Delight in Floral Design

Posted on April 1, 2024 by Grace Olson

Arrangements to Enhance the Home

Welcome, April! After months of winter, we’re officially in the season of spring and that means fresh air and new growth. There’s nothing more symbolic than fresh blooms and colorful buds, and it’s not just in the outdoors that their presence makes a big impact.

“The entire house can be in total chaos and disarray but having a vase of fresh flowers inside it helps us to overlook everything else and focus our attention on the beauty of nature and bringing that beauty indoors,” Joelle Miller, owner of Seven Thymes Flowers & Other Lovely Things in Neenah says.

“Flowers add beauty and have a way of uplifting our mood. They are vibrant and fresh and living. They’re beautiful on their own and then together they just create something so splendid and rich.”

“Walking into a room with a bright array of florals energizes the mood of a room,” Tiffany Hoerres, owner of Living Fresh Floral in Little Chute, agrees. “A floral arrangement with soft muted colors will soften the room and bring warmth making the room feel cozy.”

Olivia Schoen, owner of Radiant Floral in Kaukauna, adds that it’s not just their color and scent that can add interest to a room.

“(Flowers) have really nice textures and elements that break up the space,” she says. “You have a lot of hard lines in your home—sometimes fluorescent lights—and those earthy textures from outside soften the space and make it feel brighter.”

It’s not just the simple presence of beautiful flowers that make an impact, but their messages of love and comfort and emotional quality, plus their refreshing scent and ability to purify the air that adds to the positive effect of bringing flowers into the home.

“I feel like arrangements in our home should convey different meanings that can remind you of your childhood or maybe your child’s birth month flower, your wedding flower,” Miller says. “There’s so many ways that you can trigger memories and it has to do with the emotion of flowers.”   

Flower Arranging 101

While our experts agree rules are meant to be broken, the basics of flower arranging help create cohesive bouquets that “work.”
“You want to maintain a uniform sized arrangement when designing,” Hoerres says. “Keep in mind, the size of flowers and foliage should be in proportion to the size of the container or vase.”

Florists recommend flowers be 2.5 times the size of their vessel, but that doesn’t necessarily mean “up.”

“You can achieve proportion not just through height but also through length,” Miller explains. “It doesn’t matter which direction the flowers reach, as long as in each direction it is proportionate to the vessel.”

They say it’s also imperative to keep flower arrangements on scale with the room. A grand room warrants a larger arrangement, while a small room—like a bathroom or nook—could only require a tiny bud vase.

In order to reach a certain scale, Schoen urges to use the proper tools to cut and trim your flowers.

“If you use scissors, I’m coming for you!” she laughs. “Take little bits off at a time and use a sharp floral cutter.”
To create harmony in a floral design, Hoerres suggests keeping all flowers, foliage and colors of one theme.

By placing flowers at different heights in an arrangement it creates a three-dimensional look,” Hoerres says. “This will guide the eye to view the entire arrangement.”

Conversely, if you want a flower to shine or to have a “moment,” rules go out the window!

“I think the rules take us back to a very formal and traditional style, whereas people appreciate uniqueness and artistry today,” Miller says. “I like to create interest in my design—there’s always the lead actor and supporting actors. That ‘lead actor’ sometimes I just like them to be the star of the show, you know, poke their little head up above the rest. It creates a fun and whimsy arrangement.”

“If you want a flower to shine in your arrangement, you give it that moment to shine,” Schoen adds. “Everything in nature is irregular. Giving a loose, natural feel and not stressing about things being out of place. Plus it’s so much easier to be loose and whimsical and messy, so I think that’s part of the reason why we’re seeing more of that. It’s fun.”

Vases and Vessels

Nothing is “standard” in design aesthetics these days, and the floral world is no exception. From casual to sentimental, the vessels in which floral arrangements are presented are as diverse as the flowers themselves.

