Florists can do so much with flowers. The many different arrangements you’ll find at flower shops are truly showcases of creativity and skill. Yet, like many other forms of art, all the various designs emanate from a few main styles.
The styles discussed below are some of the more popular and best-known ones today. Of course, depending on your location, you’ll find certain styles are more readily available and accessible than others. This is partially determined by flower varieties, the availability of which impacts what the florists have to work with. Let’s identify these and see which characteristics make them great and set them apart from the others.
Originating from Japan, this floral design style is distinctive because of its emphasis on simplicity when it comes to forms and lines. The term itself translates to “arranging flowers” and can also be interpreted as “giving life to flowers”.
It can be traced back to the Heian period (794 to 1185) and started out as floral offerings for altars. Later on, they were developed to decorate the alcoves of traditional homes in Japan. Common elements involved in ikebana include minimalism, hanakotoba or the language of flowers, and the depiction of the seasons.
English Garden style
This is the traditional English floral design style. It largely features stems arranged radially and uses a lot of seasonal flowers. Cramming vases full of flowers is a normal thing to see, hence the prevalence of rounded shapes in the arrangements.
Spacing between blooms is minimized, allowing the arrangement to look striking as a composite whole. Flower selection is typically composed of flowers that are usually grown together in a garden. Foliage is mainly used to make the flowers stand out. These are very versatile designs and are perfect for homes any time of the year.
This is a modern style that traditionally involves a group of flowers in wreaths or domes. Sometimes, even irregular shapes such as T-shapes or crescents are used. There is an emphasis on the use of negative space as well as asymmetrical elements. The use of space between blooms allows florists to play with the expression of emotions.
Alternatively called Dutch style, this type of floral arrangement makes good use of loosely arranged blooms. Larger flowers are usually clumped together in clusters and cover a large part of the foliage base. It’s all about making complex sprawling arrangements with an abundance of color.
This style is also reflected in historical Dutch paintings. They usually include tulips, which are of course a main Holland export. The extravagant arrangements in those paintings are difficult to pull off in real life. Still, that’s where the inspiration comes from.
Over the years, the mingling of these main styles has also produced unique combinations. Florists can take elements from other styles in order to develop and enrich traditional floral arrangements. Being able to work with different styles to make distinctly beautiful floral creations is the hallmark of a great florist.
If you’re interested in any of these styles, don’t hesitate to ask your trusted florist. Some shops will focus on one major style, but you might still be able to procure specific styles. Your florist might even accommodate made-to-order floral arrangements for a truly bespoke experience.