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Floral & Plants
Decorating With Floral & Plants
It is amazing what a quick transformation can be made with plants and flowers. Silk plants and floral arrangements can do wonders to a room decoration. A simple plant potted in a decorative pot set on a coffee table, bookshelf, on top of a cabinet, almost anywhere, adds life and color instantly.
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How To Decorate With Permanent Botanicals
About 3000 years ago, when Chinese and Egyptian artisans first began the art of hand-crafted flowers, silk was the only fabric available. So, silk flowers, as they came to be called, were always made of silk. Hundreds of years later, Europeans adopted the craft, including the use of silk. But today, with the abundance of many kinds of fabric, fine hand-made flowers and foliage are constructed from a wide variety of materials. In the permanent floral industry (we don't use the word "artificial"), the term "silks" has come to refer generically to any flowers made from fabric or man-made materials. The possibilities for materials are almost endless, but can include such materials as cotton, linen, taffeta, polyester, parchment or other paper. Furthermore, these materials are then often treated with rubber or other synthetic coatings to achieve the desired thick or transparent leaf and petal effects. The broad variety of materials available today enables designers to select just the right texture to recreate both the look and feel of a particular flower.
In past decades, stylized flower constructions were often in "decorator colors" to coordinate with popular colorways in upholstery, floor and wall coverings. More recently, the trend has reverted to flower constructions that look exactly like fresh flowers in their naturally occurring colors. This move to "naturalness" has also manifested itself in the increased use of natural preserved foliage, especially, in greenery and trees.
There was a time when some decorators and home furnishings practitioners spurned the use of "fake flowers" in high fashion design in favor of real, fresh flowers. However, this somewhat pretentious stance did not recognize the "apples and oranges" nature of the debate:
Whereas fresh flowers are a short-lived, changeable form of decoration, permanent florals, greenery and trees are decorative accessories meant to fit into the overall décor of a particular room setting on a permanent, or at least long-lasting basis. Permanent florals and botanicals provide those little touches of color, finesse and personality — often small in themselves, but grand in impact — that make the difference between a "nice" room and one that is wholly charming and welcoming. Oftentimes, permanent florals can be the most striking, dominant element in an entire room, tying together and elevating the entire tone of otherwise lifeless, unspectacular elements.
Floral arrangements are just that: obviously "arranged" flowers. In the broad context of being an accessory that must coordinate with the entire interior décor, floral arrangements generally must be compatible with the design style utilized, e.g., traditional, contemporary, neoclassic, Southwest, Oriental, etc. Even though more attention must be given to coordinating color and style when working with floral arrangements than other floral accessories, floral arrangements may be placed where other floral accessories cannot go or would not be as effective. For instance, a large, spectacular arrangement works much better than a mediocre arrangement at a lobby entrance or foyer. Arrangements are also indispensable as dining table centerpieces, whether impressively-sized for large tables or as smaller arrangements on coffee tables or dinettes.
Because floral arrangements are more design-intensive than greenery, plants or trees, florals more readily impart the design style or theme of the overall décor through components and colors used. For example, tropical flowers like antheriums, orchids, heliconias and torches in a pastel ceramic container will enhance and evoke a tropical theme. Conversely, roses, mums or snapdragons in brass, stoneware or crystal will portray a more traditional theme.
In recent years, many companies have developed clear polymer, acrylic substances that can simulate the look of fresh-cut flowers casually displayed in a vase of water, as opposed to artificially arranged arrangements. This unstudied type of arrangement lends itself to garden or wildflowers in the natural colors. Therefore, these florals can be more versatile in their placement than contemporary or traditional arrangements. However, not all acrylics and not all of their manufacturers' pouring processes are of the same quality initially and over time. In shopping for arrangements using the best acrylic substance, one should consider several attributes of the product, the chemical and the pouring process. Verify that the acrylic does not contain bubbles, ripples, fractures, color bleeding or other discoloration. Our chemists and design staff through years of research and practice have discovered unique ways to inhibit these and other product challenges. Furthermore, we have often been told that our acyrlic Waterlook® chemical and process maintain a high quality, realistic appearance twice as long as any competitors'.
