Decorating with Pottery: 16 Ideas to Elevate Your Home
Dating back centuries, pottery has always been a popular form of artistic expression and has played a critical role in creating a captivating space. Pottery is beautiful in both form and function, purpose and practicality. It’s created to evoke joy through everyday use. After all, there’s no denying that drinking from a handmade mug or serving dinner in a bowl created by a local artist means so much more. From dishes and decorative pieces to flowerpots and lamps, finding a unique piece to add beauty in any room of the house can make all the difference.
While there aren’t many rules when it comes to expressing your personality and style through pottery, one thing’s for certain – it shouldn’t be stored away in a cupboard. To help you get started, we reached out to artists to share their best piece of advice when using pottery as part of your home decor. So whether you live in an apartment in Atlanta, GA, or a home in Portland, OR keep reading to see how you can begin decorating with ceramics and bring your interior to the next level.
1. Incorporate color through pottery
“Pottery is one of the most versatile and accessible ways to incorporate handcrafted artwork into your space, because a lot of the time you can find smaller works at a smaller price point,” shares Stacey Bowers, owner and designer at jewelry store Bang-Up Betty in Little Rock, AK. “You also don’t necessarily have to hang them on the wall (but you certainly can), you can move them throughout a space and continue to add to your unique displays. I love to use pottery to play with color in my space. One of my favorite local ceramicists makes similar pieces in different vibrant colors, so I got one in every color to make a rainbow display. The pieces double as jewelry storage, so they’re also a way to showcase my handcrafted jewelry.”
2. Bring warmth and personality to your home
“Pottery can bring a pop of color to your new house by highlighting your accent color,” says Yvonne Tornatta, owner of Tumalo School of Pottery in Tumalo, Oregon. “If you have a neutral backdrop, a piece of pottery can play off your accent color to bring warmth and personality to the room. Think of areas you want to create vignettes. Neutral pottery canisters and a small spoon rest can be combined with a colorful coffee maker. A colorful piece of pottery can be set next to a vining plant to create a pleasing arrangement. If you have an eclectic collection of pottery, consider combining two neutrals with a piece that has a vivid color or pattern. Think in groupings of threes for the best arrangement.”
3. Select pieces that invoke wonder
“I believe our living space can greatly impact our overall life,” states Brielle Rovito, Owner/Designer of pottery studio Dust + Form in Vermont. “This is why it is so important to select decorative objects that you can connect with on a deep and personal level. Opting to furnish your home with handmade pottery and ceramic sculpture allows your space to emanate feelings and stories that can otherwise be lost in generic goods. Because the options are vast and sometimes overwhelming, I encourage you to go with your gut, select ceramic pieces that evoke a sense of wonder and don’t be afraid to layer different styles and textures for added visual interest. Additionally, I am a firm believer in owning a special, sacred mug that helps you start and finish your day. It is one small object that can ground us in our often busy lives.”
4. Elevate your interior with handmade jars
Chicago, IL local and artist David JP Hooker says, “When most people are choosing pottery for home décor, they look for vases for living spaces and large bowls for kitchens or dining room tables. Both are great choices, but if you’re looking for something different, consider getting a handmade lidded jar. The enclosed volume of a lidded jar creates a unique sense of presence: it’s as much a sculptural object as a functional one, and it doesn’t require you to refresh it with flowers or fruit to feel complete.”
5. Add color and focus to any room
“In looking at the current decor of new and renovated homes, adding a handmade pot or sculpture can bring focus and color to any room,” says Emily Coleman of ceramic studio Rainbow Landing Studios in Emigrant, MT. “Pottery creates a counterpoint from which other color patterns emerge to unify your interior design.”
6. Choose what you love
“The best advice I can give homeowners when selecting pottery for their homes is to choose what you love,” says Kay Franz, owner of Clay and Green Tea in Richmond, VA. “Whether decorative or functional, what is more important is that you are drawn to the work and love what it says to you. Fitting in perfectly with your decor is not terribly important.
“Matching colors can be nice but contrast is nice too,” states Franz. “If you want a piece to be a room’s focal point, contrast more than color compatibility is important. Functional work can be decorative too so don’t rule out that teapot or coffee mug for an interesting accent. Displaying work to its best advantage should utilize what you have on hand or can find to work with in your room. Work can be displayed on a shelf, a table, a mantelpiece, a custom display stand and don’t rule out hanging a beautiful plate or tile.”
7. Incorporate vases to add a pop of color
“Bud vases, or small vases that only hold a single flower, are great for adding height to a space,” explains Amber Tilton of Dat Pottery in Laguna Beach, CA. “Nestled between larger vases or a simple placement next to a stack of interesting coffee table books add just an extra flourish. Pick flowers that are in season and locally available. We love the look of a few poppies from our native southern California in a sleek bud vase set on our end table.”
8. Look for handmade lamps, sculptures, and planters
“Handmade pottery can add elements of color, texture, and visual interest to any interior space,” explains Casey Taylor, an independent ceramic artist who teaches at Kingston Ceramics Studio in Kingston, NY. “From incorporating artisan crafted mugs on your open kitchen shelving, to bringing in sculptural ceramic vessels to your living space; these objects bring the maker into your home and can elevate the depth of design by offering a very tangible and human element.”
