Despite what a certain Prada-wearing editor may think, florals for spring can be groundbreaking if you venture beyond plonking some roses in a vase. Design snobs might sniff at them, but the modern floral has about as much in common with your grandma’s chintzy sofa as you do. (And anyway, if you like chintz go for it.)
These days there’s a floral to suit all tastes and styles, from cottagecore to dark glam, and even the biggest design snob can appreciate the spare beauty of a single foraged branch in an oversized vase, a la Athena Calderone. These are our picks of the current season’s bunch.
The beauty of dried flowers – besides the obvious – is that they last virtually forever. (They’ll definitely outlive the white-hot trend for them.) While it’s the artificially coloured bouquets that tend to dominate Instagram, if you’re not into fluorescent bunny tails seek out natural, undyed bunches of seedheads, wheat sheaves, cotton branches or pampas grass. These are subtle enough to work in all sorts of homes, and best of all they’re hugely practical – they won’t need water or light, just a light dust now and then.
Indoor and outdoor rugs
If anyone can pull off a sophisticated, dramatic floral, it’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters behind LA-based conceptual fashion label Rodarte. The latest release in their ongoing collaboration with The Rug Company is this beautiful California poppy rug that pays tribute to their home state’s flower. It’s definitely an investment piece, but one that will last forever and bring a smile to your face every day.
If bohemian is more your style you’ve probably heard of Byron Bay, the unofficial capital of boho on Australia’s east coast. Some of the loveliest Aussie homeware brands are based here, including the dreamy Wandering Folk. Their Wildflower picnic rug is a great compromise for sensitive types who like the idea of lying in a wildflower meadow, but can’t be doing with stinging nettles and bugs.
Let’s be real: exotic florals are no match for fresh ink in your passport, but until we can travel again they’re one way to conjure up memories or daydreams of distant shores. What you consider exotic depends, of course, on where you’re coming from. If you live in the mountains you might be drawn to a lush, hibiscus-patterned wallpaper, but if you’ve got plenty of jungle right outside your window then a William Morris cushion from London or a tablecloth with red sploshes of Australian waratah from Utopia Goods might be more transporting.
Kate Guest is an Australian journalist based in the UK, and the former editor of ELLE Malaysia. She dreams of following in the footsteps of her idol, Ilse Crawford, and moving from magazines to interior design.