Whether it’s a masterful arrangement from the florist or a simple bouquet from the grocery store, nothing beats the happiness fresh flowers instantly add to our homes and lives. And why shouldn’t they? The bursts of color, the sweet fragrances—there really is so much to love about flowers. In fact, research from a recent study conducted by Harvard University proved that people who lived with fresh cut flowers for even less than a week felt an increase in feelings of compassion and kindness for others. In addition, the research also revealed that having flowers in the home can help chase away anxieties, worries and the old-fashioned blues. Pretty amazing, right? So why aren’t more of us cashing in on this little bit of happy?
Long considered a luxury, buying fresh flowers for ourselves is not something most of us factor into our everyday budgets. But it should be, says California-based Kelli Ellis, design psychology expert. “I believe that flowers and plants have a natural energy that make us feel a special way,” she says. “It’s that ‘a-ha’ moment when your eye first spots fresh flowers when walking into a home. You immediately perk up and put a smile on your face.”
Where we see those flowers may not be as critical as simply having them present, but it certainly helps, explains Ellis, who is also the resident designer on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Orange County. “I love the idea of using flowers to create a favorite spot in the home,” she says. “It’s important to have a go-to place that we love to walk by or relax in. It help us re-energize and recharge.”
One of Ellis’ favorite spots to display flowers is in the kitchen. Sure it’s a workhorse of a room, but it’s also a common gathering spot for family and friends. “Most of our kitchens are filled with stainless steel appliances, flowers helps soften things up a bit,” she says. “Plus, having beautiful flowers around lets your guests know how much you appreciate them. Just be sure the arrangements are either really tall or super low so that you don’t hinder any conversations.”
Another great tip: Ellis suggests bringing branches of cherry blossoms, orchids or her favorite flower—stargazers—into the kitchen and placing them in tall hurricane vases that are clear. That way, she explains, your guests can see you through the arrangement. Also, Ellis is a big believer in using objects from inside the room to arrange florals in. “Water pitchers are a perfect fit in the kitchen, as are oversized soup cans,” she says. “They’re great for showing off big bunches of blooms in a casual, homespun way.”
The entryway is another perfect choice for creating a “best dressed” spot in the home, says Ellis. “Think about the feeling you get when you first see that gorgeous floral arrangement welcoming you in the lobby of your favorite hotel,” she says. “Don’t you deserve something just as exciting to come home to everyday?” Plus, she says, it’s a great way to express yourself. Focusing your arrangement to reflect your current mood or to help you try on a new style can be quite the creative outlet.
In addition to all of the pleasing qualities flowers can provide, they can also serve many practical purposes. “One of my favorite tricks for hiding a less-than-perfect piece of furniture in a room is to bring in a beautiful array of blooms,” says Ellis. “Whether you match the flowers to your decor or choose a striking contrast, having something pretty to look at helps deflect eyes from the not-so-great spots.”
But what if you’re not comfortable arranging flowers yourself? Trust your florist, says Ellis. “They’re the professionals and can recommend flowers for any budget, any mood or any style,” she says. “If you want to add a personal touch, bring in a special container and have them work with you to create something that you truly love.”