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Is Your Home In Need Of Some Affordable Personality?? Vessels Under $50 (+ Our Tricks On How To Style Them Like A Pro)

One thing we do when we brainstorm is we ask each other what we are all shopping for in terms of decor. Is it pillows, curtains, rugs, lettuceware? But my thought this time was “what do you look for on vacation?” since I had just gotten back from my first real vacation since pre covid. For me, it almost always ends up being a small vase or some kind of vessel. So when I was in Mexico City last week, I “accidentally” bought two vases. The design gods took the wheel and my hand tapped my credit card. It was utterly out of my control. But truly, a unique vase (or vases) adds in that extra layer of “special” and dimension to a finished room. Think of every room Emily or any team member has designed… there’s a minimum of one vase, right? (Tell me which rooms came to mind first in the comments:)). And IF there’s only one it’s usually in a bathroom or a room that is very minimalist. So today I not only wanted to take a little deep dive into how we’ve styled them in the past, giving you some fun ideas on how to style yours, but also round up our favorites under $50.

That’s the beauty of this magic piece of decor, it can be so affordable with just a little research or in-person digging. We always encourage you to go out to your local vintage shops, garage sales, Craigslist, etc. since there are so many steaming hot deals out there and it’s the most sustainable way to shop. But for those who want to know which affordable vases we have our eyeballs I’ve got you at the end. But first, style school y’all!

It only makes sense to start with the home of the expert herself, Ms. Emily Henderson. This was the final version of her living room in her LA house and man it was my favorite (her’s too). But we are here to take about vases. Let’s start with the coffee table. I love love love these two white vases together. This is what we mean by “cousins not siblings”. They are completely different in shape (one angular and one circular), have different visual weights (I mean one is a literal hollow circle), are different heights (very important), and yet they are the same color so they don’t visually compete. They’re just buds.

Then on the shelves, Em mixed it up real good. Here she played with pattern and texture more (but also shape because she always does). All three vases have rounded shapes which makes them visually play nice together. For the Jungalow glossed, striped beaut, it adds a really fun bold pop of pattern which is then balanced out by the two natural wood vases. Then as you can see the two wood vases are different tones, sizes, and shapes, making them also “cousins not siblings” and able to be placed so close together. Three is most definitely company.

One more Emily room before we move on! This basement made us all (us and y’all) swoon. They are a lot of reasons why but one was that shelf situation on the left. For these vases, Em really focused on the blue color palette. You have the medium cream vase, the large light blue vase, and of course, that incredibly awesome saturate vintage turquoise cutie. The cream and turquoise are similar sizes but totally different shapes. Then adding in that large light blue one, it helps to mix up the scales and tie in the simplicity of the cream one and the color of the turquoise one. Another dream team.

But what if you aren’t styling a bunch of shelves and you just want a cute vase for your desk? Well depending on the look you want, we like to recommend contrasting the style of the room or area you are styling. Like with this desk. It’s beautiful and has a traditional style so Em chose an awesome graphic vase for contrast and a little bit of design tension. Cool, right? And very easy to replicate. Just have fun with different shapes and styles.

styled by velinda hellen and emily bowser | photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: in defense of the comfy sectional—a friend’s almost-finished family room

This next tip/exploration is right up my alley (which will be further proven in the next photo. Basically don’t be afraid to “go for it” in the number of vases if you have the space like on this shelving unit. Pick a color palette, vary the sizes, vary the shapes, and have at it. Just as you add take a step back (literally) and look if something needs to be added, taken away, or moved. Make sure it’s visually balanced so your eye is happy. See how on there’s a set of 3, a set of 2, and one lone large one (with a plant for added “muscle”:)). It would look too uniform and overwhelming with 3 sets of 3 and potentially, depending on the pieces, too sparse to only do one in each section.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: jess’ moto: you have to tee how the hacked her rental kitchen with diys

Lastly, we have my vase extravaganza from my last kitchen. I never didn’t love looking at my collection. I just tried to stay within my colors, mix up shapes, textures, styles, heights, and price points to make it feel really eclectic. I also think only one of those was over $50, maybe two. Each of them was hand-selected by me which made it all the more personal and special to me. O and they are also staggered to help with that visual dimension too:)

Shall we get into these affordable vases??

1. Ekua Ceramics Midnight Vase | 2. Abstract White Vase | 3. Pastel Looped Bud Vase | 4. Elise Vase Mirror | 5. Light Woven Vase | 6. Callia Vase | 7. Michaelo Grecian Bust Pot | 8. Zuri Vase | 9. West Elm Retired Blue & Off-White Vase | 10. Voir Clear Glass Vase | 11. Yaan Vase | 12. Brown Ceramic Pedestal Bulb Vase | 13. Davis Vase | 14. Flower Vase | 15. Joss Deep Teal Vase | 16. Large Ceramic Vase | 17. Terracotta Cylinder Vase | 18. Dial White Shiny Vase | 19. Single Handle Vase | 20. Kadoma Vase | 21. River Rock Vase | 22. Amel Vase | 23. Ryker Jug | 24. Handmade Ceramic Vase

I also handpicked all of these so I clearly love them all. However, if there was ever an OG Emily-style vase I think #1 is the winner. It actually reminds me of the vintage blue lamp base in Birdie’s nursery. I rarely met a handled vase I didn’t but #3 and #15 really do it for me personally. Then if texture is what you are after #6, #13, and #24 are pretty special. But you get it. Whichever vase you choose, just make sure you love it and it brings some life into your home. Never forget to mix it up!

