5 Types of Vases Everyone Should Own for a Curated Collection

These vases will turn any freshly picked or grocery store florals into centerpiece-worthy arrangements.

Clear and White Bud Vase Grouping with White Flowers and Greenery
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Styling: Kathleen Varner

Nothing brightens up an entryway or powder room or sunny kitchen island like an arrangement of fresh-cut flowers. Unfortunately, having our favorite florist deliver weekly blooms is a real budget buster. And while arranging your own florals might seem intimidating to a novice, there's nothing you can't do with a quick trip to Trader Joe's and a few staple vase styles. To help edit your at-home vase collection, we talked to Charleston-based floral and event designer Megan Chandler Lee of Vero Events. Turns out, you don't need a closet full of vessels to make an eye-catching impact; these five styles work for everything from special event centerpieces to casual arrangements pulled from the backyard.

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The Bud Vase

Vietri Hibiscus Bud Vase

"I'd suggest every homeowner have a collection of bud vases," says Lee. "They're so simple but effective. You can put them in the bathroom, kitchen, or guest bedroom with just a single bloom in them." Rather than purchasing a matching set, build a collection unique to you. "It's a great thing to snag when you are traveling," she says. And while these little beauties look fabulous solo, they also can be grouped together to create an easy, no-hassle centerpiece. If your bud vase collection is still in its infancy, pretty barware like julep cups are a great choice, too.

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The Cylindrical Vase

Poppy Vase
Pottery Barn

"This classic shape is easy to find. You've probably received an arrangement or two from your local florist in this style," Lee says. Despite their popularity, they can be deceptively tricky to get right. To give your arrangements a more polished and professional look, keep things simple. "Only fill them with one type of flower, and don't overfill. Less is more." she says. "The bloom doesn't have to be anything fancy like peonies. A bunch of sunflowers or hydrangeas or azaleas clipped from the yard works just as well." And remember to consider proportions: You don't want the base of your blooms sitting on the lip of the vase. "Also, be sure to cut the stems at different lengths, which will give your eye different planes to work with," says Lee.

03 of 05

The Camellia Bowl

Camellia Windowsill
Common camellia ( Camellia japonica) is the queen of the Southern winter garden, with big, luscious blooms. Camellia’s heavy flowers like a little support and work best floating in shallow bowls or displayed in short, heavy vases or pitch. Photo: Ralph Anderson; Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

If you're looking for an easy solution, it doesn't get much simpler than this classic Southern standby. A shallow bowl (typically glass or crystal) with a wide mouth, it could also be used to serve luncheon sides like fruit and pasta salads, but come winter, it's ideally suited to displaying camellias—although any flat-faced bloom with sturdy leaves like magnolias, gardenias, and even climbing roses will work. Simply, snip a few blossoms from the backyard and gently set them in the bowl filled with a couple of inches of water. "Remember these petals brown and bruise easily, so you'll want to clip enough of the stem to ensure the flower is floating on foliage," Lee says.

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The Compote

Cambria Small Footed Serving Bowl
Pottery Barn

Requiring a little more work than the three previous styles, a compote or footed bowl is a good choice for more elaborate arrangements. "The elegant shape lends itself better to multiple varieties and greenery," Lee says. Typically made of glass, compotes can be lined with moss or aspidistra leaves to hide whatever mechanics—tape grid, foam, etc.—you might need to secure your arrangement.

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Choose Your Own Vessel

Red Roses in Trophy Vases Christmas Centerpiece
Oxmoor House

Don't be afraid to think outside the box; your vessel doesn't have to be a traditional vase. Blue-and-white ginger jars. Antique champagne buckets. Rustic pottery. Even wooden dough bowls. "Anything that's watertight—unless you're going to use a plastic plant liner—can be a vase," Lee says.

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