Growing up in the era of dried flowers, I’ve been a slow adapter of the current trend for fear of having an ’80s flashback. But after I recently moved into a tiny, very old cottage in the Portuguese countryside, I haphazardly tied a dried bay branch to hang in my kitchen alcove, above the refrigerator and oven. The branch was the perfect shade of copper and had just the loveliest curve. Epiphany: One branch is all you need to take the place of art on a wall.
Since then, I’ve been scouring nearby meadows for dried grasses, seedpods, and branches to display in vases. I’ve overcome my fear and come up with some ideas to make dried flowers and grasses look modern. Here are a few ways I love to decorate with dried floral arrangements:
Photography and styling by Chelsea Fuss.
1. Keep the vases natural.
I like to pair dried materials with earth tones and pastels. Matte ceramic vases and terra cotta keep things simple and organic. I stay away from glass vases or shiny vases with dried materials. I love vases with a bit of texture or small pattern.
2. Go minimal.
Just one textured branch in a vase, or one branch tied on a door can offer a bit of interest to a corner. Pair with a candle or incense to bring good vibes indoors in the winter. A display of bud vases with dried branches offers a textural, organic, and chic display for winter.
3. Make monotype arrangements.
Keeping one stem for vase or keeping the varieties of ingredients down to around three for a bigger arrangement, keeps things clean and modern.
4. Hang branches.
I think it’s a fun surprise to have a swag of dried or fresh greens above a sofa or hanging on a doorknob. Natural ingredients make incredible art pieces (and are the most budget-friendly).
5. Display seedpods.
6. Withhold water.
Pick them dry or use only a little water in the vase as they dry. That will keep awful smells away. If branches or grasses need to be secured, use pretty stones. They look sculptural sticking up over the rim of the vase.
7. Don’t design too much.
Don’t try to make them look like a designer arranged them. Undone is the key here, for an effortless, organic feel.
To grow your own, see our guide to Ornamental Grasses 101. And for more ideas for effortless, minimalist floral arrangements, don’t miss these posts:
- 10 Ways to Bring Nature Home with Sophia Moreno-Bunge.
- What’s Ahead in 2018: 10 Floral Designers to Watch This Year.
- Wild Violets: Rethinking Eliza Doolittle’s Favorite Flower.
- Olive Branches: Rethinking an Under-appreciated Symbol of Peace.
Finally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow and care for various grasses with our Grasses: A Field Guide.
N.B.: This post is an update; it was first published January 2018.