The Junk Parlor

Bowl Filler Ideas

While it is perfectly acceptable to leave a bowl or vessel empty, often times it will look even better if you fill it!! In today’s post we are going to talk about all of your bowl filler options!! Well, not all, that would be impossible!!

So what should you put in a bowl? Absolutely anything!!!

Why should you fill your bowls?

Placing items in a bowl can create a statement!

For example, a bowl of game pieces will make a bigger impact that if you have individual pieces scattered around the house. They are such small items that they may not even get noticed when alone, but would definitely get noticed if an entire bowl was full of them!

A bowl of game pieces.
Dominos placed inside a vessel

Collections placed in bowls are easier on the eye.

When you put something in something else, your eye doesn’t treat it as a bunch of little pieces, but as one item. So even though you may be a maximalist and have a lot of individual things on display, by putting them in a bowl your eye sees them as being one thing!

blue fish floats in a glass bowl

Placing things in a bowl can make them easier to see! Use those buttons to fill the bowl and then set a figurine on top. A figurine that once would have disappeared in a display or been less eye catching. When placed high in a bowl the figurine now takes on a larger space and sits higher making it more prominent.

It’s easier to find items.

What do you use for bowl filler?

Typically you are going to fill a bowl with items smaller than that bowl. BUT, that rule can also be broken! A plant for example will often be larger than the bowl it is in!

A sphere or orbs are often placed in bowls and those can be larger or smaller than the bowl that holds them. When items are bigger than the bowls they are in then it’s just like layering. Get some layering tips HERE.

Birds eye view of a plant in a brass bowl

Specific Bowl Filler Ideas

Collections or Multiples

If you are collecting something small then you can throw all of those in a bowl! This can be duplicate or “like” items. Some ideas I have photos of and some I will just list for you! Buttons, magnets, brooches, bottle lids, clothespins, matchbooks, little bottles, biscuit cutters, keys, etc.

Ball of string and collection of glass bottle stoppers

Here is the beginning of a glass bottle stopper collection.

a bowl of glass chandelier prisms

Glass prisms from old chandeliers.

bowl of wooden sock darners

A collection of sock darners that have been stuck in a bowl handles down.

brass scale pan filled with blue spool bobbins

Wooden bobbin spools in a scale pan.

old brushes in a crock

A collection of brushes.

bowl of wooden spools

A bowl of wooden spools.

Get Bowl Fillers On Amazon

Food as Decor

Food can be decor, but it can also be functional. Out on the counter food in a bowl can look great and entice you to eat healthier if it’s fruits and vegetables!! Lemons, pears, any fruit, or add your onions, potatoes, or cloves. A bowl full of cookies and candies might be a different story!

blue crock bowl of lemons

Create a “Junk” Bowl

We all have a junk drawer. A place for those items that we aren’t really sure what to do with! You can take some of that junk and put it in a bowl! It’s all of those little pieces that you pick up at estate sales or find in the bottom of an auction box. You don’t have enough of the item to say you have a collection. Maybe it’s something you don’t want to collect, but you can’t throw away the little item.

If you are an avid thrifter and bargain hunter then you probably come across a lot of ephemera. Not sure what to do with it? Put it in a bowl.

studio pottery bowl with random bits of price tags and game pieces

Here are some jumbo dice, buckeye, a couple game pieces and some old price tags. I just loved the coloring and the fonts on the tags and although I didn’t want to use them, I couldn’t throw them away. Instead, I put them in a bowl so I could admire them when I walk by.

Create A Vignette

I heard someone explain a vignette as creating a little moment. You can create a little “moment” in a bowl. It’s kind of like making a display under a cloche. I talk about decorating under a cloche HERE.

green bowl of small books and children's croquet pieces

In this bowl we have some little books and some pieces from a child size croquet set.

Wooden bowl of books, shoes, feathers, lace and a photograph.

In this bowl we have some children’s shoes, lace, feathers, and photograph.

bowl of spools with a little baby sock and miniature scissors

In this bowl we’ve gathered some spools, a little sock and a small pair of scissors.

Scrapbook Bowl

I don’t know about you but I don’t actually print off my photos anymore! Take a moment and print off some fun ones and throw them in a bowl! Sit them on the coffee table and you instantly have a conversation starter when guests come into your home. It also gives you a chance to reminisce more than in photos are tucked in an album or on your phone.

Bowl of photos

Corral Used Items

One of the key elements of living in an organized home is to give everything a home. Can’t find your keys? Glasses? A pen? If you have a home for these things then they are harder to misplace. Pick a bowl or vessel to be a home for your item. Put it there every time you aren’t using the item. And guess what!? The next time you need the item, it will be in it’s home!

bowl with cords

We also put our charging cords in a bowl to help them take up less space and to look a little neater.

mold with airpods and a name badge

We keep our AirPods, work keys, vehicle keys, etc. in these little molds.

bowl of hair ties

I also use a lot of bowls in the bathroom. This one corrals my hair ties.

Natural Items

You can’t beat free decor! And nature provides a lot of free options for your bowls. Milk pods, dried hydrangeas and grasses, egg shells, just go for a walk and scavenge some of nature! Need something a little larger? Try hedge balls! Pick those off of the tree versus off of the ground and they will stay green and last longer!

bowl of nests, eggs, lei

In this bowl we’ve placed wasp nests, bird nests, faux eggs, and our Hawaiian leis.

glass bowl of stones

A collection of similar rocks in a clear glass bowl sitting on top of a glass cake stand.

crock of feathers

Feathers look great in a bowl! If you go walking, keep an eye out because you can find A LOT of feathers laying on the ground.

brass leaf dish of acorn tops

I only have a couple acorn tops, but they make a great filler too!

Wooden bowl stack with gourds, antler, and faux leaves

Dried gourds, faux greenery, and antlers! Even just putting bowls in bowls whether they are wooden bowls, pyrex, jadeite or ironstone.

Basket bowl of antlers, nests, feathers, and fur.

This basket bowl if filled with antlers, nests, and feathers.

bowl of sponges, moss and spheres.

This bowl is filled with Spanish moss, sponges, and some green moss covered spheres that I thrifted.

Seasonal Items

Put a pumpkin in it!! Or a bottle brush tree!! Or a flag!! Or a ton of each!! Decorating for the holiday season gives you a great opportunity to put duplicates of a seasonal staple decor.

bowl of pumpkins

A bowl of pumpkins and Spanish moss.

bowl of Christmas bulbs

I bowl full of Christmas bulb ornaments.

bowl of bottle brush trees

Bottle brush trees fill this bowl!

This post may contain affiliate links for the products I use and recommend. I am not paid to promote these products. If you purchase using my affiliate links, I could make a small commission at no charge to you.

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