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Why are there bowls of blue water on the night stands in Star Trek: The Next Generation?

In multiple episodes, there is a small bowl with blue liquid next to the bed on a table.

For example, from TNG 5x18, Cause and Effect: Crusher's bedstand

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    Ha ha! @dana probably doesn't know how to use the three shells either! i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--jpqoux6U--/… – ThePopMachine Jun 19 '15 at 17:11
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    One that's likely regular water turned blue by the curve of the bowl. Two, I doubt there's a specific answer outside of it was a neat decor item. – user16696 Jun 20 '15 at 5:10
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    With all of the bathroom appliances being energy-based, the blue water was probably for use when all of the power was diverted to shields and life support. – FuzzyBoots Jun 20 '15 at 14:08
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    It's obviously Romulan Ale. – Omegacron Jun 22 '15 at 14:23
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    Just to confirm: Has a bowl like this been seen in rooms other than Dr. Crusher's? – Ryan Veeder Jun 22 '15 at 18:34
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24th Century Feng Shui

I've tried hard to research this question since it was posted, with two obstacles:

  • next to nothing has been published about tabletop decorations on TNG (as opposed to wall art, for which there is a lot more information, e.g. this question and this question)
  • the principal set decorator for TNG, Jim Mees, died three years ago (and doesn't seem to have remarked upon the bowl of blue liquid before that)

However, the bowl immediately struck me as being Feng Shui in nature.

enter image description here

There do appear to be Feng Shui connections to TNG-era Star Trek: for instance, the 2007 television series Feng Shui Living was created and produced by Rod Pyle, who was previously a visual consultant for DS9 who worked closely with Mees and with Star Trek designers Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda. (Sternbach contributed much of the wall art for the TNG sets.)

Based on the above, my best guess is that, both in-universe and out-of-universe, the bowl of blue liquid is just some 24th Century Feng Shui.

(Either that, or Beverly needs a lot of Romulan ale to get to sleep at night...)

  • I assumed it was scented water to make the bedroom smell nice – Valorum Feb 16 '16 at 7:36
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My good friend Alan Sims (Property Master for Star Trek: TNG) was kind enough to address this. In short, they were most likely just used as futuristic-looking set-dressing with no actual in-universe purpose other than as background decoration.

Q. Purely out of interest, what was the weird bowl of blue liquid in the same scene used for? I always figured it was some kind of room scent.

AS: ...It sounds like it was a piece of set dressing via ‘Set Decorator’ and they would have just used blue food coloring with H2O

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