Love you, mean it.

Opening Image Credits: Styled by Brady Tolbert and Emily Bowser | Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: A Modern and Organic Entry: Shelf Styling Tips

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I LOVE all of your picks! my absolute favorites are: 1, 2, 3, 5 but i also really like 8, 15, 18, 21, 24
that etsy shop selling #2 has some great vases in their shop!
i have way too many vessels in my house because i find so many that i love and i can’t leave any behind when i’m out treasure hunting for my insta shop. they are sooo soooo good for styling shelves with. i’m like you with your old kitchen. i just love to stare at them. it’s like a candy break for my eyeballs.

3 months ago

Love a fun vessel! Jess, how was Mexico City? I’m headed there for the first time in a month 🙂

3 months ago

Would love to hear more about your Mexico City trip and see the vases you bought!

🥰 Rusty
3 months ago

Straight up, I remembered your haul of vessels from Emily’s prop clear out! (Yup, okay, and all those shoes too!)

I’m a vessel lover too!
I have various shapes and sizes of ceramics I’ve made – urns, mugs, bowls, cannisters with lids (gosh, lids that fit are hard to throw!), and my piece de resistance is a supposed vase that turned into a lampshade while I was throwing it on the wheel and then a mad artist brain took over after midnight in the ceramic studio and turned it into a sculptural piece known as “The Naked Lady” that was basically my lizard brain creating a fertility symbol! 🤪 Whoo!

I have also thrifted pieces I bought for $2 during my starving uni student days, cheapies from big box stores years ago that people think are splurgy (ha!), and some antique proper splurges, in addition to family heirloom vessels.
# I. Do. Not. Need. More!
Buuuut….. I’m a sucker for them and resistance is harrrd … sometimes futile! 🤣🤣
Team Vessel all the way!!!

Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Send pictures of lizard brain creations!

🥰 Rusty
3 months ago

I dunno how to link them….I could send a pic of my “Naked Lady”🥴

Roberta Davis
3 months ago

Nice collection! Thanks for rounding them up!

3 months ago

Flea markets, antique shops and fairs have always had great scores for me. I have a mixture of bowls and vases, many under $10, but marked vessels run into the $30-40 range, but still very affordable.

3 months ago

I enjoyed reading this post and seeing example photos, and Jess you have a wonderful collection! “Yes” to vessels/vases/pottery/bowls/boxes/containers! I am always looking out for interesting ones when out treasure hunting (thrifting!). Partly I love the shapes, colors, textures, AND that they can often hide or stash things. I have ceramic, pottery, glass, crystal, wood, and silver plate – last week I found a silver plate punch bowl with a gorgeous scalloped floral rim, I think I might use it to stash boxed teas in my kitchen. My second art purchase 13 years ago was a pottery vase, with the most beautiful, abstract, warm, pinkish glaze that reminded me of the oil paintings of French Symbolist artist Odilon Redon. Interesting cigar boxes are a favorite too. I have a large collection, though most are not on display right now, I am reworking things in my home, and I intend on having my own personal “prop cabinets” to store extras to change out from time to time and to use in still life paintings. I have a lovely memory of buying a wood box with a lid as a child at thrift store (my Mom love to thrift shop – we… Read more »

3 months ago

Some things I know about vessel related design, lol:
-use them to layer heights. A group of 3 with short, medium and tall always looks good, or if you have a big group of things that are all one height (like books) a vessel can break up that line
-any vase can be a lamp if you hot glue a circle of wood in the opening and drill a hole in the bottom for the chord
-a porous (like basketweave, or fabric or wire) vessel can hold cut flowers/foliage if you put a water glass or bowl inside it
-you can use them to hide ugly stuff, like putting them in front of outlets or storing the remotes in there (although that one and the WiFi router should probably be part of a post about the power of Baskets With Lids)
-lots of everyday stuff looks better arranged in a tiny vase or votive, like makeup brushes or pens

3 months ago
Reply to  Kara

Oh and one last one: any vase or bowl can be a pendant light shade if you drill a hole in it.

Reply to  Kara

yes to all of these!

🥰 Rusty
3 months ago
Reply to  Kara


3 months ago

Swooning over #15 from cb2 but I have enough stuff so I’ll just admire it from afar. Great ideas in this post about elevating something so affordable and accessible.

3 months ago

This is not about vases, for which i share your passion, but i just need to fling this out into the void: i wish you could look at my problem space and help me out. I bet in 3 minutes you could give me more goid ideas than i have found in months. **sigh** Love your style!!

3 months ago

I have mixed feelings about this. The choices are fantastic, but it is easy for those to turn into a case of buying more stuff to buy more stuff. If a space isn’t screaming for an addition, I’m not going to go looking for a vessel just because.

3 months ago

This was a great post. I love trying to fill out the space with vases, and there are so many different options we get to choose from as interior designers. I am doing something similar in my latest project with the bookshelves, and you could not be more right with your comment that sometimes more is better.

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