Photography: @oftheflowers, @jenettedanielle & @ruby_marylennox
Dried flowers are having a moment, and we’re here for it.
The old wisdom dictates that nothing brightens up a room quite like a bouquet of fresh flowers. But besides the obvious drawbacks of keeping a live bouquet on hand (namely, that they will wither and die at some point), fresh flowers can also be considerably costly if you're purchasing them on a regular basis. What's more, there's increasing evidence suggesting that imported cut flowers have a negative impact on the environment. Perhaps because of these factors, dried floral arrangements — once relegated to dusty, old country homes — are now having a moment.
Dried flowers may no longer have the scent of their fresh counterparts, but their muted tones and sculptural shapes lend a certain intrigue that can be used to adorn a room. Dried botanical arrangements are more like adding a piece of art to a space, with their dramatic forms and textures lending themselves to numerous eye-catching possibilities. As an added bonus, they'll last year-round with no extra maintenance on your part.
Here's what you need to consider when building your own dry flower arrangement:
Decide on a colour scheme
Dried florals and botanicals will naturally have more subdued colours, but that doesn't mean you can't work those to the fullest advantage. Using monochromatic (different shades of the same colour) or analogous (different hues of a single colour) colour schemes work especially well, as they establish consistency in mood and tone and can be very striking when done well. Try pairing together different shades of white with some pale gold and light grey, or burnt siennas with muted burgundy, and shades of red clay. A complementary colour scheme can work as well, so long as you keep one colour group dominant and use just a hint of the other. For example, this bouquet of dried lavender works well because the small pop of orange adds dimension and contrast to the lavender's purple.
Focus on shape and structure
Dried botanicals tend to have more interesting structure and shape than fresh plants, creating an almost sculptural quality to them that naturally draw the eye's attention. Larger flowers with thicker stems work well, as do clusters of smaller, more delicate dried blooms. But you aren't limited to flowers alone; you can also get structural drama from jagged leaves and curving, tall branches. The essential quality you're looking for is to create tension between the suggested movement of a shape and the actual static nature of the arrangement, so try to find plants that are expressive. They should be curved, bent, arced, twisted or otherwise appear "active" in some way. When arranging bouquets based on structure and shape, it works just as well for you to arrange similar ones together or pair some very different combinations.
Incorporate a variety of textures
Another factor to consider when making a dried flower arrangement is how to use texture to your advantage. Try experimenting with soft, feathery tufts, jagged branches, spiky fronds, delicate petals, gnarled and thick dried flowers and everything in between. Using principles similar to thinking about shapes, it can be just as effective to showcase a single texture as it can be to mix and match them. You're not limited to just plants, either — for further variety and visual intrigue, try making an arrangement that incorporates driftwood, feathers or other natural materials of your choosing.
Keep them out of harm's way
One thing to note is that dried flower arrangements are incredibly delicate, even more so than their fresh floral counterparts. You should make sure that they're in an area where they aren't susceptible to being knocked over. They're great on top of dining buffets, tall dressers, and higher-reaching shelves. If you have children or pets, instead of making a vase-based arrangement, consider pressed flowers in a frame or a piece that can be suspended from the ceiling.