Earlier this month, florist Michelle Lywood teamed up with our close friend and photographer, Emily Scott, to create a vivid and luxurious mantel flower arrangement that stole the show at their summer brunch! Read on for Em’s insight into how to make this natural focal point work with your own home’s décor. Plus, Michelle breaks the arrangement process down step-by-step.
Whenever I host a party, I love using my mantel as the focal point for all the decorations. I typically have artwork leaning on the mantel. But when it’s party time, I take everything down and start with a blank canvas.
Michelle and I envisioned this beautiful floral mantel as the focal point for a fun summer brunch. I love how the flowers instantly brighten and transform the space. Michelle picked up beautiful in-season dahlias the size of my face and worked them into a huge, lush cascading green arrangement. The best part about using florals for your décor is that you don’t have to have a specific theme, and you can keep the rest of the decorative accents minimal. Plus, you can enjoy the flowers for days to come in your house!
I think there is something really special about decorating with florals. It feels like an amazing treat, not just for yourself, but for your guests as well. I also love the idea of dismantling the arrangement and sending friends home with handfuls of flowers as a parting gift!
How To Arrange Dramatic Fireplace Mantel Flowers
- Assorted flowers and greenery
- Floral wet foam brick
- Small platter or plastic wrap
To create this look, I used a floral wet foam brick as the base. The base can be purchased at most craft stores in the floral supplies section. This approach is great for creating an organic, natural aesthetic as you can place stems from many different angles, including a lower angle to achieve the overgrown and cascading effect with foliage. You can add the floral food packets that come with purchased flowers to the water that you use to soak your foam brick. This will give your blooms a little extra kick to help with longevity!
Once you have soaked your foam brick in water, be sure to place it on a waterproof base like a small platter to avoid getting your mantle wet. You can even lay down a layer of plastic wrap beneath it for extra protection.
For greenery, I pruned a walnut tree from my backyard and cut a few sprigs of fern and jasmine vine from my garden. If you don’t have access to plants from your own garden, ask friends and family! I have several loved ones who will let me come over and prune their trees and plants before an event. It is fun for them to see photos of how their plants helped create beautiful spaces for celebration.
When I host events in my home, I have been known to source flowers from local farms, farmers’ markets, nurseries and Trader Joe’s. A simple Internet search might reveal that you are not far from a locally run farm that sells directly to the public. Take a friend and the kids to make a fun day trip to see the fields where the magic happens and purchase some fresh flowers.
Farmers’ markets are also great. If you go frequently and get to know your vendors personally, they can be very helpful with requests to set aside certain flowers for you for the following week. Nurseries are a great place to buy inexpensive potted plants that you can clip from to add to your arrangements. You can find varieties that you typically cannot buy as cut bunches. With Trader Joe’s, I like to call ahead a few days before my event and ask to speak with the individual who is placing floral orders for the week. They will be able to tell you if they have a shipment coming in the day before or morning of your event and what flowers they have ordered.
When choosing flowers, I always stay flexible and work around what is most beautiful and in season at the time. For this look, a local dahlia farm was bursting with beauty and I knew this was the perfect place to showcase them! Summery, fun flowers like mums, cosmos, tuberose, lavender and hydrangea are great for a casual, garden aesthetic and are easy to find this time of year. Try to use a few different sizes of flowers to create a more interesting design. I personally am never afraid to go with the biggest blooms, as they tend to bring the biggest smiles from my guests!