Feeling Floral

Happy Monday everyone!  It’s both of us together again (over the phone–we’re only geographically together in our hearts and dreams).  Having grown up in the late 80s and 90s, we associate floral prints with memories of off-the-shoulder Laura Ashley prom dresses, or the overstuffed couches that now clog up Craigslist (you can spot them by the use of the word “beautiful” in the listing title. That’s one to add to the Thrifting Tips Post–if it says “beautiful” in the title, it’s almost certainly not).

Despite unfavorable historical associations, we’ve both been drawn to florals lately.   We decided to get together to try to unpack what’s making florals seem less 80’s prom and more like something we want in our homes.  We came up with three characteristics that run through the images with florals we’re loving, so here we go!

Floral graphic


It seems like the easiest way to keep florals from feeling outdated is to make sure there’s a lot of black included.  A black background, or even just a liberal dose of black in the pattern, makes the whole thing feel moody and more modern.


Oil portraits are definitely having a moment in the design world right now.  There’s something about the heavy texture and rich saturated color that lends itself both to pairing with florals, and to using that painterly style in the florals themselves.


Florals work best when paired with more graphic and modern patterns.  Geometric elements like stripes, triangles, and chevron ground the froufy-ness of florals, and the scale and uniformity of dots and plaids work well too.

What do you think? Are you using florals in your home? Come back on Wednesday to read about Katie’s living room paint reveal plus her own foray into florals. Thanks everybody!

9 responses on “Feeling Floral

    1. k80bennett

      And we presented such a compelling case too! Fair enough, the cloying scent of mothballs that clings to many florals is a tough one to get rid of 🙂

  1. michellet2013

    I like small doses of florals, especially crewels and embroidery. I think the absence of ruffles goes a long way in making florals more modern and less 80’s Laura Ashley—although those dresses were pretty fab in the day! Thanks Katie and Mera!

    1. k80bennett

      I’m with you on the crewel and embroidery, and while I rocked my be-ruffled, off the shoulder Laura Ashley dress to my 8th grade dance with pride, it’s definitely not a look I want to replicate in my house.

  2. y2knina

    I’m more or less with papict, although I do like the more subtle expressions you’ve pulled, such as from The Hunted Interior and Little Green Notebook. The in-your-face wall mural is pretty cool, too, and like michellet2013 I like crewel and embroidery florals. Maybe because my mom did them. The back of that chair looks pretty boss. The rest? Um, lets just say they’re “beautiful” and leave it at that. 😉

  3. Katy Gilmore

    Maybe being a “foosty old lady,” makes me inclined to love all these photos with beautiful (no irony) flowers. I’ve always felt dismissed when my paintings of flowers were referred to as florals, so I love the thought of rehabilitation all around. It did surprise me to look up from this post and see nary a textile flower in my house – except one tiny needlepoint which i treasure. I love the flowers on and with black as you suggest, and most of all I love the floral fabric with pattern – specially the plaid. I recently saw a stylish young woman with floral skirt (flowers on black), and when she turned around, noticed a subtle plaid and stripe mix as the outfit’s top! Was wonderful, modern, and not at all Laura Ashley. And like y2Kina, I adore the back of that chair.

  4. mcncampion

    Oh – My – Gosh (!!!!) that wallpaper (I guess it’s by a designer [yes?] named Ellie Cashman) … black background with flowers just popping out at you … is AMAZING. Is that stuff available? I don’t know where I might use it, but am trying to figure out a place in my house. Oh my gosh – that is absolutely SO striking.

    (sorry to go back so far in the posts to comment … I haven’t had time til just now catch up … I just love you two and have shared you with my friends)

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