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What It's Worth: Vases

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In What It's Worth, I investigate why an everyday household item is worth buying...and what to look for when shopping for that very item. This week, I'm honing in on vases.

Let's face it, with the plethora of flower vases out in the marketplace, just looking at all the different options is overwhelming and enough to discourage anyone from buying one. But as daunting as it may seem, taking the time to consider the type of vase you want has huge payoffs. While most people think that the flowers in the vase should be the focal point, a good vase can dramatically enhance the look and color of an arrangement. Here are a few pointers when shopping for a vase.

A glass vase is a classic for a reason: it looks elegant on its own and can instantly make any bouquet look stylish. The downside? The stems and grungy water (if you don't care for it enough) will be there for all to see.

Keep the shape and height for glass vases in mind. If you frequently opt for roses, large arrangements, or full flowers, then a curvy or round vase will balance the fullness nicely. Tall cylindrical glass vases and square ones require flowers with more stems to achieve a full look. An exception would be architectural flowers like orchids, which can be framed beautifully from stem to bloom in a square glass vase.

You'll find equally eye-catching options with ceramic and metal vases, but what they can provide is great tonal contrast, which glass can't. Another plus to ceramic and metal vases is that they conceal the murky water and unsightly stems and roots that are better off hidden.

Most ceramic vases are good for the everyday but shiny metal ones, which often come in bud-size, are better suited for smaller blooms and softer palettes for balance in proportion and color. And speaking of bud vases, if you find yourself pondering over one, make sure the opening isn't so narrow that even a toothpick-thin stem can't fit through it.