Flower vase choices range from functional to fashionable

I was so embarrassed. When a friend brought me flowers recently, I scoured my shelves and closets for a vase. Nothing. Instead, I had to settle for a clear cup.

"You are the only girl I know without a vase," my friend remarked.

What can I say? I'm new to this whole adult way of living. How was I supposed to know you always need a vase on hand just in case someone should sporadically bring you flowers?

Well, I refuse to be in that same spot again. In my quest for a grown-up flower-holder, I uncovered a few intriguing finds.

You can never go wrong with the tried and true, traditional crystal route. But everyone (except me) has that same tall, clear vase design. Switch it up a little with the Rectangular Vase from Pottery Barn. The vase's square exterior contrasts with its round interior, making for a polished and striking design.

Rather than standing up vertically, flowers lay at an angle in the vase, and the design works best when arrangements are minimal. A few long tulips or orchids should fill it up nicely. The vase is available in four sizes: medium, long low, mini and bowl, ranging in price from $12 to $44.

Straying from anything ordinary, Target's Pink Kimono Vase is a real conversation starter. Much as the name suggests, the vase is shaped like a woman wearing a pale pink kimono tunic. Details on the tunic are intricately etched, and the piece, part of the 2007 Global Bazaar collection, mixes Eastern and Western influences. The vase retails for $9.99.

Suitable for both real and fake flowers, the Six-Hinged Bud Vase is at once simplistic and stylish. Made up of six small test tube-like holders, the horizontal vase adds an artistic accent to a tabletop or bookshelf. Holding only a few stems rather than a full-size bouquet, the six-hinged vase has a minimalistic flair. The vase retails for $34.99 at Target.

Elegant and interesting, The Design Can's signature clear Aorta Vase is crafted to resemble a watering can. Floral arrangements spring from the open top, and a few stray flowers extend out the pour spout. The vase leans more toward the side of fine art than everyday decor. But a word to the wise: Keep this vase clean, as a clogged up and gunky aorta is never a good thing. It's not sold in stores but is available online at www.thedesigncan.com.

With the Pesto Spiral Glass Vase from Pier 1 Imports, you don't even need flowers to make a striking centerpiece. Available in a tall or short size, the vase is hand-crafted from tempered glass in a soothing green hue. A glass-blowing process creates the looping spirals that trail down the vase's edge to create an embellishment that catches light and attention. The vase retails for $25 or $30, depending on the size.

Staff writer Anna Ferguson can be reached at 770-963-9205, ext. 1308, or at anna.ferguson@gwinnett