“Many people assume handmade ceramics to be primarily cups, plates, bowls, and vases- but the reality is you can find a plethora of clay objects to adorn your home that are functional in many other ways,” shares Taylor. “Lamps, sculptures, and planters are all wonderful ways to incorporate handmade pottery into interior design and add elements of light, color, and texture in unexpected and creative ways.”
9. Opt for pieces that you connect with
Cori Morenberg, Owner, Potter, and Teacher at Yonkers Pottery in Yonkers, NY says, “Have fun and develop your own preferences and home style instead of listening to Instagram influencers or home design ‘gurus.’ If a piece speaks to you and you can afford it—grab it. Whether it’s a quirky handmade vase by a local artisan to display flowers on your dining table or a vintage art deco teapot for special occasions displayed prominently as a functional sculpture in the kitchen,ceramics and pottery make any space feel warm and cozy.
Morenberg goes on to say, “Don’t be afraid to mix and match dishes and mugs. It’s also satisfying to choose a form—like vases, boxes, or wall sculptures—and display cohesive collections of many artists’ takes on the same shape. Or, if you fall in love with one potter’s work, slowly grow a collection of their special pieces over time and display them together on a table or shelf for visual impact.”
10. Consider both style and functionality
“My advice for homeowners decorating with pottery is to think about both style and functionality,” says Audrey Mason, Owner and Pottery Artist at Pottery Mason in Rehoboth Beach, DE, a small-batch ceramics practice based in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. “When you’re choosing handmade pottery, look to invest in pieces that fit in with your home’s aesthetic and color scheme, whether that’s clean whites and grays for a modern home, or speckled blues and greens for a nature-inspired retreat.
“Ceramic artists today are creating pieces in just about every style, so it’s always possible to find something you’ll love,” shares Mason. “As for functionality, consider pottery that’s not only beautiful, but useful as well. Replace your store-bought soap dispenser with a handmade ceramic bottle, display your fruits in a uniquely glazed serving bowl, or even look to commission a pottery artist for a custom wheel-thrown dinnerware set that will look stunning on open shelving.”
11. Add color, artwork, and functionality to your space
“I love when an everyday item becomes a place to display a handmade piece of art,” states Michelle Sakai-Hart, ceramics artist and educator at Sakai Harts & Crafts in Santa Barbara, CA. “A dish to place your keys at the end of the day, a fun and bright utensil holder in the kitchen, a silly home for a plant, or a small cup to hold all of your beach treasures are some ways that pottery can serve these dual purposes.
“When I choose pieces for a space, I often pair them next to framed photos, colorful flowers or a favorite souvenir from our travels – anything to allow for extra playfulness in our home,” explains Sakai-Hart. “I really love to pair pieces with contrasting colors and make sure to choose a variety of textures in my pottery when mixing and matching different styles and designs together. I’m all about mixing and matching to create a fun and dynamic space.”
12. Learn about the artist behind the piece
“The endless shapes, colours, and textures of pottery creates a softness and calmness that can elevate any space into an urban oasis,” says René Mehrer, owner of 4th Meridian where you’ll find unique fine art, handmade products, and vintage furniture. “Vary textures and shapes together in groups of three, five, or seven. Vary the height of each piece to keep your eye moving around the composition and don’t be afraid to add in items that reflect your personality. Introducing speckled crocks full of wooden spoons, deep textured bowls brimming with ripe red apples and stoneware vases full of blooms creates a softness and calmness that will elevate your kitchen. Try to learn a little about the artist who created your piece. When you buy a handcrafted piece, you bring a little bit of that artist’s life home with you, and that elevates your morning coffee in your favourite mug from a habit, to a ritual.”
13. Choose pieces that fit your style
Christina Goodall Ceramics suggests picking a ceramic piece that fits your natural style. “Think about colours, texture and size that suit your home, but don’t be scared to be bold by choosing a statement piece to lift your space. Vases are a great start when buying handmade pottery, that way you can also lift your space with flowers.”
14. Add a sense of groundedness
“As a ceramic artist, I view my pieces as meant to be enjoyed in the home and elevate a space visually,” shares Anna Grace, artist at Anna Grace Creates. “I think the combination of a stoneware vase next to a vining plant and accompanied by a brass floor lamp are very elegant and mid century modern. Play with scale by combining a small bud vase with a couple flower stems next to a larger decorative vase. Add a warm glow to any space with a hanging light fixture and use wide bowls for any and every meal to enhance the table. Handmade ceramic art adds a sense of groundedness and reminds you to slow down and be where your feet are.”
15. Add texture and interest with Raku plates
“Dress up a wall with Raku ceramic plates, combining a tradition typical of Mediterranean cultures with a type of ancient pottery that comes from Japan,” suggests art studio Arteologic. “The texture and the crackle of the glaze of the Raku pieces deserve a place to be admired beyond being a functional piece or at most supported on a shelf. With the right lighting on a wall, we can appreciate and delight in these hypnotic surfaces.”
16. Use your own unique taste
“To bring together a collection of interesting and linked ceramics, all you need is your own taste,” explains Sally Hook, artist of Sally Hook Ceramics. “You choose the pots, the sculpture, the tradition, the dynamics of any ceramic form, because your selection will speak eloquently of your own unique style. Pottery and ceramic art is timeless, has been essential to our daily lives and directly connects ancient art forms all the way up to our modern world in a linked, constantly evolving timeline.”