How to decorate with apothecary jars - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

How to decorate with apothecary jars

Updated: March 2, 2012 02:25 PM EST
© iStockphoto / Thinkstock © iStockphoto / Thinkstock

By Sara Elliot

They're decorative, they're functional, they're available in all sizes and have an interesting history to boot. What are they? Often touted as a container with a medicinal pedigree as well as enough class to warrant a spot on your best table, we're talking about the ever versatile apothecary jar.

The apothecary jar started as druggist containers for medicines, swabs and other necessary items. Glass is non-reactive, so there wasn't any risk that a glass container would taint the contents.

Some apothecary jars were tinted to keep their potions from reacting to light, too. It isn't hard to find brown, blue and amber apothecary jars. Others had stoppered lids, cork lids or dropper tops. They came in lots of shapes and sizes. Like the American depression glass of the 1930s and 1940s, collector apothecary jars are popular collectibles today.

Shapes and Sizes of Apothecary Jars

For non-collectors, modern day apothecary jars make wonderful decorative items. Based on some of the original apothecary jar designs, these interpretive glass containers are supersized. Some also have balloon shapes or Art Deco curves. Others are square or sport tall columns.

Many are large, but you can still find plenty that are comfortably sized to hold a handful of cotton swabs on a vanity. From metro to retro, apothecary jars are delightfully decorative because they are so flexible. They also make useful containers for everything from paperclips to walnuts.

Apothecary Jars In the Kitchen

One of the latest trends in kitchen design focuses on open and airy spaces. To achieve that, glass fronted cabinets and even open cabinets sans doors have become very popular. That box of crackers or bag of pretzels looks bland now, but dump the contents into a decorative jar and you have instant decor that's also functional.

You may not want to display all your staples this way, but putting a few of them under glass can make your kitchen look festive and gleaming.

Try displaying herbs and spices instead of hiding them in a drawer. Petite apothecary jars with rubber stoppers can keep your seasonings safe while you're using them to display your gourmet inclinations. It's amazing how a jar of whole peppercorns or cinnamon sticks can add texture color and maybe a little mystery to your kitchen.

Don't forget the fresh produce, either. There are quite a few apothecary jars large enough to hold two pounds of oranges, apples, limes or lemons. Imagine the possibilities.

You can also fill them with nuts, seeds and pasta.

Don't be shy about experimenting. Plenty of high end restaurants decorate with food filled apothecary jars. If they can do it, so can you.

Apothecary Jars On the Table

While you're finding lots of fun ways to stash your groceries in decorative jars, don't forget about your table. If you've ever needed a quick centerpiece, arrange three identical apothecary jars evenly spaced down the center of your table. Fill them with ingredients that will complement your meal.

How about acorns at Thanksgiving, fresh cranberries at Christmas or decorated eggs for Easter dinner? If you keep the jars on hand, the ideas will come. You'll never have to worry about finding a stylish centerpiece ever again.

Apothecary Jars In the Bathroom

Decorating with apothecary jars in your bathroom is an example of style meeting function. We've mentioned that you can store items like cotton balls in these versatile jars, but you can also keep cotton swabs in them as well as decorative soaps -- the pretty ones you don't want to use up right away. They're also perfect for displaying:

Fresh flowers
Dried arrangements
Bath beads
Decorative candles (for display only)

You can find apothecary jars with onboard spigots that you can use to dispense soap, hand lotion, conditioner, cologne or antibacterial gel, too.

Creative Tips for Filling and Using Apothecary Jars

There are so many creative ways to fill and display apothecary jars, that it can be hard to settle on just one:

- Fill an apothecary jar with fresh rose petals for your anniversary or Valentine's Day.

- Place a monogrammed apothecary jar on your mantle or coffee table.

- Reserve a shelf in your family room as a candy bar and stock it with identical lidded jars filled with different, colorful candies.

- You can often purchase apothecary jars in sets of three in varying heights. They can decorate end tables when filled with small, interesting items like: Stones, Shells, Ocean glass, Ribbon, Pine cones, Acorns, Glass cabochons

- At Christmas, fill apothecary jars with ornaments and use them to decorate your tables, mantle, family room and bath.

- Add variety to your decor by switching out the contents of your apothecary jars with the seasons or for different holidays.

There are apothecary jars for every taste and budget, so start exploring the possibilities.


This article was originally posted on

Content provided by:

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by Frankly