Artificial flowers have come a long way in recent years. No longer the poor cousins of their fresh counterparts, they are now available in a vast array of styles and colours that can be used to great effect in both home and commercial décor schemes.
In this comprehensive guide, we take a look at what you need to consider when choosing artificial flowers – the variety, the quality and making the most of them.
The range of artificial flowers
When it comes to artificial flowers, the variety on offer is staggering. From delicate single blooms to full and luscious bouquets, there is an option to suit every taste and budget.
Choosing quality artificial flowers
Poor-quality artificial flowers can look cheap and tacky. However, with a little bit of research, it is possible to find beautiful and realistic artificial flowers that will fool the most discerning eye, and feel real to the touch.
Things to consider when buying artificial blooms include the materials used, the construction of the flower and the level of detail.
Materials used to make realistic flowers
The difference between artificial flower arrangements looking like they contain real flowers rather than visibly fake is in quality construction. High-quality artificial flowers are made from natural-looking materials.
The best silk flowers are made of a blend of fabrics like rayon, nylon and polyester which gives them a natural look as well as a realistic feel. In most cases, quality silk flowers are a more expensive option.
Real touch – latex flowers
Latex is also used to give a more lifelike appearance and are often referred to as real touch. The process of moulding and colouring can give a highly realistic look and feel.
Foam flowers are another option and these are usually found in more commercial settings like office reception areas.
Finally, there are surprisingly good paper flowers on the market that can look very realistic, however, they are less durable and harder to clean.
Strong, realistic stems
The wire used in the stem also plays an important role. A good quality stem is made of thin, but strong, gauge wire that can be bent and shaped as required but will still retain its shape. This allows you to create any type of arrangement, from a simple posy to an elaborate display
When it comes to stems, look for a colour that closely resembles the real thing – green for foliage and brown or black for woody stems. The leaves should also be coloured realistically, with different shades used to create depth and interest.
The colour of the leaves and flowers
The flowers themselves can be any colour you like, but if you want them to look realistic, avoid colours that are too bright or garish, or just wrong.
Faux hydrangeas should look freshly picked from the garden, not plucked from a child’s crayon box! Roses should tempt someone to sniff them, not make them wince. And your bouquet of native flowers and eucalyptus should look like they come from Australia, not something from the Amazon rainforest!
The type of species
Choosing flowers to decorate your space or brighten an event is a matter of personal choice.
You are likely to love your flowers more if you look for your favourite species. If you have a favourite flower, try to find an artificial version that captures its beauty.
If you are looking for flowers to complement your décor or event theme, think about the colours and shapes that will work well with your overall scheme. For example, if you are decorating a room in shades of white and cream, a bunch of pastel-coloured artificial roses would be a beautiful addition. If you are planning a beach party, tropical flowers like frangipanis or hibiscus would be perfect.
When it comes to choosing the right type of flower, there are no hard and fast rules – it is very much a matter of personal preference.
Showing your selection off to an advantage
Putting some effort into arranging your artificial flowers will make them look more realistic and stylish.
Arranging your flowers
As with natural flowers, the way you arrange your artificial blooms can make all the difference to the overall look. A simple bunch of roses in a vase looks very different to a full and fluffy bouquet arranged in a rustic basket.
Florist tips for arranging artificial (and real) flowers
If you are not sure how to arrange your flowers, keep the following in mind:
consider a material that is radiant and will look great in the container and in its setting
aim for balance using a range of foliage shapes that are appealing to the eye
artificial flower arrangments and bouquets benefit from a focal or dominant flower species
use a mix of contrasting colours to give your floral arrangements some more appeal, and
don’t forget the all-important finishing touches – a sprig of greenery or a scattering of petals can really bring your arrangement to life. A beautiful ribbon tied around the neck of the vase makes a simple posy look special.
Also, consider mixing artificial flowers with real flowers and greenery – perfect for adding in out-of-season blooms or exotic flowers.
Vases and containers
When it comes to vases and containers, anything goes! You can use an old favourite, something new from the shops or even repurpose something you already have at home. Just make sure that the vessel you choose is appropriate for the type of arrangement you are creating. A tall, slender vase is perfect for a single stem or a small posy, while a wide, shallow bowl is ideal for a larger, more expansive arrangement. Sometimes the perfect container is no container, artificial greenery and flowers make great garlands and table decorations.
Consider the setting
Placement of your arrangements
Artificial flower arrangements are versatile – they can be used everywhere.
They are suitable for a living space through to a business workspace, and they can be easily delivered to events. Where you place artificial plants, flowers, or fruit, is also important. At home or in a shop, placement on a counter, near a window or as a table centrepiece will show them off to advantage.
Create a ‘design moment’
Arrangements look fabulous when placed near complementary objects to create a small vignette. For example, a white orchid in a green pot would look beautiful on a dining table with some candles and greenery.
Create a moment where people can appreciate your silk flowers or enjoy the ‘real touch’ feel of the petals and leaves of your bouquet.
Buy artificial flowers from a quality stockist
Quality artificial flowers aren’t cheap – cheap can be very nasty. To maximise the value of your purchase you should shop around. Don’t settle for the first faux magnolia, just because there doesn’t seem to be much of a choice. A good stockist will have a broad range, a variety of colours, sufficient stock levels and provide maintenance or care advice.
The key things to consider when looking for quality artificial flowers include the material the flowers are made from, the overall look you are trying to achieve and the setting in which they will be displayed. There are many sources of artificial flowers from silk flowers through to paper flowers. With a little thought and planning, you can create beautiful artificial flower arrangements that will brighten up any space.