A Quick Beginners Guide to Flower Arranging | NONAGON.style
A Quick Beginners Guide to Flower Arranging

A Quick Beginners Guide to Flower Arranging

Simple tips for picking flowers and putting them on display

Katie Dowson
Written by –
Katie Dowson
on July 20th 2018
Katie was born and brought up in Hong Kong and continues to enjoy exploring what the lively city has to offer. She is a freelance illustrator and writer, and constantly finds inspiration for her work in the world around her.

In her free time, she loves to binge on TV shows (with reality TV being her not-so-secret guilty pleasure) and going for a boogie on the weekend with her pals.

She would describe her home decor aesthetic as minimalist boho, and has started collecting postcards and magnets when she sees one that catches her eye. She hopes to one day have a bit of outside space so she can start collecting plants too, and have her own at-home jungle.

Katie Dowson

Choosing where to place a flower arrangement in your home is easy, the process of creating a flower arrangement is much trickier.


I spoke to Natalie Ng, a florist from Garden Party Flowers in Vancouver, to get some tips on creating a perfectly curated arrangement and then tried them out myself.

Quick Beginners Guide to Flower Arranging | NONAGON.style

Think Outside the Box For Picking Flower Combos

Creativity is key when creating something decorative for your home. It’s a chance to make something that adds to the existing atmosphere of whatever room you decide to put it in. When crafting an arrangement, it pays to combine unlikely floral elements. Choose a few large flowers as well as small ones. It’s worth getting a few flower fillers too like heather or baby’s breath, and don’t forget to get some greenery.


Describing her floral aesthetic as “eccentric”, Ng is interested in blending soft petal flowers with tropical leaves. She explains that “adding accent roses to an arrangement just gives it a touch of color and elegance, while letting the sculptural qualities of the leaves shine.”

Choosing Colors

For something simple and timeless, you can just go for a selection of the same flowers in the same color. If you’re ready to take your arrangement up a notch, opt for one main color. Choose a selection of different flowers all in similar hues, or neighbors in a color wheel if that helps.

Expensive Does Not Always Mean Better

It’s natural to believe that if something is priced higher, that it also has a higher level of quality. Ng believes that when it comes to flowers, this simply isn’t the case. A flower’s price is based on its rarity, not longevity.


Ng explains, “Garden roses such as a Juliet, are usually imported from Europe, hence they might be more expensive than your average red rose”.

Quick Beginners Guide to Flower Arranging | NONAGON.style

Instagram Will Show You the Way

To keep up with the latest trends in the floral world, Ng says that Instagram is a great visual source and that following growers and gardeners can help you stay in the know.


“I try my best to keep up with Japanese florists on Instagram because they work with a lot of flowers that are not available in the States or in Europe, so they provide a very fresh perspective on floral design”.

A Good Vase Can Make All the Difference 

Your choice of vase may seem like an afterthought but can have a stunning impact on your flower display. Ng will usually design arrangements around the type of vase she has chosen to use. Exploring ceramics stores for an interesting piece of pottery can sometimes lead to a burst of inspiration.


“A good sculptural vase will transform your arrangement into a piece of art,” she says.

Pick Flowers Before Bloom

Buying flowers in their prime is a common mistake. “It’s easy to be blindsided by the beauty of a fully bloomed peony. It’s just too pretty!” states Ng. However, choosing younger flowers –perhaps ones that are only half opened — increases the lifespan of your floral arrangement, as the flowers will take much longer to start wilting.


After choosing the perfect flowers, you can pat yourself on the back, as now they will look beautiful in any arrangement that you create.


Ng recommends that “in a moment of doubt, you can always turn to large blooms such as Hydrangeas and Sunflowers for a minimalistic and hassle free arrangement.”

Quick Beginners Guide to Flower Arranging | NONAGON.style

Longer Lasting Arrangements Keep Their Cool

To make sure that your arrangement lasts as long as possible, keep it away from direct sunlight, preferably in a cooler area of the room. Whilst Ng understands that most people would want to put their arrangement in the best light they can, she advises that doing so can significantly shorten the amount of time that the flowers will last. Keeping them near sunlight but not directly under it, can solve this problem.


Another way to lengthen a flower arrangement’s lifespan is to keep it chilled in the fridge.


“I do this whenever I have to go away for the weekend and don’t want my flowers to wilt while I’m gone!” she explains. She jokingly adds that you shouldn’t forget to take them back out once you’re home.

Committing to Flower Maintenance

All floral arrangements require basic maintenance, with some flowers requiring more attention than others.


It’s important to refresh the water of an arrangement every few days, to avoid bacteria forming. If the arrangement is on the smaller side or beginning to wilt, Ng suggests cutting the stems of your flowers after changing their water, as this will help them hydrate easier.

Though it takes some effort, making your own floral arrangements can be extremely rewarding, as it’s an opportunity to inject more personality into a home.


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