10 Ways Fresh-Cut Flowers Improve Décor and Mood

The sight of Chicago in bloom reminds us that nothing says luxury like fresh-cut flowers. And as interior designers, we can’t help but point out the obvious: Besides bringing beauty to the proverbial table, they are the quickest, easiest and most effective way to add color, character and a different ambiance to a room—and improve your mood.

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Studies show that fresh-cut flowers can make us happier and more productive, so it makes sense to put them in a workspace. From JLI's State Parkway project

Sounds like a tall order? Not in the least, though when we did a little homework for this blog we found flower power is more than jargon; fresh-cut flowers make us happier and more productive—especially in a long, cold Chicago winter. A Harvard Medical School study reported in The Harvard Crimson found people feel more compassionate toward others, have less anxiety and feel less depressed in the presence of fresh-cut flowers. Echoing this, a Rutgers University study found “flowers bring about positive emotions and feelings” to those in a room, as reported on the Mother Earth Living website. In a research trifecta, a Texas A&M University study found that “people who keep flowers in their home feel happier, less stressed and more relaxed.”

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Use fresh-cut blooms from the garden to make a breezy bouquet. Photo: Calico Floriculture & Design

As for the decorative prowess of fresh-cut flowers, here are three ways invoke their influence:

1. Use them to make an impression. Imagine a big, crystal-clear vase brimming with dozens of stems. There’s power in numbers, and the shape and shade of the blooms will create different styles and effects

2. Pick with intent. Sleeker options such as Dutch tulips and calla lilies can look graphic and modern, while frothy picks like big-head roses and mophead hydrangeas can be dramatic or romantic.

3. Use color wisely. Flowers in pure, clean, deep or vibrant shades achieve very different effects than those that are dappled or sport soft, light or understated hues.

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Pick with intent; clean-lined calla lilies will create a different demeanor than lacy mophead hydrangeas. Photo: Gardenista.com

So how to choose which fresh-cut flowers to use in Chicago? Dozens of books are devoted to this, but given the scope of our luxury interior design practice, we’ve figured out seven quick tips for using fresh-cut flowers. And we also have some carefully picked sources to share.

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No need to mix and match; one type of flower en masse can have a major visual impact. Photo: TheCherryBlossomGirl.com

Seven Flower Power Tips

  • 1. Think large rather than small; a large vase with a mass of blooms makes a more powerful and immediate impact than several smaller arrangements.
  • 2. Use one or two types of flowers or branches instead of mixed bouquets for greater visual impact—a trick we learned from shooting our projects with editors from top national interior design magazines.
  • 3. Ditch blooms for branches (with buds or bare) for a cleaner or more artsy look and super-longevity; they last far longer than blooms.
  • 4. Buy (or cut, if you’re lucky enough to have a garden) fresh flowers while they are still in bud or just starting to open; these will last longer.
  • 5. Strip most or all of the leaves off the stem; fewer leaves let more water and nutrients flow directly to the flower head and increase longevity.
  • 6 Split the ends of woody stems such as lilacs, roses and branches to increase surface area so they absorb more water for the flower head.
  • 7. To keep flowers perky and fresh, change the water daily and add an antibacterial agent such as a crushed aspirin, a half-teaspoon of bleach, a few drops of bleach with a teaspoon of sugar or a copper penny with the sugar (experiment!).
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Ditch blooms for branches (with buds or bare) for a fresh look and greater longevity. Photo: Nicolette Camille Floral Design

Carefully Picked Sources

When pickings in the garden are sparse, or blooms are out-of-season, consider these trusted local sources:

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To keep flowers fresh as long as possible, change the water daily. Photo: Ralph Lauren Paint

07 May 2015

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