay attention to politics! MANY people are VERY distressed–that’s WHY you are seeing this talk on blogs everywhere. I have hope for a future in 2012– love shopping at Mary Carol’s!!!

  17. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Kent–That was actually a very unique mirror that we sold at the Briarcliff/Kansas City store.

  18. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Nicki and others—Thank-you for the kind remarks concerning our stores. If something is shown on the blog, facebook or website and not available online we would be most happy to handle your questions and requests at the stores. Please call 877-746-4320 for your merchandise requests.

  19. Mary Carol Says:

    Sue–I am so sorry for the inconvenience of the ‘risers’ not available online. Unfortunately, at the moment we have ‘sold out’ at the stores. Hopefully, we will get them again soon. Feel free to call for more information and updates—877-746-4320.

  20. nancy grass Says:

    Well Girls, the only light bulb I see is the one going off in my head with all the wonderful ideas. Love the new pottery! My bags are already packed for the fall open house (coming from Arkansas, promise to put my shoes on when I reach the Kansas state line) Have my big girl panties packed ’cause I plan to eat plenty at the cute cafe on the corner. Can’t wait ! Keep up the good work Mary Carol.

  21. deb wattenberg Says:

    this is so sd…..mary carol created this site so we could have ideas & items that beautify our homes. the light bulb situation gave me an idea–keep big central gubment out of our lives. let’s utilize this site to enjoy creative expression in our homes. ‘o’ will go with this craze & we can all get back to reality.

  22. Candi Peaster Says:

    I’ve been a fan of Nell Hill’s/Mary Carol for years!!!! On many occasions after having been shopping at the Atchison store and returning to my home in Chanute, KS and now Bartlesville, OK, I would decide that I couldn’t live without a certain something that I didn’t purchase. I would simply call the store and they would ship it to me. Everyone was always so nice and they always knew exactly what I was talking about and it was NEVER a problem! So Sue, don’t worry. When the risers come in or any other item that you want it is easy to get things shipped to you. It seems that even if it isn’t in the online shopping section you can still get something you want.
    I haven’t been in a while and plan to visit soon. Can’t wait !!!

  23. Kay Says:

    Please, please, please leave politics off this website!!
    Attending a wedding in Kentucky in September and I plan to “trick” my husband into heading back to Texas by way of Kansas!!!!

  24. Bill Says:

    Ladies…I have to agree with you on the “Light Bulb” drama- let’s keep politics off of here and let’s read more about making our homes beautiful and a place to get away from the nonsense we read and hear about all day long on the radio, television, newpapers, magazines and internet. Let’s read more about the “tricks” that Kay referred to. I would love to hear more about those tricks that wives think will work to get us to enable them to spend more or all of the money that we work so hard to make. Forget paying extra on our mortgage or saving money to move into a rental house, because we have spent all of our extra money on stuff for the house, that we could have used on getting ourselves in a more stable financial situation- should one of us lose our job and have to give up our house to foreclosure. Maybe a light bulb will go off in our heads, while we are on our way to Kansas that this site was meant for… again, making our homes a getaway from the important issues in Politics such as which light bulb we are going to be able to use in our new lamps from Nell Hill’s!

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