Flower Arranging Tips
Floral expert Rebecca Cole brings Harvard research to life with how-to ideas for everyday display and care.
From her New York City design studio, interior and floral designer Rebecca Cole is a pro at creating personal spaces in which her clients love to live. Through her Discovery Channel show, Surprise by Design, Cole has made it her life’s work to inspire viewers to create individualized living environments. “The recent Harvard research is proof that if we live in places that lift our spirits, we can live happier, healthier lives,” said Cole. “Fresh cut flowers are the perfect everyday accessory for any budget — they add color, fragrance and style — and now we know they even increase energy and compassion.”
According to Cole, it’s easy to create a home ecology, and she offers tips for those who want to easily add flower power to their homes in a way that matches their personal style and décor.
Where to Place Flowers
Participants in the Harvard study reported the greatest mood-boosting effects when fresh cut flowers were placed in common areas of the home such as the kitchen, dining room and family room. Cole’s easy ideas for social and personal spaces include:
- Place bud vases in high traffic home areas — with even just a few flowers. Any decorative glass from the kitchen will do!
- The kitchen table might be the best place for flowers, because it’s where people gather together. Stop by a florist or supermarket, where you’ll find a wide selection of flowers from which to choose.
- In the foyer, create a space to hang your keys that also includes a weekly vase of flowers. It will be the last place you see on your way out the door and the first you see on your way back inside.
- Go big and bold for open spaces. An abundant arrangement of lilies, gladiolus, hydrangea or any large blooms create an inviting environment for an expansive entryway or dining room.
- A bouquet can also perk up personal spaces such as bathrooms and bedrooms.
- A bud vase with a simple cluster of flowers hidden in the center of a clear bubble bowl filled with potpourri is the perfect way to create a welcoming atmosphere in a guest room.
- Experiment to match a room’s décor with one the hottest flower trends — monobotanic (arrangements of all one type of flower) and monochromatic (using all one color palette, such as a range of pinks).
- For a contemporary look, group several vases together holding just one or two stems. If you’re using your own container, be creative! Use champagne glasses, china pieces or other items that fit the décor of the room.
- Old water pitchers, antique teapots, classic urns or even tattered clay pots make fascinating containers for a casually placed flower arrangement.
- For an easy, elegant table decoration, set a series of crystal vases on a fabric runner. Place fresh flowers in each of the vases and surround them with greenery.
- Float two or three blooms, such as open roses or gerbera daisies in a favorite crystal bowl.
- Choose soothing colors, like blues and greens, to create a tranquil feeling or bright reds and oranges for a more energetic arrangement. Yellows and peaches are nurturing and pinks and lavenders are romantic.
Making Flowers Last
- Care for your flowers to keep them lasting. Before you put the flowers in the vase, remove all leaves below the waterline, and include flower food for extra nutrients. If the water becomes cloudy after a few days, replace it entirely with properly mixed flower food solution. If possible, re-cut stems by removing one to two inches with a sharp knife or scissors.
- Flowers have different life spans. Once some flowers begin to fade, remove them, and transfer the longer-lasting flowers to a smaller vase to place elsewhere in your home.
- Shop strategically. Know what’s on special at the supermarket, and ask your florist for the freshest varieties in stock that day.
“Whether experimenting on your own or eliciting the help of a floral expert, bringing flowers into your home will brighten your mood as well as your surroundings,” says Cole.