Why Colorful Cups Have Become Our Glassware of Choice

Colorful glasses embrace maximalism in the chicest way—here’s how the trend away from clear glass came to be.

Not too long ago, colorful glassware could only be found in antique shops and flea markets. Today, it adorns the shelves of a variety of major retailers and is starting to become a staple in many people’s homes. From soft pastel shades to moody jewel tones, there’s vibrant glassware available for any style and aesthetic. Here’s what you need to know about this bright, playful trend, plus expert tips for how to display colorful glassware in your home.

floral centerpiece

Carson Downing

A Blast From the Past

If this trend seems familiar, that’s because this isn’t the first time that colorful glassware has made its way into our homes and hearts. 

“You see the evolution of non-clear drinkware through the decades as shapes and colors change to fit the style of the moment,” says Julie Robbins, product specialist at Replacements, LTD, a china, silverware, and crystal retailer. 

The trend first rose to popularity back in the 1930s, which earned it the name depression glassware.

various Jadeite dishes in white cabinet
Quentin Bacon

“Manufacturers were able to use color to transform lower-quality glass into something beautiful and desirable,” says Laura Beth Love, author, artist,  and owner of Etsy store Dishfunctional Designs. Translucent pastel colors were typical of depression glassware at the time, often in shades of pink, orange, green, and yellow. “These colorful, collectable pieces of glassware were an inexpensive way to add some cheery color to your home at a time when morale was low,” Love  says. 

Nearly 40 years later in the 1970s, colorful glassware hit the scene again, this time in earthier, moodier tones and chunkier designs that reflected the popular design trends of the decade. Shades of amber, ochre, and dark green were common along with jewel tones like purple, blue, and red.

Today, colored  glassware is back, brought on by bold and colorful decorating trends like maximalism.

“Right now, sleek and elegant glassware in a variety of soft shades is a look we’re noticing everywhere,” Robbins says. 

placesetting with lush floral theme
Victoria Pearson

Tips for Adding Colorful Glassware to Your Home

Whether you choose to add colorful drinkware to your dining room or kitchen or glass trinket dishes and vases to your bedroom or bathroom—there’s room for colorful glassware in any space. Don’t be afraid to integrate these eye-catching pieces into your home decor. Consider open shelving or cabinets with glass doors so that your unique glassware can be shown off and appreciated by all. 

To help make your pieces stand out, consider what the lighting is like when you’re styling them. Natural light will help illuminate the glass more than artificial light, but you should avoid direct sunlight as it can fade or discolor your pieces in the long term, Robbins says. 

When it comes to choosing the color of glassware, “start with a color found in your china, placemats, or tablecloths, or pull inspiration from the decor in your home,” says Pamela O’Brien, interior designer at Pamela Hope Designs. “You can easily add new colored glassware into your current mix of tableware and glassware for a fresh look… It is very versatile and a few colorful additions will give you lots of options for inventive tablescapes.” 

Lastly, to help keep your colored glass in good condition, it’s always best to handwash your pieces using warm water and mild soap. Avoid using harsh cleaning brushes or scrubbers on the glass to prevent damage—a soft cloth or sponge is best. 

“Some vintage colored glass is ‘flashed’ where the color is actually an applied coating, and all glassware is vulnerable to scratching, so treat it gently,” Robbins says.

dried flowers in bowl on table

Carson Downing

Is Colored Glassware Here to Stay?

Is this colorful glassware trend here to stay or just a passing fad? The experts agree that colorful glassware will likely always have a place in the home.

“Non-clear drinkware has endured for over a century and continues to win over new collectors,” says Robbins. “We definitely recommend trying it. There are colors and shapes for every style and taste…and we think it’s just too much fun to miss!”

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