How to
Design a Beautiful Living Flower Arrangement

Natural decorations always add beauty to a home, but putting together an eye-catching flower arrangement can seem a tad puzzling if you've never done it before. Pottery Barn's floral designer and interior stylist, Nico de Swert, has a few tips to help you create a stunning living arrangement for your home. He layers colors to give the display more depth and dimension, and this also makes the arrangement look very intricate, when in actuality it is very simple to make.

A rectangular vase available from Pottery Barn is the optimal choice for this arrangement It imparts a structural look that contrasts nicely with the organic movement of the flowers and allows you to showcase all of the different blooms that go into the arrangement. The vase measures 8 inches by 12 inches and has a simple design that only enhances the natural beauty that goes inside.

The flowers and plants you'll need for this project are:

• 5 mini purple carnations
• Bear grass
• 10 pieces of snake grass
• 4 two-tone calla lilies
• 10 purple calla lilies
• 12 chocolate cosmos
• 4 astrantia blooms
• 2 blue thistles

In many traditional floral arrangements, a flower frog serves the function of holding the stems firmly in place. These are typically made out of metal, glass, pottery or other materials. For this project, you will be making a natural flower frog using the snake grass and bear grass.

Cut your 10 pieces of snake grass in half so that they are slightly longer than the height of the vase, or about 13". Place them inside the vase. Cut the bear grass in half so that it is slightly taller than the vase but shorter than the snake grass. Disperse the bear grass around the snake grass so that there is a nice mixture and it is not bunched up on one side. Add several inches of water to the vase.

Next, add the two branches of thistle to the arrangement. You can place them wherever you like; just be sure not to put them right next to each other in order to encourage balance.

Cut the stems of the two-tone calla lilies at 45-degree angles and place them in groups of two in the arrangement. Cut the stems of the purple calla lilies and put them in groupings of three throughout the arrangement. Be sure to pay attention to placement so that they are spread out evenly.

Add a touch of playfulness to your arrangement by working in the astrantia. Trim the mini carnations and add them to the vase to give depth to the piece. Because most of the other flowers have deep, dark purple hues, the light purple of the carnations helps create contrast that makes the color truly stand out.

The last flowers to add to your arrangement are the chocolate cosmos. These are very delicate flowers, so it is important to wait until the end to add them. Adjusting other flowers or rubbing other stems up against the flowers can bruise them.

When making a large floral arrangement like this, be sure to make the front side or the side that faces the guests the most beautiful. Also, don't try to keep all of the flowers at the same height. Work them in at different levels to create layers of color and a fuller arrangement.

Whether you are decorating for the holidays or just want a natural array of color to cheer up your home, this purple floral arrangement can beautify your home. Make two that you can put on each end of your dining table or mantle to create a balanced look, or pair them with candles to craft a centerpiece that exudes beautiful ambience in the room.