Flower Power

“Flowers have an immediate impact on happiness,” reports Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Rutgers University and lead researcher on a 2005 study: The Emotional Impact of Flowers. They also have a long-term positive effect on moods and help make intimate contacts, she continued. “Now, science shows that not only do flowers make us happier than we know, they have strong positive effects on our emotional well being.”

The study also showed that flowers displayed in foyers, living rooms, and dining rooms serve as a symbol for sharing. “Flowers bring about positive emotional feelings in those who enter a room.”

“Flowers have power, and serve as a universal language of emotion,” echoes Hillary Staats, interior designer and owner of Sanctuary Interior Design Build. “People give flowers to celebrate, show compassion, offer thanks or gratitude, or say they’re sorry, and can immediately increase the chi or positive energy in the home.”

Flowers shouldn’t be a special occasion item, consider having flowers all the time—in the interior, the exterior, and when entertaining.

Interior Flowers

In her own home, Staats, a former floral designer, makes it a point to display fresh flowers. Although she most often places them on the kitchen table, coffee table and bedside stand, unusual places like a foyer or bathroom work as well.

Affordable flowers are available at most grocery stores, and Staats advises buying large quantities of the same type and color for the most impact. She recently purchased about 150 daisy stems for $30. Lilies, roses and daisies, or potted plants like orchids create stunning interior arrangements.

Anything that holds water can become a container, so think creatively. Use a milk pitcher for a bouquet, or salt and pepper shakers as bud vases. Even one fresh flower can make a statement.

Don’t forget that men like flowers too. “Men think it’s romantic to have flowers in the house, and it can help them feel like their wife is more feminine,” Staats said. “Men like to be around feminine things—more than they let on.” Choose darker shades of reds or burgundy for men’s flowers.

Exterior Flowers

“Place container gardens by your front door; they’re welcoming and offer a friendly first impression,” Staats said. Her favorite shade flowers include impatiens in white or pink. “These colors pop out and will move forward, while a dark red will be recessive.” For full sun, try petunias or hanging baskets. Simply pop off the hanging device and insert the basket into your planter.

Other places to position flowers include near the back door or patio, and mailbox. “It’s fun to plant a climbing plant like morning glory near the mailbox.” Add color with hanging ferns on a screened in porch, window boxes off a railing, or flowering trees.

Flower and herb gardens also implant color. “Create a flowing border that snakes along the perimeter of your yard, and plant in groupings,” she advised. “Sketch out a garden plan and take it to the store with you, but stick to a couple of colors.” There’s no rule as to which color. “Pick colors that make you happy.”


Entertaining Flowers

“Flowers are expected when entertaining,” Staats said. Use them on the dining and display tables or as a serving tray garnish, or include edible flowers in meal planning. Affix blooms to the chair backs, attach sweetheart roses to place cards, or lay roses across the women’s plates.

“For a baby shower, buy 200 pink carnations and scatter arrangements around the house. Or for a picnic, place a bunch of daisies in jars or water glasses,” she suggested. “And the sky’s the limit for weddings!” Flowers are available in virtually every color of the rainbow, and often, dyed flowers can be found to match any setting or theme. If you’re indecisive, choose white; white is always elegant and goes with everything.

Now that the weather is warming up, it’s time to think about flowers, and the powerful beauty they provide.

Hilary’s Tips

  • Weave dandelions to make princess crowns for children.

  • Buy flowering plants at the hardware store or garden center and fertilize with aged horse manure.
  • To determine freshness, look for firm buds and stems that are not soggy, and learn which day of the week flowers are delivered.

  • Don’t be afraid to trim the stems to size; vase display should show 2/3 vase, 1/3 flower.

  • Keep the arrangement low on the dining room table. Put your elbow on the table and make a fist; your centerpiece should be no higher than your fist.

Sanctuary Interior Design Build

109 Church Street NW
Vienna, VA 22180

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