Fruit & Vegetable Arrangements
New manufacturing techniques have created a new genre of faux fruit and vegetables that can lend a "fresh-picked" appeal to country or casual kitchen, dinette or family room settings. When mixed with flowers and greenery, this look becomes more sophisticated and can be placed in a number of areas, such as, dining rooms, living rooms and foyers. Fruit may be used for festive holiday tables or for year-round decoration. However, certain vegetables work best during particular seasons. For instance, vegetables recall the bounty of spring and summer, while gourds and melons evoke both warm summer evenings and frosty autumn mornings all year long.
In contrast to arranged florals, botanicals are designed to look like natural blooming plants, flowering bushes or nature gardens. The component garden flowers, cacti, wildflowers and herbs composing botanicals are constructed to look exactly like the real plants, so only their natural colors are used. As a result, there's not as much concern about matching the furnishings' colors. That is, red roses, yellow daffodils or purple hyacinths are not perceived as clashing with decorator colors because red, yellow and purple are these flowers natural colorings.
Consequently, botanicals are more versatile and often easier to place than floral arrangements. Botanicals' natural informality make them particularly suitable in less formal motifs. Mums, geraniums and azaleas, whether potted or in baskets, are equally at home in groupings on the floor, around hearths or higher up on ledges. Botanicals are especially apropos to the springtime, composed of early spring garden flowers or abundant seasonal wildflowers.
Of all floral accessories, greenery is perhaps the most versatile and alive. The interior of any room is softened, made more livable and more "finished" with abundant, life-like greenery. What's more is that the look of natural greenery complements any color scheme and decorating style.
There are many types and uses of greenery. Greenery can include small tabletop pieces, or shelf greenery for placing inside bookcases, china cabinets or on sideboards. Or, greenery can be wreaths and garlands, ivy or fern hanging baskets, and assortments designed specifically for insertion in planters and dividers. Greenery "toppers" that vine down create a luxurious natural elegance atop breakfronts, armoires, serving counters, reception consoles, pedestals, and any high place or out-of-reach ledge while sparing the expense of a container. Similarly, wall planters constructed from wire, basketry, brass, wood or resin can be a refreshing substitute for framed wall art. Planters can serve also in pairs to flank art or entryways between rooms. Topiaries, another form of greenery, are particularly effective when placed on mantles or hearths, parsons tables, sideboards and breakfronts. Topiaries' foundation is usually made of wire forms, natural trunk limbs or Styrofoam in the shape of spheres, teardrops or other sculptured shapes. This foundation is then adorned with moss. Herb topiaries have been tremendously popular in recent years.
Floor Plants, Plants on Stands, and Trees
Like greenery, potted plants and trees are completely versatile in any interior décor. They can be used to decorate what would otherwise be bare, unusable corners, or to serve as "buffers" by subtly directing traffic between rooms or closing off an interior space. Plants on stands can range from a few feet to six or seven feet in height, giving the consumer a wide range of areas for placement of these impressive plantings.
Trees and plants are often used to reinforce a particular theme in a grand way. Some examples include:
• Green ficus trees are used basically in transitional settings, whereas red ficus trees are more suited to traditional styles and color schemes
• Mango or banana trees can be used to accent a tropical décor
• Bonsai or ming trees reflect an Oriental theme
• Cactus portrays a Southwestern theme
• Palms are generally transitional, but if planted in urns or brass containers, palms can be used in more traditional settings. For a contemporary look, palms may be planted in rustic stoneware or Florentine porcelain.
Care & Maintenance
• Avoid direct sunlight
All fabrics, whether used in florals, furniture or clothing, will fade over time in direct sunlight. Similarly, our Waterlook® chemical and other acrylics or polymers used by competitors to look like water may yellow when exposed to lasting direct sunlight or may crack under extreme temperatures.
• Avoid excessive humidity
Many preserved components, such as preserved palm fronds, maintain their fresh look due to both a preservative and a dye. So, under extreme heat, direct sunlight and/or humidity, this preservative and dye may be released from the frond and drip onto underlying carpet or furniture. Air conditioning and ventilation can go a long way to preventing such a mishap.
Dried components owe their durability to their dryness. So, humidity could encourage a shorter "life."
One exception to the humidity rule comes to mind: natural moss, like mood moss, actually needs to be sprayed occasionally with a little bit of water to stay green.
• Dust them occasionally
Lastly, dust can cause decay in fabrics and natural, preserved and dried components.
We can all succeed at Bringing Style To Life™ through permanent arrangements if we place arrangements in the proper environments and provide the necessary care.
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