TThe allure of floral appliques, prints and artwork in the home is undeniable. I’m drawn to the waxy flare of striped tulip petals in Dutch Golden Age masterpieces and intricately embroidered suzani fabrics laden with richly sewn pomegranates, irises and eyelets. My Instagram “saves” folder is a patchwork of worn chintz sofas, stacks of plates adorned with miniature bouquets and pieces wrapped like gifts in a romantic wallpaper of twisted wisteria.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show opens on September 21, and it seems like there is no time like the present to celebrate the beauty and variety of the flower world. From stationery to bedding, lighting to tableware, this week I’m reviewing some of the prettiest floral fantasies for your home.
To create a real impact with an assertive floral pattern, it’s important to consider scale. Specifying things like bedding, flooring, wallpaper, or large-scale furniture in floral designs will help characterize the room, doing a lot to enhance the overall feel of the space.
Flooring is a wonderful place to start. Brintons, one of Britain’s oldest carpet manufacturers, has launched a new collection with Country life magazine that includes particularly pleasing interpretations of the floral carpet tradition, including leaves that gently curl against each other in hair and hexagon patterns that allude to the intricate cellular structures found in nature. Wallpapers of Barneby Gates will bring a touch of freshness and country style to any room, while Watch out for the gap offering hits the nail on the head for the garish-chic Victorian floral motif. For bedding, Sheridan specializes in floral designs, hand drawn by Australian artists and digitized for delicate repeats on high count duvet covers and pillow cases. For kids, Forivor designs and sells bedding inspired by fairy tales and story books that channel the magic of Arthur Rackham and the charm of Quentin Blake. While its range isn’t exclusively floral, fruit trees transform into an inky blue sky, and woodland animals feed on lush undergrowth in scenes printed on sheets, quilt sets, and quilted blankets.
Large-scale furniture such as sofas, screens, or headboards can be upholstered in floral designs for instant impact in the same way. Vintage furniture websites such as 1stDibs Where President prove to be excellent scroll points for all styles and shapes of furniture in exquisitely aged fabrics, from 19th century camel sofas to Japanese painted gold leaf Rinpa screens.
For those who prefer a simple floral touch to their bedrooms, smaller accessories will do the trick to grab attention. Lighting options like brass or toleware items that respond to the structure of a floral display are surging in popularity. For example, that of Matthieu Williamson last collaboration with the lighting company Pooky celebrates the formality and majesty of English gardens, from which the English Garden collection takes its name. Ceramics and tableware with floral motifs are also very popular at the moment with companies like Burleigh, House Flâneur, Birdie Fortescue pioneering both heritage and innovative designs in the floral tableware tradition, including candlesticks and matching tablecloths. A recent personal discovery for richly decorated ceramics is Handicrafts for the home, an independent ethical housewares company based in the UK specializing in ceramics and handcrafted textiles from around the world. It specializes in Polish pottery, famous for its flowers, and has one of the widest selections as an official partner of Ceramika Artystyczna, one of the most established ceramic producers in Poland.
And is there anything more cheerful than floral office accessories? The stationery company Paper has just launched a new collection with Mother of pearl, the sustainable contemporary fashion house, with three new, vintage-inspired pressed flower designs available as notebooks, note cards, desk pads and notepads. On a final note, why not go for the real thing when it comes to decorating with flowers? Sue Barnes, Founder and Creative Director of Lavender Green Flowers, a London-based florist, urges WFH members to opt for small office bouquets for a “pop of color and mood lift.” For the small screens around your workstation, Barnes suggests selecting unusual and interesting vessels. “You don’t need to use standard vases,” she says, “but anything from jars of mustard to jars of jam will do! The more unexpected, the better.