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Tabletop Classics: Footed Bowls and Compotes

While researching for an upcoming feature—check out our new issue, launching on November 1, to find out just which one—I became enamored with footed bowls and compotes in every shape, size, and color. Sure, they're things of beauty in and of themselves, but they've got very practical purposes, too: they add much-needed height to a single-plane table setting, and they're versatile enough to hold everything from cakes and trifles to, well, compotes. But their uses go well beyond food. Here, a few of my favorite ways to entertain with them.

Consider this classic pewter bowl for displaying candies and bonbons on a festive dessert table. Or place one on your home's entry console to signal a warm welcome.

The clean, clear lines on Simon Pearce's hand-blown footed bowls make them ideal for use in creating interesting tablescapes. On this table, a collection of driftwood makes for a modern centerpiece that's visible from every angle.

For a traditional spread, place a posy of tightly bunched roses within this filigreed pedestal bowl by Isaac Mizrahi. The flowers' soft hue plays off the vessel's rustic white surface for a feminine, romantic feel.

Prefer a more organic look? Williams-Sonoma's colored compote is a dramatic backdrop for a cascading arrangement of pale blooms.

What unexpected uses do you have for these tabletop staples?
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