Prop Talk – Tableware

Hey everyone! I’m back with another prop talk. (Quick explanation in case you’re new to this blog: every now and then I write a post about my favorite props and other behind-the-scenes stuff and this is one of those posts. To see previous prop talks hit the Behind the Scenes tab in the menu at the top).

This prop talk is about where I find the tableware – dishes, bowls, glasses etc. – that I use in my photos. Several of you have asked me about that so I thought I’d put together a post.


I buy the majority of my glasses at Crate & Barrel. I find that C&B has by far the largest selection of affordable glassware so their website is my first stop whenever I need glass. One of the nice things about many C&B glasses is that they have very thin walls and therefore look elegant and beautiful in photos. Thick-walled glasses can appear a bit clunky so I try to stay away from them. Below are two examples of C&B glasses that I have used in photos:

Hazelnut Trifle with Pumpkin Spice

From post Hazelnut Pumpkin Spice Trifles.

Black Forest Eton Mess Recipe

From post Black Forest Eton Mess.



Finding good dishware is trickier than finding glass, there is no one-stop shop that carries everything and I have several stores on my list that I check out on every prop-shopping trip. At the top of my list is World Market. WM tends to have a lot of good Asian-style dishes, bowls etc. (such as the bowl that holds the edamame beans below) as well as some unique things for the kitchen, including the white ceramic cutting board you see in the apple crisp photo below.

Edamame Beans

Delicious stovetop apple crisp with rum-soaked raisins. Ready in 20 minutes!

From post Stovetop Apple Crisp with Rum Raisins.


Heath Ceramics

I have three Heath Ceramics Coupe Line Dessert Bowls (aqua/chocolate brown, persimmon/French gray, and peridot/linen). These are perfect bowls for food photography and I’ve used all three numerous times. Three examples are below. (The small brown plate underneath the bowl in the pulled pork photo is the Heath bread and butter plate in chocolate brown).

Star Anise Poached Pears

From post Star Anise Poached Pears.

Mexican Pulled Pork

From post Spicy Pulled Pork.

Other chain stores I sometimes buy props at are Pier 1 ImportsWilliams SonomaWest Elm, Pottery Barn and Bed, Bath & Beyond. I’ve also found some nice and unique tableware on and I visit local, non-chain kitchen stores wherever I go. For example, I found the textured plate underneath the lettuce cups below in a kitchen store called The Peppercorn in Boulder, CO.

Shrimp Lettuce Cups

From post Shrimp Lettuce Cups.

And that is pretty much a comprehensive list. Hope you find it helpful! :)




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  1. Traci | Vanilla And Bean says:

    Thank you for this Nicole. I find CB easy shopping for sure, but tend to forget about WM and WE – thank you for reminding me! I often look for pottery, too, at markets, and arts and crafts festivals – they tend to be pricey, but they’re such a nice addition to my growing collection. Thank you for your tip on thin glass! What do you think about square bowls and plates?

    • Nicole B. says:

      You’re welcome, Traci! I like World Market a lot, not just because of the great props but also because they tend to create a nice atmosphere in their stores. Looking for unique, handmade pottery is a great idea, I haven’t done that much! Re: square, good question! I find that square bowls can work very well when they are really small and just hold condiments, like dipping sauce or something like that. If the main food is sitting on a round plate a square bowl to the side (or on the plate) provides nice contrast to that. Square plates are a bit iffy, they can work as long they are small but overall I have few photos (that I like) in which I used square plates…

  2. mila furman says:

    OMG how could I forget world market!! I have one right by me!!! Stopping by today! This is a really great post honey! Now if I could figure out how to organize everything :)

    • Nicole B. says:

      So sorry you don’t have a WM nearby! It’s one of my favorite stores, especially during the Holidays (not so much for props then but for the German chocolate). :)

  3. Amanda M says:

    Nicole, thanks for the tips! I find myself at World Market once a week looking for props. I tend to shy away from the other places you mention because I’m afraid I’ll spend my life savings! Hah.

    I was just in Boulder last month and would have loved to shop at the The Peppercorn but didn’t know it existed until now. Oh well – next time for sure :)

    • Nicole B. says:

      Hi Amanda! Yup, I hear ‘ya about the life savings.. Too bad you missed The Peppercorn, it’s heavenly in there but you saved money for sure by not going in. :)

  4. Nagi@RecipeTinEats says:

    I practically wet myself with excitement when I read this. I’ve already started a map flagging where all these stores are in LA! I HAVE TO VISIT ALL OF THEM! I’m bringing an extra suitcase just to take props home! :)

  5. Deepa@onesmallpot says:

    Hi Nicole! Your photos are gorgeous and I’m happy to have discovered your blog. Great tip about the thickness of glass. ….I’ve been caught out by that before and learnt the hard way! Thanks for the list!

  6. Christin says:

    Great post! I’ve never heard of Heath Ceramics but their bowls are amazing!I don’t have a World Market near me- really wish I did!
    I also love Home Goods, I’m obsessed with that place. Thanks for the advice, and GREAT photos by the way! =)

    • Nicole B. says:

      Thank you so much, Christin! I’m going to have to look for a Home Goods store in my neck of the woods, I’ve heard about them but have never been in one. :)

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