Modern Florals

The art and architecture of a contemporary arrangement.

Fresh flowers are more than just lovely. They bring life, energy, and joy into a room. The sweet aroma, the gentle arch of a stem, the delicate movement of a petal, or the sway of greenery each echo the beauty of nature. Beyond the flora chosen, the arrangement of the flowers is indeed an art form in and of itself.

To learn more about how we can tap into the therapeutic benefits that come from having fresh flowers in your home, and the joy of arranging them yourself, we visited Dr. Breigh Jones-Coplin, a professor of clinical psychology and owner of Black+Blossomed, a floral boutique with an Instagram presence known for the bold, modern, and often asymmetrical arrangements that they create.

“During the pandemic, I started going to the farmer’s market every Sunday and purchasing fresh flowers that I would turn into arrangements throughout my home. The process became so therapeutic. It was having such a positive impact on my mental health. And then I realized I was good at it and maybe this was an untapped talent I should pursue.”

“Any room can be enhanced by flowers, and the very style of the room can be heightened by a floral arrangement that echoes the sensibilities of the space,” shares Dr. Breigh. Picture a modern room with a single orchid planted in a moss-covered vessel—versus an opulent avant-garde arrangement, dripping in Spanish moss and dusty purple Victorian roses in a transitional space. The varietal chosen and how it is arranged can completely change the vibe.

Once you’ve honed in on your interior design style, finding the right flowers can be an organic, emotional experience. “Truly trust yourself,” advises Dr. Breigh, “give yourself the freedom to experiment, think unconventionally, and step out of your comfort zone. Choose the flower that calls to you—no matter how loud or outrageous it may feel. Nine times out of ten, it’s going to add an experience to your house.”

Okay, but for those who prefer to follow a recipe, what are some ground rules? Dr. Breigh breaks it down.

Choosing your flowers

Whichever color palette you choose, follow the rule of threes. If you choose a yellow flower, choose two different types of flowers in different shades of yellow. Then three oranges, three whites, etc. “It creates a sense of balance. It feels colorful but also grounded,” says Dr. Breigh.

She explains: “Choosing which flowers can be such a mindfulness exercise. Really focus on texture. Choose some that are smooth, some that stick out, some lumpy, some furry. Some shiny, some matte.” The combination of textures will give you much more depth and interest.

Instead of traditional greens, Dr. Breigh opts for more interesting stems. Think wax flowers, eucalyptus, palm fronds, Queen Anne’s lace, and anthurium. Or the stunning amaranthus…the drippy greens Dr. Breigh used in the arrangement featured here (and on the cover!).

Instead of a tall vase that may have a smaller opening, choose a low vessel that has a wide opening at the top so you have room to spread out your flowers. Then to keep each stem where you want it, add a small amount of chicken wire—a one-layer round ball. “Not too much or you won’t be able to fit all the stems,” she advises.

Architecture of an arrangement

Work on a countertop where you can stand over the arrangement, versus eye level, so you can see all around the outside, and into the middle. You want to be sure the arrangement looks good from all angles, not just the front. Dr. Breigh believes the flowers will tell you where they want to be. “If you listen, they will talk to you. You’ll start to get a feeling for which ones create interesting shapes when put together, which flowers clash or complement one another.”

Dr. Breigh often chooses roses as her base flower, placing them first and making sure their architecture is set before building the rest, “I love roses for their beauty and versatility, but dahlias, peonies, or zinnias are also great as a focal flower when they are in season.”

For the signature style that Dr. Breigh has become known for, think low and wide versus tall for your longest stems. The exaggerated reach of eucalyptus brings a romantic, fluid, whimsical feel to the arrangement.

Dr. Breigh advises placing each stem in a balanced manner—placing one stem high, then the next stem low. Place a stem on the left side, then the right. This will result in a more robust
arrangement overall and there won’t be any vacant gaps at the end. But think balanced, not perfect. You don’t want it to feel like a mirrored version from one side to the other. Forgo stuffy for fun.

“I love placing complimentary colored blooms next to each other to elevate the focal bloom and make it pop,” says Dr. Breigh. In this arrangement, the two-toned pink pompom is placed next to a soft peach rose, and the lavender-hued chrysanthemum is surrounded by hot pink statise. You see this same pairing principle in the peach carnation placed next to an orange rose.

“Every flower has to have its moment,” is beloved quote Dr. Breigh learned from a mentor. Try to avoid crowding, making sure you can see each and every flower. They can be placed near one another, but none should be completely lost. If you have two blooms that are crowding one another, try trimming the stem of one to vary the height.

Style your whole nest

After you’ve created your dream arrangement, use the leftover flowers and place them into tiny vases to spread around your home. A single bloom in a bud vase placed in the bathroom or dining room can create consistency throughout your entire home.

Now, it’s time to create! Head to your local farmer’s market if possible, or Trader Joe’s for a great selection of affordable flowers. And follow the doctor’s advice: “Have fun. Give yourself the freedom to experiment, think unconventionally, and step out of your comfort zone.”


~ We shared this story with you in the Summer 2023 issue of NEST Magazine. To subscribe to NEST Magazine, click here  — and be sure to follow us on Instagram @NestRealty

Spread the love

Written by
Posted in Asheville, Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, Greater Louisville and Southern Indiana, Greensboro, Greenville, Jackson, Lake Norman, Morganton, NEST Magazine, New River Valley, Raleigh-Durham, Richmond, Roanoke, Shenandoah Valley, Summer 2023, Wilmington
Comments closed

Comments are closed.

Join our Newsletter