“I love collecting different vessels from estate sales and thrifting,” Miller explains. “There’s the thrill of the hunt when you search for things… and then to find something that maybe coordinates with the hardware on your cabinet doors or grandma’s china, you know something like that. I love family heirlooms.

“I encourage people to bring those vessels into the shop for me to design flowers in. I am certainly not against using something that they’ve acquired through the years or that is special to their family.”

A natural look of omitting a vessel and creating a tablescape garden is also trending.

“Another form of a design that I’m drawn to now is where you don’t see the vessel at all,” Miller says. “‘I often use a linear tray or even a platter and pre-soaked floral foam that you can get at a local craft store or your local florist and then create an arrangement that looks like a garden. It’s a linear arrangement that looks like it’s just growing out of the table.”

“I’ve been seeing a lot of people use more pottery and ceramic type pots too,” Schoen adds. “I really love bud vases.”  

Incorporating Flowers into Interior Design

When using fresh flowers as interior design components, there are several items to consider. Things like room size, functionality, color, texture and more all affect if flowers “work.”

“When selecting fresh flowers for your home you want to keep in mind your color scheme,” Hoerres says. “Rooms with a neutral color palette of beige, brown, cream, gray, taupe and white I recommend adding a brighter and more vibrant floral arrangement. This will add warmth and energy into the room.

“For rooms with brighter or bold colors in furniture and wall accents I recommend doing a simple, one-color arrangement. An arrangement of flowers in the same color, but with different hues will complement the room without making the piece distracting.”

Miller explains that using flowers as an accent piece works wonders in terms of interior design, and looks like a natural part of a space.

“(Flowers) are a wonderful accent that no pillow, no picture, no throw blanket can achieve,” she says. “They can bring furniture and pictures and a lot of elements that have different texture and form together,” Miller says.

“Colors chosen for a design should complement each other and the arrangements’ surroundings,” Hoerres adds.

For instance, our eyes will spot a color in a painting, and our eyes will follow that same color throughout the room. In floral design, you’re able to bring the outdoors in by bringing white white hydrangea bushes outdoors in with a white hydrangea in your floral arrangement.

When using flowers as a dining room table centerpiece, functionality is a significant component where other places it might not be as imperative.

“You want to keep in mind that you don’t want to interrupt conversation,” Miller says. “You want it to add to the beauty of the evening and be an accent. So it needs to be low enough where people can talk over you. You can create the size through the width of the arrangement instead of through height.”

Tips and Tricks

There are a few tips and tricks to keep floral arrangements bright and fresh—typically about two weeks—but there is a lot of information that can get confusing.

“Do you slice the stems, do you mash them? I’ve heard about burning the stems too,” Schoen says. “I like to trim the bottom and make an ‘X’ so the water goes up the stem.”

“I cut them at an angle every day and change the water at the same time,” Miller adds.

The daily upkeep prevents mold and bacteria from forming in the water, and that preserves the flowers’ freshness longer.

“If plants’ water isn’t clean enough, that bacteria will shorten their lifespan,” Schoen says.

“With hydrangeas, they lose moisture through their petals. So if for some reason your hydrangea is looking extra wilty,  they just need water. They need to be dunked in water.

“There’s also a floral spray from florists that you can buy. It coats them with wax, a gelatin actually, that locks in the moisture to the petals.”

“Avoid heat and keep them out of direct sunlight,” Miller advises. “Flowers like to stay high humidity and cool air is how we preserve their life.”

When it comes to trying floral arranging yourself, our experts’ advice is simple: try!

“Don’t be afraid to jump in! If you don’t like it at first, who cares?” Schoen asks. “Take it apart and start over until you get it the way you want to.”

“Look at designs and magazines, search the internet for various arrangements that draw you in. Study them, and then go to a local flower shop and take a few tips from the floral designer there. Then my advice is to just relax and allow yourself to arrange flowers how you see fit,” Miller agrees. “Don’t be afraid to put them in the vase and then pull them back out and rearrange them. That’s the best way to become familiar and comfortable with it.”

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