When you look through your closet, searching for something to wear, chances are you have a few go-to pieces that you select over and again, like those jeans that are as comfy as jammies or that shirt that brings out the color of your eyes. Similarly, when I decorate my home, I have a few favorite accents I use repeatedly to create great displays. At the top of the list? Urns! I adore urns in every size, shape and style because they are as lovely as they are versatile. Want to use urns to add spark and style to your home? Here are five ideas to get you started.
1. Fill Urns with Fruits and Veggies
If you’re looking for a tool that will help you create great tabletop displays in a snap, try an urn. Just scout for an urn with an attractive shape and fill it with something interesting. Try this idea: Dig through the produce drawer in your refrigerator, pull out some great looking fruit or veggies, arrange them in a small urn, and place it at the center of your kitchen table, kitchen island, buffet or side table. Done!
If you’re like me and forget to frequently check the freshness status of the real produce you use in displays, I’d recommend going with artificial produce. Once I decorated with fresh pears and left them in the container until they turned into an icky, gooey mess. Now I opt for fakes, which look so lifelike they fool Dan (who now knows to check every apple, pear and grape he sees sitting out in a bowl before he takes a bite).
2. Spotlight Seasonal Treasures
One of my favorite ways to decorate for each new season is to showcase the season’s iconic images in my décor. All you need is a great urn, and you’re half way there. The amazing concrete urn in the photo above is a great pick because it’s big enough to stand alone on the floor, filling in empty spots in your furniture arrangement, yet small enough to be placed atop a sturdy tabletop or counter, like a kitchen island. In the winter you could fill a big, hefty urn like this with huge pinecones, or with kindling wood for your fireplace. In the spring, fill it with pots of tulips or daffodils. In summer, pile it with seashells. And in the fall, it would look lovely filled with a tumble of colorful gourds.
3. Add an Urn to a Great Display
A frequent mistake I see people make when they design displays for their coffee tables is to use lots of small and low-profile pieces. For displays to be dramatic, they need to include a few tall, visually bulky items. An urn is an excellent choice. Leave the urn empty, or fill it with something interesting. Try a look we’re loving at Nell Hill’s right now: Roll up a few bundles of pages from an old book and stick them in an urn. Or, try one of our perennial favorites: perch a bird’s nest on top of an urn. In the photo above, we filled the little stone urn with seashells and glass grapes. The subtle blend of colors and textures in this display is magnificent. Yet, it was super easy to create, thanks to the urn.
4. Get Natural
I really like to decorate with live topiaries in the spring. Even I can keep a healthy house plant alive for a few months! To create a quick and easy decoration for spring, just slip a fern or topiary into an urn, then tuck it in someplace in your home that could use a bit of color. How about on your kitchen windowsill? Or at the center of your kitchen table? In a bathroom? Or next to your bed?
Right now, we are carrying some truly unique urns made out of wire. These unusual decorating pieces stand about 6-feet tall and you can see right through them. This spring, I can’t wait to put one in my garden. You could anchor one in a garden bed as a focal point or a trellis for climbing flowers. Or, for even more visual impact, you could insert one into a large cast iron garden urn. Just line the bowl of the wire urn with moss and fill in with a live plant or an accent, like a gazing ball.
5. Use Urns to Cool Beverages
My mantra when entertaining is “presentation over preparation.” You can make even the simplest of fare look amazing if you present it in a dramatic way. Urns are great tools if drama is your goal. When I entertain in the summer, I like to fill big garden urns with ice and use them to cool beverages. A small urn makes a great ice bucket for a bottle of white wine. For a twist on this idea, line a garden urn with a bowl filled with ice. Use it to serve chilled appetizers, like shrimp.
Next Week … Do you collect anything special? Next week, I’ll share some tips for using personal treasures to add character to your décor.
Debbie saysJanuary 23, 2012 at 2:48 am
I love urns also and enjoyed your spin on filling them. At Christmas I filled a small urn with antique glass Christmas ball ornaments. What a beautiful way to display them as I love anything vintage. My new favorite decor items are apothocary jars. I am exploring filler for those. They are not just for beans and pasta anymore. I enjoy your blog so much. So classy!
Liz @ Infuse With Liz saysJanuary 23, 2012 at 3:01 am
I love urns too! I just reused one of mine recently. I agree they are a go to favorite!
Mildred Hoppe saysJanuary 24, 2012 at 8:51 pm
How much is the concrete urn with the shells in the second picture?
Ana saysJanuary 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm
Totally agree with the versatility of urns! They may a beautiful impact visually on their own but filled, even better! I use shells in summer and gourds in winter…Like the other ideas for fillers, as well.
Carol Ridgely saysJanuary 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm
Do you sell the metal urn and the shell concrete urn? If so, what are the prices and sizes?
Jodie Smith saysJanuary 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm
I have the creamy white urn featured with the ivy. I have it in the kitchen holding some frequently used cooking utensils. It looks gorgeous and makes cooking more fun!
Deb Braun saysJanuary 26, 2012 at 6:22 am
Do you sell the white urns in the picture labeled Natural in your stores?
I would like some for a wedding.
Mary Carol saysJanuary 26, 2012 at 10:37 pm
Mildred–The urn in question belongs to a dear friend of mine–it is very old, however, we do have several and will continue getting more in the stores as spring draws closer.
Debbie Yanta, creator of Essential Luxuries saysJanuary 27, 2012 at 5:08 pm
Love the ideas with urns. I have some that I will surely be using in the future. New to your blog. Looks very interesting, thanks.
Mary Carol saysJanuary 27, 2012 at 9:06 pm
Unfortunately, the urns you are inquiring about are old and belong to a good friend of mine. However, we do have lots of different urns in the stores at the moment, with more to come.
Mary Carol saysJanuary 27, 2012 at 9:30 pm
We don’t have that white urn exactly,however, we do have some that look very similar.
Lisa Fernandez saysJanuary 27, 2012 at 9:49 pm
The urns look lovely and what a great idea. We can create with what we already have at home. Wonderful! I’m going to go digging!