In Victorian times, a simple bouquet came packed with meaning. If your beloved sent you azaleas, he was burning with passion; honeysuckle meant devotion and red roses – of course – were for love.
Who can blame those romantic souls? Flowers are amazingly varied; they can be delicate or strong, blowsy or demure, soft or sculptural. And that versatility means that for interior designers, they’re currently the must-have accessory in any room.
Flowers, with their short lifespan, bring a precious, fleeting dash of extra glamour to a room – not to mention scent and colour. And with floral patterns big news at the moment in fabrics and wallpapers, a little complementary flower arranging can go a long way towards finishing off a room to perfection.
When planning your floral arrangement, think about flowers as personalities. Does your room need a strong, characterful centrepiece? Consider sweeping boughs of fruit trees, decked with blossom and displayed in a chunky white vase.
Or maybe you’d welcome a sweet, gentle presence to add softness to the background? Cream roses would fit the bill, nestled in a glass globe such as the Remi copper vase from Barker and Stonehouse, which has been hand-painted with metallic lustre to impressive effect.
Delphiniums look divine as elegant, yet pretty, single stalks in a cluster of tall vases, while a cluster of full-bodied flowers such as hydrangeas looks wonderful hand-tied in a glass jar on the kitchen table.
Feel free to be inspired by these lovely organic forms – they’ve certainly been inspiring designers recently.
Artist Jessica Zoob, for instance, has been translating her extraordinary domains of colour and texture to textiles, shown to great advantage in the Alverton Accent Breathe Velvet Wild Flower limited edition chair, available exclusively at Barker and Stonehouse (pictured above).
The chair features bright, scattered brushmarks printed on velvet, and is not only visually stunning, but feels soft and sumptuous to touch. Its classic shape makes it a real statement piece that will really stand the test of time style-wise.
Tropical prints are a big interiors trend at the moment, and a dazzling example comes in the shape of the Tropics rug, bursting with huge hot-house flowers in colours sizzling enough to heat up any surroundings.
That’s floors sorted out – and there’s plenty of choice for walls if you decide to go for floral. I absolutely adore Farrow and Ball’s stark black and white Bamboo paper, or Jasmine Lattice from Fabrics and Papers for a pretty Japanese-themed backdrop.
Floral arrangements are not always cut, of course, and potted plants can also add a life-giving dash of green to any interior.
They can lack drama, though, so I’m impressed at the impact they make when displayed in the Metal Lantern with mosaic base – it comes in a set of two and adds a definite air of Moroccan charm.
I think they’d go well with the Floral Mirror, which carries a subtle daisy pattern on its artfully-distressed frame that would contribute to an ever-so-slightly exotic feel in the room.
Don’t feel intimidated if you think you don’t have flower-arranging skills. Look at books and magazines for tips, or find internet instruction videos – and you can always seek professional help from a florist. It’s well worth making the effort if it means you get the full power of the flower in your home.