5 tricks to arranging flowers like a pro - simple secrets to more beautiful displays

Follow these simple steps for beautiful and longer lasting floral arrangements

white flowers in a white vase in a modern living room
(Image credit: Future)

There's a knack to a beautiful bouquet of flowers keeping its allure once it's placed in a vase. Those stems perfectly styled by florists always look so elegant, compared to our own efforts. 

Whether it's the choice of flowers, the colors or the vessels they're placed in, it all looks so effortlessly 'put together'. However, with a few tips, a store bought bunch of blooms, or favorite florals picked from a your indoor garden or flower bed can soon be elevated from everyday to elegant.


5 tricks to arranging flowers like a pro

If you've ever wanted to learn how to channel your inner florist, we've asked the experts: what are the tricks to arranging flowers like a pro? Follow these simple steps for beautiful, longer lasting floral arrangements.

1. Arrange just one variety of flower per vase

hydrangeas in a vase on a modern coffee table

(Image credit: Flowerbx)

A mix of florals is gorgeous but a single type of flower multiplied makes a statement. This is particularly true of stems with large flowerheads, like delphiniums, alliums or hydrangeas. 

'For elevated floral arrangements, my favourite way is to use just one variety of seasonal flower per vase,' says Whitney Bromberg Hawkins, founder of Flowerbx. 'Right now, this could be an impactful vase of summer hydrangeas, or as simple as single carnation stems dotted in bud vases. No matter your budget or stem count, this is a fail-safe way to make your arrangements look considered and tasteful – helped by only ever using stems of the best quality.'

2. Prepare your stems properly

someone arranging flowers

(Image credit: Flowerbx)

Flowers absorb water through their stems, so in order for them to look bountiful in a vase, they need a little preparation. Trimming the stems doesn't just ensure they are the right height for your vase, it will help your blooms to flourish. 

Once cut, the stems will re-seal themselves, so snipping them enables flowers to 'drink' the water in the vase. It doesn't take long and you will be rewarded with longer lasting stems.

And how do you keep cut flowers looking fresh? 'Even the most beautiful of flowers can look a little lacklustre without the right amount of love and attention before they make it to their vase,' says Whitney. 'My top tip is to take the time to prepare every flower. This means carefully snipping away the bottom of each stem at a 45-degree angle and removing excess foliage with floral scissors. Adding some flower food to each vase will also help preserve and nourish your flowers. And remember to keep refreshing their water every few days.' 

3. Choose the right vase

a tall vase of lilac Delphiniums

(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

The size, shape and color of the vase you place your flowers in will impact how they look. Too wide at the brim and they'll flop about; too narrow and they could look squashed. 

It's worth having a selection of vases to hand; long, thin vessels for tall flowers, small vases for shorter arrangements, plus some sized in between.

Glass or white ceramic will suit most floral arrangements color-wise. However, soft natural tones will flatter most flowers, while bronze, brass and other metallics can make a spectacular display.  

'For both practicality and impact, choosing the right accessories and styling essentials is imperative to a beautifully-crafted arrangement,' says Whitney. 'Picking the right vase for your bouquet is so important. 

'If you’re arranging flowers for a dinner party or event, always consider the little extras that’ll make your flowers sing – like coordinating taper candles, linens and glassware. When it comes to elevating your arrangement, it’s all in the details.' 

4. Group flowers in clusters

In a mixed bouquet with different types and sizes of blooms, some flowers can get a little 'lost' once they're transported to a vase. However, florists have ways to prevent this. 

'I recommend designing flowers in clusters within an arrangement, particularly when styling blooms such as chrysanthemums or carnations, as this helps to reinforce the texture and details of the petals,' says Valerie Ghitelman, Vice President of Sourcing and Design, 1-800-Flowers.com.

5. Don't forget foliage

Ercol Ancona breakfast table and Ercol Heritage chair at Furniture Village

(Image credit: Furniture Village / Ercol)

Professional bouquets from florists usually contain foliage to separate and offset flowers. This gives them room to show their beauty. Opt for Italian Ruscus and Eucalyptus, the current floristry favorites for foliage. 

'Florals come in many colors and each flower and color can tell their own story – which provides an array of offerings,' says Valerie.

'Mixing beautiful blooms with greenery is essential in design, and greenery has great longevity.' 

Jacky Parker is a London-based freelance journalist and content creator, specialising in interiors, travel and food. From buying guides and real home case studies to shopping and news pages, she produces a wide range of features for national magazines and SEO content for websites

A long-time contributor to Livingetc, as a member of the team, she regularly reports on the latest trends, speaking to experts and discovering the latest tips. Jacky has also written  for other publications such as Homes and Gardens, Ideal Home, Red, Grand Designs, Sunday Times Style and AD, Country Homes and Interiors and ELLE Decoration.