Flowers: Adding something extra or carrying the room?

Greenery or flowers in a room: It's like the hair & makeup for a model before a photo shoot. They are always there in our favorite magazine rooms. To get rooms looking their best, photo stylists almost always add these finishing touches. And look how much they add:

I remember when I was younger, I used to look through catalogs & cover up the plant/flowers in the room & realize that I didn't like the room nearly as much without it. (I still do this & it's almost always true.) Sometimes the greenery stays (potted plants) and sometimes it goes (a vase of fresh flowers) but we rarely see rooms photographed without it. Sometimes I even don't like a room without the greenery... other times it's just another layer of beautiful, like this room from House Beautiful:

Without the Christmas tree, this room (West Elm) doesn't really do it for me:

In college, I filled my rooms with ferns I'd dug out of the woods (is that illegal?!) & slowly killed them as the school year went on. (oops) But because I didn't have the money to spend on the room (or the know-how), I let the ferns carry the room into this kind of conservatory-feeling place. But without them, the room didn't have much going for it design-wise. The photo below (from is what I was going for in an apartment bedroom -and haha ok on a really embarrassing sidenote, I actually went to the dollar store & hung a fake plant garland around as crown moulding.. WOW - hey, we all start somewhere, right?

Whenever I have rooms photographed, flowers or fresh leaves usually go in & I'm almost 100% positive that my clients don't constantly freshen their flowers in every room of the house. (Unless you're like Martha (image below) and/or obsessed with the way your house looks -like I'll admit I sometimes am- there's probably a pretty good chance that there aren't always fresh flowers or greenery in every room of the house- who's got the time?!) ... So it's really important that the room be beautiful on its own, without the flowers/ plants.

In a perfect world, we'd always have these little luxuries, but most of us usually end up doing it before parties, when guests are coming, when the seasons change or when we get a nice bouquet from the man. Which is what makes it special. (On another sidenote- Sometimes, because I'm constantly evaluating rooms/ homes, I feel this crazy pressure to have mine always looking its best. And right now it frankly does not. There are toys scattered everywhere, laundry baskets full of clean clothes waiting to be put away, and there's a dying branch of something that used to be pretty in a ball jar in my bathroom. AHhhh!!)

In the photo below from Martha Stewart, I love the old-discovered feeling of this room but it's the little bouquet of lilies that makes it really special to me. It brings the just a hint of the life that I think the room needs. I'm really not as into the room without it.

If the hit of life or green is what the room needs on a daily basis for the design to work, then put something that can stay there like moss or a living plant, like this room from shift (a blog I love and the room is done by Christine Lane Interiors who I will be writing about shortly as I cannot get over her amazing her rooms!):

Adding flowers and/or greenery to a room is something beautiful that we can do whenever we want to freshen up our homes without spending a bunch of money- it just takes time- but let's also remember that we can't let them carry the room either (like I did in college! .. If I had a picture of my room I'd put it up to give you a good laugh! :)
Have a great weeekend!!


LindsB said...

I wish you had that picture of your room in college, would be really funny to look at now!

shi(f)t said...

i think fresh flowers and plants are so under-rated...i love how they give a little life to any room. i'm growing forced bulbs now and they are so fun to watch grow!

thanks for the link!

Things That Inspire said...

I remember reading that Oprah would give her close friends the gift of a fresh flower arrangement every week for a year. What an amazing gift that would be!

Lauren said...

Linds- I might be able to dig one up & scan it in next week- you'll get a good laugh! :)

shift: would love to see pics of your forced bulbs- I attempted them last year in a seashell & had terrible luck- maybe they would have done better if I watered them? ;)

TTI: Oh wow!! I would love to get that gift!!! :) I've heard of one a month but every week?!!! awesome

Haven and Home said...

I agree with all this! It is funny where you start. I always love rooms with branches in them but I can never get them to stay looking good for more than a few hours. Any tips?

Lauren said...

Marianne, for the branches, try recutting them directly under warm water once you've brought them in & then put them straight into a vase of really warm water. Even sometimes then they'll wilt but you can cut them again & try it again. Sometimes they still wilt, but it's worked for me for most branches. (I just posted this on your blog because I realized I'd totally forgotten to answer you! :)