Small vases and a vintage holder mingle in a shabby chic centerpiece.

How to Use Small Vases to Decorate Your Table

by Anne Goetz

Small vases bring an element of coziness to a tabletop, and they're more durable than those large, hand-blown glass affairs. This makes them the perfect centerpiece of choice for families with small, curious children. Whether you're a collector of vintage vases or you just have a few favorites that caught your eye on your last shopping expedition, building a tablescape around them is an attractive way to showcase your selections.

1. Collected on a Display Base

There are a variety of household items you can use as a display base for showcasing a cluster of small vases. Coordinate your choice of base to complement the style of the vases.; for example, a tarnished silver tray to hold porcelain or silver vases, or a polished glass mirror to highlight a collection of small, elegant glass vases. You might try for a shabby chic look by gathering small jewel-toned bottles on an old wooden serving tray and dropping in a single long-stemmed bloom. Or set a single small milk glass vase on a lovely vintage saucer and fold an antique linen beside it.

2. Lined Up

If you're decorating a long table, such as one for a reception, you might place single small vases holding a bloom or branch at intervals along the length. Beef up the weight of each vase by encircling it with a simple candle ring made from real vines or flower stems woven together. Or line up five to seven small vases in the center of the table with each vase holding a single flower. Weave a string of white or colored lights between them for illumination.

3. Containers

Small vintage milk bottles make quaint vases. Collect them in an old wire carrier and set the whole display in the table center. Fill each bottle with flowers, or drop a single bloom in just one. You might also remove the glass from a wooden picture frame and place it flat on your table. Collect small vases together inside the frame and scatter river rocks between them. Plant a small succulent in each vase. Remember to disassemble your display before you try to move it.

4. Eclectic Displays

Sink single small blooms down inside a collection of vases, then fill each one with water to make tiny submerged centerpieces. You could also fill vases one-quarter full of nontraditional vase filler -- sand or aquarium gravel -- and cluster them around the base of an apothecary jar filled with seashells, starfish or sand dollars. Add height and interest to your vase display by elevating a grouping of small vases on a decorative cake stand covered with a vintage doily.

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