Principles of Good Floristry


The process of floral arrangement is one of exponential possibilities. Endless variables - from choosing the right type of flower, the color combinations to consider, to the limitations and potential of space - make for an art form that has both fascinated and daunted the weekend home decorator and ikebana masters alike. One may find it difficult to even start a floral arrangement, or as often is the case at the SPRIG workshop, we drive ourselves mad with attempt after attempt to get a bouquet “just right.” What makes something beautiful? How does the arrangement fit in the space? And how the hell do I get this Dahlia to stand straight in this vase?

As in any art, the creative process can be intimidating. Over time though, we have found that there are a few key elements to a floral arrangement that makes the journey a little simpler. Here are SPRIG’s principles to good floristry:


1.. take up space

In the Fifty Principles of Sogetsu (c.1932), Ikebana master Sofu Teshigahara, related the characteristics of the art to that of sculpture. This means every flower arrangement has lines, mass, space and volume. Don’t be afraid to take up space or go big and edit down later. The more free form an arrangement seems, the more liberties have been taken with creating space, whether it’s a jutting branch or whitespace created between two stems. 


2.. start out and work in

At the root of each SPRIG arrangement is the idea of composition. Start with one ingredient at a time, and start from the outside before working your way into the center. Along the way, try different levels of height or cluster the same blooms together to create visual impact. It’s always easier to begin with what is in the foreground before building the layers behind.

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3.. find your “hero” flower

Figure out what is your key floral. What do you want your eye drawn to? What is the primary color of the arrangement? Your hero flower should hold the shape and hue that defines your bouquet.  It will be the first thing anyone sees and will make the most lasting impression.


4.. add gesture

Add movement and personality with pieces that have structure. This will elevate your flower arrangements and create more visually interesting pieces. You can easily build drama by including just one or two “gesture” pieces to your arrangement, and feel free to use asymmetry and height to your advantage. 


5.. think fillers

Every bouquet should have “filler” flowers. These give volume to your bouquet and is an easy way to introduce different colors that play off your “hero” flower. Most of all, it adds depth and presence, without being too expensive.

Anyone can create beautiful flower arrangements upon bringing these simple tips and tricks of good floristry into practice. So, pick up a vase, jar, or bowl and get started!