Designer Picks: Affordable Ceramic Serving Bowls

You're not going to actually spend $250 on a serving bowl...because you don't need to.

Posted by Linda Merrill | Sep 21, 2011
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Alyssa EttingerI love when functional items can also be used as decoration and ceramic serving pieces usually have the most decorative potential in housewares. Here is a collection of beautiful pieces that will help you set a beautiful table and are still beautiful enough to be displayed as decoration.

  • The Whittier Canoe Bowl from Target has a decidedly upscale mid-century modern look that sets this piece apart from the average big box store fare. Sleek and sophisticated, this piece is reminiscent of the work of famed mid-century ceramacist Eva Zeisel who was quoted as saying “I do curves because I am curvy”. ($19.99 at Target)
  • Pier 1’s White Scalloped Serving bowl is a pretty and feminine piece that can stand alone as pure decoration or work as an additional serving piece, complementing any other dishes on the table. ($20 at Pier 1 Imports)
  • The Carynthum Rectangle platter from Pier 1 features a stylized floral motif that looks hand painted. The colorful pattern will go well with linens in many colors such as reds and golds and is pretty enough to hang on a wall. (On sale right now for $31.96 at Pier 1 Imports)
  • The fun and festive Raya 3-Part Server from Crate&Barrel is perfect for a party. The cabana stripe pattern brings to mind the sand and sun of a south-of-the-border vacation. Even the dreariness New England day will warm up significantly when these bowls are on display. ($16.95 at Crate&Barrel)
  • The soft green of Crate and Barrel’s Marin platter would be gorgeous as a server for salads or fruit. These pieces look handmade, a feeling that is enhanced by the slightly uneven rim, and are delicate enough to use with even the best china and crystal. ($36.95 at Crate&Barrel)
  • Hand painted and kiln fired, these beautiful ceramic bowls In the Blown Tree pattern from Andersen Studio evoke the first winter’s snow. Hand painted by various artists, no two pieces are the same which adds to the allure of the collection. ($50 from Andersen Studio)
  • The Le Souk fish pattern serving pieces feature hand painted designs in classic French fish motif. Perfect for serving fish, of course, but a humorous addition to any table or meal! ($37.95 from
  • The stunningly beautiful Provence collection from Williams Sonoma is hand painted in a traditional French pattern depicting a magical forest of castles and fantastical animals. Each piece, made in Portugal, is created by a single artist and is signed. This is the priciest item on the list, but it's a great deal for hand-painted serveware. ($119 from William Sonoma)
  • Handmade in Italy, the Merletto serving bowl in aqua is made from a rich black clay, glazed in a soft blue with a delicate lace pattern embossed into the rim. These are beautiful to look at as well as to touch. ($74 from
  • Ceramic artist Alyssa Ettinger created this wildly original collection of “Knitware” bowls from actual sweaters used as molds. These are a fun take on a classic serving bowl and sure to spark conversation all around! ($65 from the artist's website)

Linda Merrill is a Hometalk - - writer. Read more articles like this one - - or get help with your home projects on

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