There are decorative elements in every home that are as purposeful as they are aesthetically pleasing. Jugs, pitchers, and bowls are a few that often do double duty, used for both storage and serving. But pieces like these, including trendy amphora vessels, are often just as eye-catching when accenting a shelf, table, or in a nook. And depending on your style, patina — a fancy interiors term for aging and wear that develops on a piece over time — or modern design guarantees a winning accent piece. But why the rise of amphoras of late? According to interior designers, it has to do with an increased zest for vintage and a desire for simple, balanced pieces in a space.
"I feel it's about the amphora shape," interior and lighting designer, Linda Allen, tells TZR of the ancestral vase. "[They're] making a comeback in design because we yearn for balance and integrity in today's climate." With geometrically placed handles on either side, the designer says amphoras are a symbol of poise and stability. "The amphora vase represents a classic shape that embodies harmony. It's interpreted in many ways that weave the essence of our human connection with the art of architecture, indoors and out," she explains.
Even more than balance, Allen says the historical connection to the past — when they were used as wine vessels — makes these vases alluring, too. "At its most basic level, the vessels are part of Greek mythology that reflects cultural values. And the antiquity amphora vases tell stories of wisdom." Echoing Allen, Eilyn Jimenez, founder and creative director of Sire Design, says, "Anything that brings in culture or history is very in demand right now. We get many requests from clients for pieces that tell a 'story.'"
Everick Brown, principal of Everick Brown Design, says the rise of amphoras results from people currently craving simple but functional pieces while spending so much time at home during the pandemic. "Right now, people are feeling a sense of organic expression, a return to artisanal made items, and a holistic approach to living," he explains. Adding, "They are looking for simplicity, like making their own bread, taking a hike, or finding handmade items."
While an amphora vessel is, indeed, functional, you can use one decoratively in many ways throughout the home. Whether a centuries-old terracotta urn, hand-thrown ceramic design, or minimalistic iteration is your vibe, one can easily transition from being a centerpiece with flowers to a door stopper in a bedroom or home office. Brown says they're great for adding warmth and a sense of history to a space. "I use them in unexpected places, like outside the front door, in the kitchen on the countertop, or on a bookcase as a decorative item."
Jimenez advocates for amphoras when layering and adding dimension to a space. "We see pieces like these being used in areas with layered accessories to add height and to bring some old-world feel to modern spaces," she explains.
When decorating with a large amphora, Jimenez and Brown recommend styling one on a side table or as a dining table centerpiece to display flowers or greenery. Allen suggests using them to flank doorways and portals in landscape design, while Brown says a collection of amphoras in various sizes and colors are great at a front door.
Smaller-scale designs are even more versatile — Allen likes using them as compositional pieces in foyers, mantels, planters and making them into table lamps, while Jimenez suggests them as a layer to bookcases with other items. Brown suggests an amphora to store water or display fruit in the kitchen, from avocados to citrus. His biggest tip: "Buy what you like and mix and match with modern and classic environments."
Convinced an amphora is right for your space? Scroll on to discover a stylish edit, from genuine antiques to antiquity-inspired designs and contemporary takes.