Tips on Affordable Design: Vases

decorating with vasesNew York interior stylist Cindy DiPrima recently went shopping with The New York Times and says she loves the "odd, strange shapes" of vases. Even without flowers, she adds, "vases can just become these beautiful objects." DiPrima, who props photo shoots for glossies like Real Simple, Town & Country and Bon Appétit, is a fan of all types of vases from antique pedestals to handmade "hippie" pottery.

We spoke with DiPrima and she shared more tricks-of-the-trade on affordable and stylish ways to utilize her favorite home accessory.

1. For investment vases in the $50 range, the DiPrima says eBay, flea markets, or vintage dealers are great resources, where you can get something with "more character." She searches for Wedgewood patterns such as Jasperware, Chinese export porcelain and anything white.

2. Another place to shop is a retailer that caters specifically to florists. DiPrima frequents New York's Jamali Garden Supplies, which has everything from crystal vases to ceramic cylinders to woven garden pots. Even online wholesalers who don't require bulk orders are a good place to scour, like Wholesale Flowers and Supplies.

3. Because potted plants last weeks or longer, DiPrima points out that they're a much more economical than flowers. To save even more, she recommends buying bulbs and using pots and planters that you can use over-and-over again -- she likes woven garden pots. In New York she buys $6 bulbs such as paper whites, tulips or daffodils at the local flower market.

4. If you are set on fresh-cut flowers, DiPrima suggests using recycled bottles, mason jars and attractive tea tins as interesting vessels.

5. Go for pedestals to add "drama and formality," intriguing shapes and matte finishes in earthy tones, or whites and blacks. "If flowers are the star, you just need something to hold them and a really simple glass cylinder can do the trick," says DiPrima.

6. Your vases are not limited to holding flowers. DiPrima uses branches as a cheaper alternative to long stemmed flowers.

Now that you're blooming with ideas for your next floral arrangement, the next design question to tackle is -- where to place them?

DiPrima likes vases and flowers just about anywhere: on the mantel, on plant stands, coffee tables, in the bathroom or on the kitchen counter. For fresh-cut flowers, however, avoid the direct sunlight of the windowsill.

The stylist is also fond of mixing and matching multiple arrangements in one room, especially in a condo or an apartment with open spaces or chambers serving dual purposes, such as a combined living and dining room.

From classic English pitchers and mint julep cups to mod, ceramic cylinders and artsy one-of-a-kind pieces, DiPrima thinks it's really hard to go wrong by filling your home with vases.

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