Fill it with: Seashells, marbles, stones, or any other small objects that provide a visual treat and are heavy enough to both anchor the vase and hold up your books. For a serene look, keep all the items in shades of one color―perhaps with a single black-sheep standout for contrast.
2 of 5William Meppem
As a Picture Frame
Line it with: A strip of pretty paper displaying one of your favorite snapshots―or a row of them. (Note: This idea works only with straight-sided vases, not ones that taper.) Measure the inside height of the vase, then wrap a string around it to determine the circumference. This will tell you the size of the piece of paper you'll need. Cut the paper a bit longer than the string so there's overlap, roll it into a tube, then slide it into the vase to confirm that you have a perfect fit. Next, take the paper out and attach the photo (or photos) with acid-free double-sided tape. Slide the paper back into the vase, and use a little piece of regular tape on the inside to secure the paper where the edges overlap. Presto!
3 of 5William Meppem
As a Cooking-Tools Holder
Fill it with: Spatulas, mixing spoons, whisks, strainers, and the like―then assign it a prime spot on a countertop near the stove. You'll have easy access to the tools at a moment's notice, and the clear glass will show them off nicely.
4 of 5William Meppem
As a Cake Stand
Place it under: A birthday cake or a batch of cupcakes to provide VIP status on a dessert buffet―or on its own. Invert the vase and affix a flat plate or tray securely to its bottom with double-sided tape (use a heavy vase that won't shift when you serve). Then place your goodies on top and enjoy the oohs and aahs.
5 of 5William Meppem
As a Display Case
Invert it over: A piece of coral, a conch shell, a spray of silk flowers, a signed baseball―any objet that merits a spot at center stage in your home. Place your treasure on a plate with a flat center and upend the vase over it. This will make the display easy to move (say, when you want to dust under, not just around). There you have it: an art show you can change in minutes whenever the mood strikes.