Decorate with Flower Power | Midwest Living

Decorate with Flower Power

A new generation of floral fabrics, wallpapers and accessories energizes homes in a way every generation will love. Here's how to decorate with florals.
  • Frame florals

    Florals have long bloomed on Midwest farmhouse and cottage walls. For a new take on decorating with wall coverings, frame large-scale and fabulous (but often pricey) designs with molding to create a headboard or work of art.

    Floor lamp 2512371 Aqua Glass. Pier 1. Garden stools 17128 Palermo. Home Decorators Collection. Pillow fabric F2112/02 Hiyoku, color: Jade. Designers Guild. Wallpaper P540/08 Watelet, color: Turquoise. Designers Guild.

  • Use selectively

    Today’s oversize florals include photo-reverse styles and loose watercolor renditions that infuse a sense of movement. These blowsy blooms make a bold statement, so use them selectively on an accent wall or in a bedroom, powder room or entry.

    Chair 5567-41 Host, fabric: Fiona Lemon. Lee Industries. Wallpaper (From top left) EB2075 Teahouse Floral. Carey Lind. York. SBK25341 Large-scale roses. Seabrook. AK7445 Hydrangea. RB4207 Petal Pusher. York. AT34155 Tuileries. Anna French for Thibaut. 75023 Iola Rose. Harlequin.

  • Choose a palette

    Stick with a palette to mix floral fabrics—much as you would combine plants in the garden. To temper a profusion of blooms, pick florals with neutral backgrounds and include stripes, checks or solids for pattern relief. Add the calming colors of prairie, fields and sky. 

    Bouquet Styled by Andy Newcom, 5534 Norwood St., Fairway, Kansas 66205. Cake stand 51133 Decor Bon Bon round, color: white. Rosanna. Chair fabric Woven ticking, color: Blue Denim. Covington.  Drapery fabrics Sakura, color: White Tea. Calico Corners. 42325-25 Stripe, color: Chartreuse. Duralee. Lighting Ivanhoe Seaside radial wave reflector porcelain pendant, color: Delphite Blue. Barn Light Electric. Napkin fabrics 42325-25 Stripe, color: Chartreuse. 42354-122 Blossom. Duralee. Plates Mallorca. Crate and Barrel. Tablecloth fabric 42338-122 Blossom. Duralee.  Wall paint SW0013 Majolica Green. Sherwin-Williams.  

  • Modern vs. vintage

    Like sheets hanging on a farmyard clothesline, florals simultaneously feel fresh and sentimental. And just as a voluptuous hydrangea varies from a delicate violet, each design has its own personality. Big graphic florals look modern; smaller motifs lean vintage.

    Fabrics (From left) F1840/01 Amrapali, color: Peony. Designers Guild. Pink Peonies by Helen Klebesadel, fabric: organic cotton sateen. Spoonflower. PWJD090 Hydrangea, color: Sage. Birch Farm Collection. Joel Dewberry. F0366 Wild Flowers by Clarke and Clarke, color: Heather. Duralee.

  • Start simple

    You don’t need to cover walls to refresh a room with flowers. Start simple with floral shapes, knobs, pillows, plates—or even a bouquet.

    Saturated colors make even the daintiest blooms look current on this Paradise Fields chair by Cath Kidston (

  • More tips for decorating with florals

    Play with scale Traditional design advice says to match big prints to walls and large furniture and to keep small florals on accessories like napkins and pillows. For a more current and unexpected twist, experiment with a bold pattern on a small item.
    Choose your mood Adopt a monochromatic or muted scheme to add a sense of restfulness and restraint. Or jazz things up with bold, saturated hues paired with plenty of bright white on walls, furniture or trimwork.
    Watch dressmaker details Sofas and chairs take on a romantic sensibility when skirted with fabric. Ditto for ruffles on pillows and draperies. Choose straight or pleated edges and keep furniture legs bare to achieve a more streamlined effect.
    Avoid the frill factor Balance florals with natural textures and masculine furnishings, such as a sisal rug, farmhouse table or leather club chair.
    Pick a posy—or two Hang empty frames over flower wallpaper motifs (one per frame) for creative emphasis.
    Experiment Use floral wallpaper to line drawers or shelves, back a cabinet or jazz up a closet.

    Pictured: Lenten Rose knobs by Anthropologie ( play off the lush blooms of wallpaper from Graham and Brown (17869 Isabelle Blue, 

  • Rooms in bloom

    Angie Eisman upcycles old sweaters into floral pillows, including this ombre version. A peachy rose pillow by Saro through Wayfair features petals you can ruffle up or down.

    Pillows (From left) Aqua Merino. Old Made New. SARO1182 Flower. Saro for Wayfair.

  • Wall art

    Rose Melamine dessert plates by John Derian ( can also hang on the wall. Take your pick from 16 colors and various lamp styles with this Seedling by Thomas Paul design from Lamps Plus ( 

  • Pretty platters

    Crate and Barrel’s Mallorca platters ( imitate floral shapes and create a shallow waterfall-like vessel for floating flowers.

  • Budding enthusiasts

    An ebullient pastel fabric by Duralee blends well with other motifs. Seabrook’s Gloucester wall covering brings birds into the pattern mix.

    Bouquet Styled by Andy Newcom, 5534 Norwood St., Fairway, Kansas 66205. Fabric (On wall) 42339, color: Lavender. Duralee. Wallpaper (Runner) SBK23314 Gloucester. Seabrook. 

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