How to Decorate with Minimalist Ceramics

Designers share their tips for incorporating streamlined pottery with maximum impact.

For millennia, ceramics have been the tactile answer to art that you can only touch with your eyes. In our current era of potted succulents, indigo rugs and neo-Victorian wallpapers that much has stayed the same.

Anticipating that you might be hoping to get both hands on some streamlined vessels that won’t dramatically alter your Pinterest-perfect space, we talked to the pros about how to decorate with today’s most coveted minimalist ceramics to achieve a room that’s both timeless and of the moment.

A Human Touch

“Ceramics are definitely seeing a resurgence in the decorating and art worlds,” says the team of Mat Sanders and Brandon Quattrone of interior design firm Consort. The personalization of handmade craftsmanship has served as a sort of anti-Internet to screen-weary decorators.

“With how big and pretty scary our world is feeling right now, these little moments of human connection, communicated through physical craftsmanship, feel more precious than ever before,” they add. The less decorative the work, the more this touch shines through.

Melanie Courbet, founder of the New York gallery Les Ateliers Courbet agrees that reaching for a well-made ceramic vessel is different from gripping your phone. “It’s sort a grounding moment. You feel the hand of the person behind the piece,” she says.

Need and Want

If you fall in love with a ceramic piece, Consort has several ways to justify adding it to your space. Don’t fret over placement and instead consider function. “Find a piece that’s beautiful to your eye and fits a practical use, like pouring water, holding salt or organizing a nightstand, and you won’t have to feel that classic minimalist conflict between ‘want’ and ‘need.’”

“The wonderful thing about ceramics is that there will always be something to suit whichever style, color, size that you are looking for,” says South African interior designer and author Kelly Hoppen. She recommends visiting markets to find “little hidden gems.”

Stay Grounded

Staying grounded isn’t just about the way minimal ceramics make us feel. It’s also a nod to their organic origins, textures and colors that are in direct contrast to the synthetic resin coffee table or neon sign stealing the spotlight in your home.

“Ceramics don’t have to be a big, loud feature piece,” says Hoppen. “Neutrals are always a fantastic place to start — grays, beiges and taupes, as well as off-white. I love simple little vases, bowls and ornaments as they make such lovely little touches. I particularly love using white ceramics in the bathroom.”

If you are indeed a maximalist, don’t fret. You can make simple ceramics work for you, too. “Flowers, leafs and branches are the easiest way to add a little ‘oomph’ to an otherwise quiet piece,” says Consort.

The Stars

There are a number of stars in minimalist ceramics. Hoppen favors Lucie Rie’s style and approach, while Courbet points out Aldo Bakker and Ted Muehling among Les Ateliers Courbet’s curated offerings. “I love Aldo Bakker, there’s a great attention to the ergonomics of the piece with a whimsical twist. It engages the user,” says Courbet, adding, “There’s something similar between Ted’s creations and Aldo’s creations in that they reference the organic world.”

Bring Home the Look

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