Fresh Floral Designs: Nectar's DIY Tips

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It’s inspiration, fun and literal LIFE that House of Nomad tries to bring into every space we design. This means plants, flowers — and greenery of all kinds. For every install, potted plants come through the door (worked into the original design!) and for every photo shoot that follows, fresh flowers always make the cut. Greenery and plants are not just finishing touches but game changers for a space, incorporating texture and layers of beauty and life. 

But fresh flowers can be tricky. Turns out floral design is not as simple as it looks. Our friends at Nectar sat down with HON this week, answering a plethora of beginner’s questions on how to start out creating simple arrangements. From what flowers to reach for in the first place and what vase to use to four techniques to follow, Nectar’s owner, Karisa Pennell has us covered. Here’s a glimpse into HON’s chat with Karisa — and photos of our communications manager tackling the tricks she learned while styling a HON kitchen design!

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Q: Are there any flowers should you stay away from as a beginner?

A: “Flowers that are hard to use as a novice are Gerbera daisy and sunflowers -- anything that has a flat head to it is hard to design with.”

Q: What type of flowers are go-to’s when learning to design arrangements? 

A: “When you go to shop for flowers, how do you chose? What goes with what and what complements? If you can go by color palette versus flower type that helps. That way, you are not overthinking it. For example, maybe go with all whites or all yellows.” 

Q: What’s the best vase to work with?

A: “I personally like a square shape vase, I feel like the corners help in the design. Anything that has a v-opening is really hard to design in, because the stems start to rise up and out of water and arrangement tends to splay open.”

Q: What size vase do you recommend?

A: “Anything bigger than a 5" opening takes a lot of flowers and is hard to work with. Start with a simpler container, anything 3” to 5” is perfect.”

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Q: Once you’re flowers are set, where do you start?

A: “The techniques for how to build an arrangement smartly are broken down into four main points of design: form, lines, color and texture.”

Q: How do you build your form?

A: “The first thing we teach is how to build your form or the base of your arrangement. Think first, what is going to hold everything together? You will want something that will create that base naturally like greenery or hydrangeas, gibing you a tight grid to add stems to. Start to build a structure by putting your stems in a concentric fashion — building your grid in a round shape. Build the first layer and then continue to add more in a clockwise fashion.”

Q: Any tricks of the trade when tackling this first step?

A: “Clear, floral tape is a trick! You put that on your vase in a tic-tac-toe shape and secure it with a piece tape all around the lip. This creates different sections so your stems then are not weighing each other down. Floral netting is also good (better than floral foam) and you can reuse it. In a pinch -- purchase from flower shop you can reuse!”

Q: How do you think about color as a floral designer?

A: “The color wheel may seem really old school but lots of bold colors can really fragment your arrangement. If you don’t want to do all one color, stay in a monochromatic tone — that is the way to go.”

Q: Let’s talk a bit about texture.

A: “As far as texture, I think about contrast. Put textured thistle with soft ranunculus to give it contrast. Or, if you want something really sweet and simple -- then go all soft. Try hydrangeas and dusty miller.” 

Q: Do you have an insider’s floral tips?

A: “A good way to design is to pull your container almost to the edge of your table and then you can gauge your stem length. You can always cut your stems shorter but air on conservative side; cut it down as you need to and not all at once. Another trick is with line flowers, like snap dragons for example, you will want staggering heights. Take three stems in your hand and arrange them, then cut all three of the stems at once! Naturally, you will have them at three different lengths.”

For more information on Karisa and Nectar, visit their studio in Elizabeth, follow along with their designs on Instagram @nectarfloralboutique or visit www.nectarfloraldesigns.com

Or! Come to the Plaza Midwood Home Tour this weekend — check out the home HON designed and see a floral design by Nectar featured in the dining room. Have a Birdsong Brewery beer with us and chat design — home and floral. We hope to see you soon!

Florals: When To & When Not To

We’re fans of floral, it’s the truth. Give us a dark and moody floral wallpaper for a small space or to create an accent wall in all day long!

But to clarify -- we’re not in love with all floral. We have strong opinions and believe us, there’s a fine line between small prints that go towards prairie with a strong elderly vibe and those that speak modern beauty for a space. We are big fans of incorporating a natural element. In some cases, this can come in the form of wallpaper — think moody florals or botanical patterns! Here’s our best tips for when to use and when not to use florals.

1. Go Big or Not at All

The size of the print is the easiest way to balance it’s beauty. Small, tight floral patterns tend towards grandma -- run away!

Take this Myers Park bathroom we designed and just love, it’s timeless and just a tiny bit funky. But if the print had been smaller, the vibe would be completely different -- dated and not our jam. We would design this space again anyday.

2. Go Moody

While you might not think a small space is a good fit for a bit print, this bathroom proves the point. Surprisingly, windowless and tiny spaces are perfect for giant prints. The print creates cohesion and adds personality and interest.

If it’s not a small space you’re tackling, you can try wallpaper prints as accent walls (headboards in a bedroom, anyone?) in a bedroom, office, nursery even a kitchen or entryway!

3. Go botanical, not Floral

The truth is, we are all about the botanicals and less about the florals. We love the organic feel of florals and fauna mixed together in prints. Palms, tropical flowers, even some classic animals -- the whimsical, unexpected vibe is our favorite. These prints are less stuffy and timeless. More botanicals less flowers is really where are designs are headed. These prints feel more like art, more like a painting and less like wallpaper.

4. Go Abstract

Another way to stay modern is to jump for an abstract pattern -- like these Merimekko prints. We’re in love! While not perfect for every space, they are perfect for the right space and won’t go out of style.


5. Go Panel it Up

A good trick if budget is a consideration is to use judges paneling. Instead of papering an entire room or wall, paper just a section of the room by using paneling! This makes a custom art look without the cost of the entire space.

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Note: make sure before you fall in love with a print, you have a professional come and estimate how much you will need! Several rolls may be in the plans!  

Good luck and happy papering!