In Bloom Part II: 5 Artful Arrangements for Any Space

In Bloom Part II: 5 Artful Arrangements for Any Space

In Bloom Part II: 5 Artful Arrangements for Any Space


In part two of our series, designer Olivia Stutz shares how to create five different arrangements based on your decor style.

Photos by Christian Torres.

Designing a space is never truly done—there is always an opportunity to layer in a treasure from a recent getaway, add a newly collected art piece to your gallery wall, or top your living room credenza with a fresh bouquet of flowers. When it comes to the latter, we look to designer Olivia Stutz for guidance.

On any given morning, you might find Olivia scouring New York City’s Flower Market for the perfect stems (read all about it in her guide here). But it’s when she’s arranging flowers at home or for a client that her talents are really in full bloom. We recently met with the flower enthusiast to get some pointers on which types of arrangements pair best with different decor styles. Plus, we picked her brain for tips and tricks on assembling a truly arresting arrangement.


Suggested Decor Style: Traditional

Flowers Used: Dried Cynara (Artichoke), Veronica White Flower from Holland, Fern (Arachniodes), Mountain Laurel Branches

There is nothing more beautiful than Veronica White Flower and Mountain Laurel Branches paired together. I used Veronica White Flower specifically because of their unique way of draping over the vase. In general, a fancy pedestal bowl gives centerpieces a more sophisticated look when the occasion calls for it. This particular arrangement can add a ton of character to traditional spaces and looks especially beautiful on an entryway table—it is the first thing guests will see when they walk in your front door. Pro-Tip: Make sure to refresh every few days with water!

How to Arrange:

1. Cut a handful of each green. Most of these are delicate, but the mountain laurel really grounds them (another hardy shrub works just as well).
2. Trim the branches and stems at an angle, and put them in clean water so they can soak up some water prior to being arranged.
3. Fill a bucket with water and place the foam on top of the water. Be careful not to submerge it—just let it float and naturally soak up the water. After the foam sinks to the bottom and darkens, use a knife to cut it to size, and place it in the vase. Start arranging by poking each stem into the foam.

Did You Know: Because floral foam is dense, porous, and lightweight, it’s easy to cut into virtually any shape. In addition to keeping shape while wet, it can hold large quantities of water, increasing the life of your flowers. It also lends your flower stems support, giving you more control with your arrangements.


Suggested Decor Style: Contemporary & Casual

Flowers Used: Baroness Schroeder Peony

There is nothing more beautiful than a simple peony arrangement. There is a lot going on in each flower that it creates a wonderful impact without too much effort. This design style is meant for a more contemporary and casual setting and also looks great at a big dinner party in the center of the table. Fortunately, white flowers really look good in any color vase. I chose this vessel because of how gorgeous the marble detail was. In addition, I chose it because it was sturdy and low to the ground, as I love cutting peony stems short and having them arranged closely together. In general though, amassing a small collection of vessels will allow you to build a variety of arrangements. Have I turned you into a Peony lover yet?

How to Arrange:

1. Cut the stems at an angle, about 5” from the flower head. Pro-Tip: Cutting stems underwater can prevent air bubbles and help the flowers to absorb more moisture.
2. Add as many in as you can (typically about 7 or 8 stems)

Did You Know: Cutting stems at an angle gives them access to more water, prolonging the attractive life of flowers.


Suggested Decor Style: Modern or Retro

Flowers Used: Pink Anthurium, Red Anthurium, Orange Speckled Anthurium, Spectabilis Ginger (Beehive Ginger), Dried Sago (Small Lighter Colored Palm), Coco Palm (Big Darker Palm), White King Protea

This arrangement would work well in a modern or retro space because it is unexpected and irreverent, marrying ikebana-inflected minimalist with a dash of kitsch. I chose the elements based on textures, shapes, and colors. I always try to create an interesting composition when I am working with tropical cuts. I tend to lean towards asymmetry and create linear shapes within the composition. Be wild with this one—there are no rules!

How to Arrange:

1. Cut the palms at an angle and see where they fit in the back of the vase, as they will be your arrangement’s “support system.” Keep in mind you want to keep the palms big and long.
2. Place the Protea in the vase, as this is the next heaviest flower, and lean it towards the side, making way for the more fragile and lighter weight Anthuriums.
3. Cut the Anthuriums at different lengths, as we want this arrangement to be “wild”! As you can see in the picture, I cut one really short, the next a mid-length, and I barely cut the last one, to create 3 different vocal points
4. I topped the arrangement off with two rare Beehive Gingers from my favorite florist in the Flower Market: Caribbean Cuts.


Suggested Decor Style: Farmhouse, French Country, or Eclectic

Flowers Used: Red Hanging Amaranthus, Tweedia (Blue Flower), Sandersonia (Orange Flower), Red Charm Peony

The inspiration for this mix of wild-like flowers and romantic hanging branches came from an artistic, whimsical standpoint. The organic and wild blooms used complement raw wood furniture and a neutral-colored linen couches and chairs often seen in farmhouse or French country-style homes. I love how the gold vase is thinner at the top as to hold everything up nicely, but still low enough to the ground for my hanging pieces. I also love the pop of yellow, orange, and gold, and how those colors work so well together.

How to Arrange:

1. Fill vase with water almost to the top (these flowers need to drink). Avoid cutting the greenery too short, and place these in the back of the vase first
2. Cut the Amaranthus about 4 inches down from where the flowers start to show, and place in the vase to the side.
3. Cut the Peony just enough that it peeks out of the top of the vase

Did You Know: you should pick your vase before selecting your flowers. Be sure to choose a vessel that accentuates what you love most about your flowers. Tall, arching tulip stems look right at home in a simple, clear vase that highlights their long clean lines. Flowers can be arranged in almost anything, so keep your eye out for interesting pieces to use as vessels. I am always on the lookout for cool, emerging ceramists from around the world that are creating cool vessels.


Suggested Decor Style: Traditional

Flowers Used: Lactifora Peony (Yellow Crown) and Red Charm Peony

These regal flowers showcase large, scented blooms and a dazzling array of forms that resemble everything from fried eggs to ballet skirts. Peonies are coveted for wedding bouquets and table settings, but we love them no matter the occasion. Pro tip: select buds that are just open enough to show their colors so that you can enjoy them as long as possible. Feel free to select all the same color or mix it up. Peonies come in pink, white, dark red, yellow and sherbert!

How to Arrange:

1. Trim and add 3 or 4 stems to the vase so that the blooms rest 2 inches above the rim
2. Trim and add 5 more stems to the same vase so that the bottoms of the blooms sit just above the first four, creating a tight mass of blooms
3. Optional: add Opium Poppy Balls for some fun greenery

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