Vases of flowers cunningly avert the eye from shabby corners, or rooms in need of redecoration. But an account with the florist isn't austerity-friendly – which is partly why faux foliage is currently more popular than ever (it's also better quality than ever). But how to fake it with style?
"Good fake flowers are like good cleaners: you don't see them," says faux florist Shaun Skelly of Fake Landscapes. "If you can see they're fake, you've failed."
The long haul
"The initial outlay is big," acknowledges Skelly (who has just supplied One Hyde Park, aka The World's Most Expensive Apartment Complex). "But in swapping a large weekly fresh arrangement for the fake equivalent from us, you'd break even by around week eight."
Up close and personal
"You can't tell quality in photos," Skelly insists (so don't ask him for a catalogue). Subtlety of colour is one key quality marker: "Our stems have three to four shades – not just two." Sia (sia-homefashion.com), cheaper but still good, sells blooms with "insect-nibbled leaves" and petals finished with real-feeling silicon.
But which fakes to buy? "Exotics such as bird of paradise and anthurium stems look glamorous," say the people at Sia, "and, as they're not indigenous, they're far removed from dusty, plastic pansies." I also love the elegant green hydrangeas and peonies at atelierabigailahern.com.
Sia suggests cutting faux stems and placing individual flowers in jars on mantelpieces (ask your supplier about "magic water").
Six of one...
It's a good idea to mix faux and fresh foliage – something scented, suggests Sia. And no one need know you're faking a thing.
Find Kate's blog on affordable interiors at yourhomeislovely.com