Step away from the vase (and out of your comfort zone) and give one of these STUNNING displays a try
Photography by Heather Kidd
Special spring events call for statement-making blooms. According to Mary Ellen LaFreniere of Steel Cut Flower Co., one of the biggest mistakes she sees is when people display flowers in vases all over their home. “Focus all of your attention on one area, make that the focal point,” she says.
Ready to try something different? Mary Ellen created three unique options to get you started.
Most people have a chandelier over their dining table, and it’s already a focal point, especially if your event centers around a meal. First, Mary Ellen suggests keeping it simple—choose one color palette or even just one flower. “With one color family, the placement of flowers won’t matter as much,” she says. (In all three of these arrangements, Mary Ellen used tulips, sweet peas, heirloom carnations, peonies, bush ivy and lilies.) For the modern, rectangular chandelier on the previous page, she molded chicken wire into a column shape—to create a base for greenery—then after attaching it to the chandelier, added in flowers throughout. Let the flowers cascade down and be natural, she says, “as a way to liven up the space.”
Tip: For those with traditional chandeliers, Mary Ellen says she would wrap greenery around the center point and then use the fixture’s natural curves as places where flowers would hang down, affixed with small wire hooks.
An exquisitely decorated chair is perfect for a gathering with a “guest of honor” who will be the center of attention in lots of photos. Mary Ellen used chicken wire molded into a column shape to create the backbone of the arrangement, then fastened it to the chair with boutonniere pins. She suggests starting from the ground and working your way up to create an organic, climbing shape. The goal is to make the greenery and flowers look like they are connected to the rest of the space. “We like for things to look natural, have a liveliness factor. Instead of just a decoration we stuck on the chair,” she says.
Tip: Don’t go overboard. You don’t want this arrangement getting in your guest of honor’s way or dominating photos.
A home’s mantel is often already the focal point of the living room. Why not dress it up? Mary Ellen says the goal is to have the arrangement feel as though it’s reaching out into the room. “People tend to go upward on mantels,” she explains. “But due to the height of them, it looks better when they are more at eye level and reaching out.” Also, asymmetry is key to make the arrangement feel more “alive” and less stuffy. Here, you can embrace finicky flowers that don’t always look great in vases (we’re talking about you, tulips) and have them cascading upside down for a modern look.
Tip: If you want the arrangement to last, put shallow bowls or planters on the mantel to keep your flowers in place and watered. For day-of décor, use chicken wire as the structure, and attach to small nails in the back of your mantel.