The appeal of floral appliques, prints and artworks in the home is undeniable. I’m drawn to the waxy splay of striped tulip petals in Dutch Golden Age masterpieces and painstakingly embroidered suzani fabrics, laden with richly stitched pomegranates, irises and carnations. My Instagram “saves” folder is a patchwork of worn chintz sofas, stacks of plates adorned with miniature posies and rooms wrapped like gifts in romantic wallpaper of tendrilling wisteria.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show opens on 21 September, and it seems there is no time like the present to celebrate the beauty and variety of the world of flowers. From stationery to bedding, lighting to tableware, this week I’m running through some of the prettiest floral fancies for your home.
To create real impact with a statement floral pattern, it’s important to consider scale. Specifying items like bedding, flooring, wallpaper or large-scale furniture in floral patterns will help to characterise the room, doing lots to underpin the overall feel of the space.
Flooring is a wonderful place to start. Brintons, one of Britain’s oldest manufacturers of carpet, has launched a new collection with Country Life magazine that includes some particularly pleasing takes on the tradition of floral carpets, including leaves that curl gently against each other in the pile and hexagon patterns that allude to the intricate cell structures found in nature. Wallpapers from Barneby Gates will bring a fresh, country-style feel to any room, while Mind the Gap’s offering hits the nail on the head for gaudy-chic Victoriana floral patterning. For bedding, Sheridan specialises in floral patterns, drawn by hand by Australian artists and digitised for delicate repeats on high thread-count quilt covers and pillow cases. For children, Forivor designs and sells bedding inspired by fairytales and storybooks that channel the magic of Arthur Rackham and the charm of Quentin Blake. Although its range is not exclusively floral, fruit-laden trees do spiral into ink-blue skies and woodland animals forage among lush undergrowth in the scenes printed on bed sheets, duvet sets and quilted blankets.
Large-scale furniture such as sofas, screens or headboards can be upholstered in floral patterns for an instant impact in the same way. Vintage furniture sites such as 1stDibs or Chairish prove excellent scrolling spots for all styles and shapes of furniture in delightfully aged fabrics, from 19th-century camel-back sofas to Japanese Rinpa screens of painted gold leaf.
For those who prefer a mere hint of the floral about their rooms, smaller accessories will do the trick to catch the eye. Lighting options like brass or toleware that respond to the structure of a floral display are enjoying a wave of popularity. For example, Matthew Williamson’s latest collaboration with lighting company Pooky celebrates the formality and majesty of English gardens, from which the English Garden collection takes its name. Ceramics and crockery in floral patterns are also vastly popular at the moment with companies like Burleigh, Maison Flâneur, Birdie Fortescue pioneering both heritage and innovative designs in the floral tradition of dinnerware, including candlesticks and tablecloths to match. A recent personal discovery for richly decorated ceramics is Artisan Homeware, an independent ethical homeware company based in the UK, and dealing in handcrafted ceramics and textiles from around the world. It specialises in Polish pottery, which is famously floral, and has one of the widest selections as an official partner of Ceramika Artystyczna, one of the most established producers of the ware in Poland.
And is there anything more cheering than some deskside floral accessories? The stationery company Papier has just launched a new collection with Mother of Pearl, the sustainable contemporary fashion house, featuring three new vintage-inspired, pressed-flower designs available as notebooks, notecards, desk pads and list notepads. On a final note, why not opt for the real thing when it comes to decorating with florals? Sue Barnes, the founder and creative director of Lavender Green Flowers, a London-based florist, urges WFH-ers to opt for small desk bouquets for a “pop of colour and a mood enhancer”. For smaller displays around your workstation, Barnes suggests selecting unusual and interesting vessels. “You don’t need to use standard vases,” she says, “but anything from mustard pots to jam jars will do the trick! The more unexpected the better.”
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