How To Style A Dough Bowl (For All Seasons)

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Dough bowl styling tips and visuals that might help if you love to add some rustic wooden charm into your home.
We see dough bowls often these days used in both home decorating and displayed in stores. They are drenched in history, and have become a modern day darling for creating a centerpiece for table setting fanatics worldwide!
Dough bowls have a long history as a utilitarian object and they were used for the process of making dough. You’ll also find them referred to as a trencher, which comes from the French word tranchier, that means to cut. In medieval times you would often find a trencher in French homes that was crafted from stale bread. The center was carved out to use for serving and it was set in the middle of the table. Can you imagine? Later on the wooden dough bowl came into homes and was hand carved and a treasured service item. The dough bowl was passed down through the generations, which explains why you can sometimes find a true antique trencher that is now commonly known as a dough bowl.
dough bowl trencher
In modern times they are used as a centerpiece and often dough bowls are styled seasonally. Dough bowl decor is a beautiful way to mix in various textures, colors and subtle seasonality! We have a few tips to help you decide how to dress your trencher beautifully.

How To Style A Dough Bowl

  • Think of dough bowl decor as a piece of art, unto its own! Take your dough bowl to a distraction free place when filling and be sure to turn it as you fill. Look at it as you would a flower arrangement from all angles.
  • Are you going to style a dough bowl to use as seasonal decor? Ask yourself what bits and pieces would be appropriate for the season?
  • If you’ve just purchased a dough bowl, you might wish to have some staple pieces as filler that can be used year round. Shop your home as well for whatever speaks to you seasonally to create your layers.
  • To style a dough bowl for a table centerpiece, be sure to keep the height low to allow conversation to flow.


My friends know how to style dough bowls and give you ideas. Tap below the photos for more information.


Soft For Summer

A dough bowl can be painted and this white dough bowl speaks of summer filled with peonies and eucalyptus on a kitchen island.

summer dough bowlSummer Dough Bowl

Summer wouldn’t be summer without the beach, so bring home those seashells and driftwood pieces to use in your dough bowl. Add some fishing floats and perhaps a candle or faux candle and set it on the sideboard to remind you of coastal adventures.

Coastal Dough Bowl

Forage For Fall

Citrus in a dough bowl makes for a sweet transition from the summer season to early fall. Forage your garden for greenery to clip, add as the first layer in the dough bowl styling and then top with fruit. Use oranges, apples, pomegranates or any fruit that will hold up well for a couple of weeks of display.

dough bowl styling for fall

Candles add warmth to a dough bowl centerpiece on a table. Be sure not to leave candles burning unless you are there to watch! The dough bowl centerpiece below is perfect for your Thanksgiving table.

fall dough bowl styling tips

Thanksgiving Dough Bowl

Winter Warmth

Whether decorating a sideboard or buffet or creating a table centerpiece, a dough bowl will hold just the right seasonal bits. White Christmas ornaments aren’t just for Christmas and can be used as filler for any bowl year round. Be sure to keep a box of them out to use in your styling!

dough bowl styling tips for winter

Candles in seasonal colors and in this case blue to suggest the cool tones of winter. Using pillars in glass is safer and can be used outdoors. Bits of foraged dried seed pods are in place and free from the garden.

dough bowl styling with candles

Pinecones, moss balls and beautiful flowers make this flowery table centerpiece dough bowl perfection.

beautiful fall dough bowl with flowersFlowery Fall Or Winter Dough Bowl

If you prefer a more subtle approach, a few pine cones, snips of greenery and prayer beads will work for months on end.

Simple Suggestions Dough Bowl

Spring Scene

Many of these dough bowl styling tips can cross the seasons. This dough bowl decor is a favorite for spring with it’s soft blue and I spy a bird and nest. You are really limited only by your imagination in styling a dough bowl and it’s a great way to leave a centerpiece on your dining table year round!

how to style a dough bowl

Subtle Spring Dough Bowl

Where To Display Your Dough Bowl

  • As you enter your home the foyer table can showcase your seasonal style and set a tone.
  • A dining room table perhaps isn’t used as often as formal dining rooms in the past. Why not set a dough bowl out for the season and make it a focal point to enjoy!
  • On your kitchen island, fill with flowers…either dried or faux.
  • Don’t overlook dough bowl decor on your coffee table. Toss in some bowl filler that you can find in most discount shops.

dough bowl on a foyer tableFoyer Table Dough Bowl

Coffee Table Dough Bowl

fall dough bowl on a tableFall Dough Bowl On A Wicker Trunk

I hope that you learned some tips and if you have a dough bowl just don’t be intimidated to experiment and have fun! One word of caution…I would not recommend putting food that you intend to eat into a dough bowl unless you are absolutely certain that it hasn’t been treated with anything that may be toxic to ingest. Happy dough bowl styling!

This post was originally published in January 2016 and had been updated with new information and photos.

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  1. Love all of your creative ideas using the dough bowl, Janet. They really are a centerpiece all by themselves,too, aren't they?
    Happy New Year, girlie!

  2. I love seeing other ideas to use with my dough bowl!

  3. Joyce - Quilted Nest says:

    Love the oranges in there w/ the greens. Perfect!

  4. Holy Craft says:

    So good to know! I have a bowl I bought in Africa and it's empty right now. Going to pick some greens from the yard. Couldn't have come at a better time! Thanks for linking up at talk of the town!

  5. I have been pining away for a dough bowl for years…need to redouble my efforts and find one. I love how the blue candles pick up the blue in the juniper berries. Really pretty.

  6. Such pretty pics! I love the oranges and greenery the best! Thanks for linking up to Merry Monday! Sharing on G+! Have a great week!

  7. Tammy Lagaly says:

    I love the oranges and the greenery! So simple and pretty!

  8. Cassandra May @ Little Red Window says:

    Ooo, a dough bowl was on my Christmas list but I didn't get one! Totally bookmarking this post for later… Thanks for linking up with The DIY Collective, come back and visit us again next week! xo! Cassie

  9. Maria Brittis says:

    Thanks for sharing this on Dream Creat and Inspire,love the centerpiece of all nature inspired stuff.. We featured your candles and will share this on pinterest. Stop by and visit me if you have a few! Maria

  10. Sharon Doenitz says:

    Love your pictures every day !

    1. Thank you so much for that…I appreciate you!

  11. Love all of these dough bowl ideas…I am still on the lookout for an antique dough bowl that won’t cost me all my limbs! . . Have a great day Janet!

    1. Thank you Shirley and you might consider a repro…they are handmade and not very costly! xo

    1. They are so versatile and perfect for seasonal decorating!

  12. Carole Thoms says:

    Painting old antique dough bowls should be a no no. If it is a repro then that is ok.

    1. Many repros come already painted white, which is likely the case with this one.

  13. Naomi Shelton says:

    Such pretty ideas, Janet. I have an antique dough bowl but it has a crack almost the whole length of it. Any ideas about how to deal with that? I want to preserve its patina, but don’t want it to become two separate pieces! Help!

    1. Wow…that’s a touch one Naomi and if it were me I would glue from underneath with some carpenter’s glue pushed into the crack.

  14. Where did you get the pendents that are in the blog …how to style a dough bowl? Thank you!

  15. Candles in the dough bowl are a good idea. I just need to get a bowl that is large enough to actually sit a few candles in. These are good options especially the fruit as mine is long and more narrow. Off to look at larger dough bowls:0)