By: Meaghan Branham

This time of year, you are more likely than ever to see bouquets of flowers anywhere and everywhere you look. It comes as no surprise that Valentine’s Day continues to hold the number one spot when it comes to flower sales and deliveries, with over 224 million roses produced in the U.S. for Valentine’s Day in 2012 alone. But why wait for them to come to you? More than just a seasonal gift, placing a well-arranged bouquet of flowers near your entryway, on your mantle as a piece of holiday décor, or as a centerpiece on your dining room table can instantly make your space feel brighter, warmer and livelier. And while bouquets from a florist can be expensive, learning how to arrange them yourself can cut down on cost, and might just give you a new and unexpected creative outlet.

Bouquet Building Blocks

Creating your own arrangements may seem intimidating at first for the exact same reason that they are so fun to put together: you have complete artistic freedom. There are some tips that can help guide you through the process, but keep in mind that your arrangements do not have to be perfect; choose whichever vase, flowers and colors you prefer, and the end result should be perfect for you and your space. When considering these building blocks of your arrangement, remember that the look of the bouquet and the position of the flowers will depend on the shape and size of your vase. When selecting the flowers, it may be helpful to choose a few that are in season, or that come in complementary colors. In the spring, tulips, irises and violets are common, while summer is marked by the appearance of hydrangeas, sunflowers and dahlias. Alstroemeria and marigold signal autumn, followed by poinsettias, amaryllis and glory-of-the-snow in the winter.  Some flowers, such as the carnation, chrysanthemum, daisy and lily are common all year round, and are often used in bouquets.

Creating Your Arrangement

Once you have your flowers and vase selected, you can get to work arranging. Cut the stems at an angle, and trim off any leaves that might be below water level, so that they can’t rot and pollute the water. Begin with the biggest flowers in your arrangement, which will serve as the focal point. Work in a circle around the vase from the outside in; many florists use Lazy Susans when creating a bouquet, making it easier to work in these circles and to get a view of the flowers from every angle. Keep the stems longer for the flowers in the middle circles to create the frequently seen domed effect. As you incorporate the other flowers, keep in mind that many florists only use uneven numbers of each type in their arrangement in order to give the arrangement a more organic appearance. Finally, add any filler that you’d like. This could be something as simple as baby’s breath or dusty miller, or something a bit more unconventional. Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, for instance, recommends using basil for this step. 

Flowers don’t just make a great gift for special occasions, they can be used all year round to make every day a bit brighter. Plus, the more arrangements you try, the more likely you will be to make your inner florist proud and wow company with your newly honed skill.