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How to Decorate with Florals

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Sure, you’ve still got the heat cranked and a simmering pot of soup on the stove but according to my calendar spring has sprung.  These rainy days will lead to those invigorating mornings when you throw open the windows determined to breathe fresh air into your home and hustle the lazy, winter feel out of your living room.  One of the best ways to usher in that spark of spring is by incorporating floral patterns and yet fewer things can go so wrong, so quickly.  So let’s talk about how to decorate with florals without looking like grandma’s house.

The greatest tip I can give you is to choose large scale florals.  I’m talking big, beautifully structured floral patterns which focus on shape and elegance.  Keep in mind that when going large it’s also a good idea to go simple.  Giant, complex patterns can pump up the design volume in an unmanageable way.  So look for prints that are whole and complete without the potential to dominate the entire space.

Along with shape, bright colors can also fuel the powerful punch florals are known to deliver. If you’re fearful of that old timey association of florals with overly feminine design, remember that florals now go beyond rosy shades of pastels.  Here are two examples of the different directions that colors can take with florals.

Floral patterns don’t have to remain relegated to bedding or upholstery.  Don’t be afraid to try a few unconventional paths to working with florals such as accessories or even adding floral designs to the ceiling!  If ceiling decor is not your jam, don’t forget about pillows, bouquets, lampshades, or artwork.  Here’s a girly modern example of abstract flowers in an encaustic art piece by Betsy Web in the master bedroom.

If you’re still not sold on the potential of floral patterns, try the safest route – monochromatic.  By creating a room in one hue, there is a stability to the space which keeps all the elements in check.  It’s difficult to roam too far in a monochromatic design and by adding floral patterns with a matching base color, those flowers will be the perfect accent.

Are you worried about frilly when it comes to florals?  The key to fending off the doily factor is to add in rustic or masculine pieces.  A leather club chair, a seasoned wood table, or a neutral color scheme will anchor the space.  It’s a good idea to avoid mixing florals with delicate decor since it can add an air of fragility to the room.  Here’s a rustic bathroom I designed that balances the softness of florals with horizontal stripes on the tub and a top-stitched vinyl valance window treatment.

Another way to offset an avalanche of girlyness is to pair florals with a bright white.  A bold, white backdrop will add a sense of freshness and shine that will gallantly showcase a vibrant floral print.

Florals have a reputation as one of the most cringe-inducing design patterns but there’s a new generation of florals that add the perfect amount of color and movement to a space.  If you have a room in your home that is feeling stagnant and in need of a springtime infusion, look for big, bold floral patterns to add a little extra vitality to your design.

3 Comments

  1. I love the pare shaped orange and white arm chair! It makes such a statement!

  2. “The key to fending off the doily factor is to add in rustic or masculine pieces. ”

    Great advice. Mixing masculine and feminine design features will help keep it from tipping too far one way or the other. Plus it’s very cool to pair things that don’t automatically match.

  3. The pink floral set is *gorgeous*! Makes me feel like I’ve just come back from a field of spring flowers ^_^

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