CHOOSE THE RIGHT CONTAINER
The width of the neck or opening of the container plays a huge role in how the flowers will fit or drape (see the calla lily arrangement yesterday). A narrow opening will force straight stemmed flowers to be very vertical and upright. On the other hand the same narrow opening will keep more flexible, fragile stemmed wildflowers under control. Crockery pots, terra cotta pots or any planter, pitchers, and generic glass vases lend themselves well to informal, loose arrangements. To reinforce that informal feeling, make sure to include some droopy, draping flowers or add a green (like ivy or a fern) that will tumble over the lip of the container. (birch vase from SaveOnCrafts.com $5)
Bring out your crystal (or etched glass or nicer glass), silver (MARGARET TEAPOT – SILVER PLATED MARGARET TEAPOT), urns or heirloom pieces to create a more formal, structured arrangement.
Low, shallow platters or containers, or planters with simple lines will be perfect for a high style, tropical type arrangement. The contrast of a really low or really plain container really highlights the drama that oversize tropical blooms bring to an arrangement.
FLORAL LOOKS FOR DINING ROOMS
Arrangements meant for a dining table during a meal should be kept fairly low so the flowers don’t block your view of other diners. However, a centerpiece that sits on the dining table in between meals can be as large and grand as you’d like – make a real statement with it. Dining table decor could be a whole post by itself, but for here let’s just think floral – dramatic or simple…dining tables offer plenty of room so experiment – be bold!
The lush arrangement of hydrangeas and white flowers blends seamlessly with the decor of this dining room, keeping the monochromatic theme working. Personally I’d have added some red or orange (blue’s complementary color) for more energy.
This much simpler arrangement of loose wildflowers (note the thin, flimsy stems) fits the more casual style of this room and any of you can achieve this look. The white crockery vase is a perfect fit with all the white walls and has a wide enough opening to allow the wildflowers room to spread.
Not an arrangement to have on the table at dinnertime, but these tall branches add some height and drama to this small dining table. Goes to show you don’t need a big, stuffed arrangment to make a statement.
In this spare modern dining room, the punch of orange flowers really draws the eye. It’s actually 2 arrangements – each in a clear square vase, one stuffed with orange tulips, the other with a hand full of orange calla lilies. The lilies are laying casually sideways across the vase which is an effective way to use the wide mouth of the square vase when using a straight stemmed flower. Both vases use a layer of black river rock in the bottom to anchor the arrangements.
This dining area has it all – a floral arrangement on the table (flanked by extraordinarily tall candle holders which work because of the extraordinarily tall ceilings), an extra tall tree in the corner and a small, up-close-and-personal arrangement on the side table.
FLOWERS AROUND THE HOUSE
Something as simple as a couple of fern fronds can add that needed touch of life to a room. Notice how the vase used has a tiny opening so the fronds stand up nice and straight. The flowers on the mantel have nice height to balance the 2 pictures. Love that mantel look by the way – it suits my asymmetrical style.
This big modern space needs a modern floral treatment. These large monstera leaves (whether real or fake) make a very graphic statement on the mantel which is in keeping with the style of the room. Sometimes simple is best.
This large tree in the corner (not a ficus!) is underplanted with a fern of some kind which keeps it from looking too naked in that big pot. The broad leaf shrub by the fireplace fills in a corner and the arrangment of white flowers on the coffee table is the perfect size to create a focal point in the conversation area.
Topiaries are cool. In this all white room, they really stand out. If the topiary is rigidly, perfectly shaped, it fits very well in a formal, traditional room or in a very modern room since they are so sculptural. These more loose, random topiaries are more casual and work well in country or eclectic settings. Topiaries look great on a mantel (if there’s room), on a hearth, in a bathroom, on a dresser in a bedroom…..pretty much anywhere.
Here’s a great example of a different kind of tree (I know they’re available in silk as well) to make your home stand out. The fact that the big green leaves are at the top only keeps the tree from feeling too heavy and blocking the view to the other side of the room, yet it gives the feeling of filling up space. The tall orange orchid plant next to the chair is a great play of color but in an airy way.
The scale of this banana leaf plant fits these really high ceilings but because it’s not a dense tree, it doesn’t loom over the furniture. A great solution against that expanse of draperies.
EVERY BATH NEEDS A FLOWER
Bathrooms are full of hard edges and finishes – tile, tub, vanity, countertop, glass shower doors. To soften those edges bring in ferns, grasses, ivy (real or silk). Doesn’t this bathroom feel more inviting with the touches of green?
This casual, quiet bathroom needs a touch of something…….the tall, dark, fluffy grass fronds jump out at you because of the contrast in color and texture to its surroundings. Again, a very narrow neck holds the grasses nice and tidy and upright.
This very modern bath uses a different approach. A set of 3 hard angled silver vases are perfect with the other finishes in the room. The minimal use of only one kind of flower and no greens puts a very modern spin on the use of the flowers.
The ivy overflows the shelf and the 3 bright dahlias brighten the corner of the vanity. Just those couple of touches help bring the outdoors inside this light filled bathroom.
No room? No money? Even this tiny bouquet of 2 or 3 blooms tucked into the back corner of the vanity will make you smile in the mornings. Fresh would be ideal – just a bloom or two from the yard, but if you don’t have that, buy good quality silks so that you enjoy looking at the flowers every day.
TREES AND GREENS
These days most of us use silk plants in our homes – especially in rooms that don’t get enough light. Silk plant quality has improved dramatically but there are still lots of cheap, junky greens out there. It’s worth investing in the best quality you can afford – they’ll last longer, look more real and give you greater satisfaction and pleasure over the years. Look for fraying on the leaves, leaves separating from their wire backing, unnatural, over-bright green color, and stems that are too plasticy to be real.
After spending the money to buy that good quality plant, you get it home, plop it in the corner and wonder why it doesn’t look so great. Terrie said it would be worth it to spend the extra money after all! The next step is to “fluff” the plant. It’s probably been smushed (a technical designer term) on a shelf or showroom floor with no attention to how it looks. You need to take each branch/leaf (yes, every one!) and shape it. Try to mimic the way the plant grows in real life. Ivy does not grow in a perfectly even, rounded look. Trees and shrubs have uneven branches and leaves turned in different directions. Take each leaf or branch between your fingers and gently pull on it curving it into a downward arch. Curve it, don’t bend it at an angle. Curve some more than others and leave an occasional ‘hole’ or uneveness in the branches.
To really get the feeling that you’ve brought the outdoors in, use a variety of plants and try to break away from the expected. Look for something other than the standard ficus tree, ivy, boston fern. There are LOTS of options – if you can’t find them in your local stores, shop online. Using unusual greens will give your home a definite designer look immediately.
Keep your plants in scale with the space. Tall ceilings? Use tall trees, anything over 6′ (use a stand or big pot to raise the height of the tree even more). Short wall where a ceiling angles down? Use a short shrub or plant on a little stand to fill the corner.