By Alex Nelson
Beauty has never let me down. And for that, I try to bring it into my everyday life: creating it, observing it, embracing it. Beauty can be lots of different things for lots of different people, but I think one thing we can all agree on is the beauty of nature, specifically flowers.
In light of current events, we are all spending a lot of time at home. Remodeling, redecorating, redoing – all in the name of elevating our space, whether indoor or outdoor. Although a small, more finishing touch, flowers help elevate a space. A fresh (or dried!) bouquet somehow makes a home, a home. Lived in. Seeing a bouquet in someone’s home is always refreshing. After spending a healthy amount of time designing florals for other people – whether full-on weddings, birthdays, or simply wrapped in paper for a first date – I want to dive into the creativity for myself as well.
There are a few things I’ve picked up to help me decorate my own home and give it a voice:
Vessels & Tools
To start, you’ll need some clippers. I recommend buying an inexpensive pair to get going. You’ll also need a container. I’ve been in the floral industry for about 9 years, and I barely have any vases. Sometimes I use a Topo Chico bottle, other times it’s an empty coffee can. It depends what I’m feeling and how many florals I’m working with – the larger the opening, the more flowers you will need. I’m also a fan of anything unique: ceramic, handmade, kind of weird. Sometimes the vase is the focal point more than what’s inside, and thrift stores are great for unusual finds. It just has to reflect you and the space, and I think randomness is always good.
The fun part. The world is your oyster. Shop your local farms, grocers, florists and markets. I’m a big fan of a single style stem bouquets for a clean look. You can make a great centerpiece with a pre-made flower mix from your florist, or simply purchase all greenery. Think about where it’s going in your home, as sometimes a garden-style arrangement can feel too stuffy for a minimalist or modern area, and would better suffice with a two stem bud vase. For the bedroom, I love simple bud vases holding something that smells amazing: hyacinth, roses, herbs like rosemary or mint are great too. For the living room, I love something low on the coffee table, and something large and messy in the kitchen. Currently in my dining room I have a vase filled with dead, wheat-colored hydrangea that I asked a neighbor of mine I could have from their yard. Which brings me to my next point:
Dead Things Are Your Friend
Maybe you’ve noticed the dried floral trend – or maybe you live under a rock. The groovy, fluffy pampas of the 70s has come back, but somehow feels new and organic. Foliages and bleached stems are on trend as well. Dried flowers are great on their own, or mixed in with fresh flowers as well. I think the biggest appeal of the dried floral trend is the color: the neutral tones and dried bleached stems are easy to introduce into any room or space. I’m also a fan of taking any fresh flowers and greens you have, and hanging them to dry upside down (this will ensure a nice, straight stem). Once vibrant, deep red roses now take on a goth feel, once faded and shriveled up nicely. Dried bougainvillea gets a delicate, antiqued second life, and some greenery take on a beautiful, muted tone. The best part: no maintenance.
I love flowers anywhere. A petite bud vase on a bookshelf, or on a fireplace mantle. Something scented heavenly on my bedroom nightstand. A vase of trailing eucalyptus in the kitchen, or hanging from the shower head. Really, it’s about the room you want to adorn and spend time in. I find that with a few exceptions, I always find myself drawn to white flowers and neutral colors, as they work in any space.
The essence of any design is to ultimately bring out your passion, to enjoy what you’re doing in the moment. The beauty of fresh florals is evident, as they are so gorgeous but only for a short while. Let the stems speak to you and they will bring a space to life and set the mood.