How to Arrange Flowers Using the “Simple Method”

How to arrange flowers in a simple easy style to accent any room. No floral arranging skills required.

When reading decorating magazines or scrolling through my Pinterest feed, I usually see two kinds of flower arrangements. There’s the big front and center kind of arrangements that become the focal point of a room. That is what you tend to get from the florist. They are “grand hotel” lobby worthy, but are way over the top for my needs.

Then there’s the images of the just gathered abundance of flowers hanging over the edge of a sink or on a country style table waiting to be arranged in a skilled way into an artful display.  These look so pretty, but the cost of the mass of flowers in these lifestyle images is way over my flower budget.

Diane of In My Own Style cutting hydrangeas for flower arranging

My flower arranging style is a bit more simple and budget friendly. It may not be for everyone, but works for me.

I like having a vase of fresh flowers on my kitchen table, counter, mantel and my desk – places where I will see them and enjoy the pop of fresh color all day long.

I can’t say I love to garden, but do make an effort to grow flowering plants in my yard that I can go out and cut to bring inside.

Being able to step out the door and cut a bunch or even a few stems to pull together into a small bouquet to give to a friend or to place by my kitchen sink makes me happy.

Arranging Flowers Using the Simple Method

I may have an eye for decorating, but wasn’t born with the “flower-arranging-gene”… yes there is one. :-)

Over time I learned a few tips and tricks that have helped me, but what I found was that “simple arrangements” were actually part of my casual, easy breezy decorating style. Arranging flowers any other way doesn’t feel right.

Here are the simple flower arranging tips and tricks that work for me:

My Simple Method… 1… 2… 3…

Simple doesn’t always mean small. It means not having a million things stuck in the arrangement. Simplicity can come from using only one kind of flower in one color. This is my go-to floral arranging style.

Even if you lack the “flower-arranging-gene” like I do, anybody can arrange one type of flower in one color in a vase.

When arranging only one type and color of flower in a vase, cut or buy twice as many as you think you will need. Too much of a good thing always works with fresh flowers.

  1. Build your arrangement in your hand, holding the stems and looking at the top of the flowers.
  2. Strip the greenery that will fall below the water line. This will keep your water from getting mucky too fast.
  3. When you are happy with the arrangement, cut the stems long or short depending on the height of the vase/vessel you want to place them in.
  4. I place the vase along the edge of my kitchen counter and hold the bunch of flowers up against it so the ends of the stems fall below the counter. This way I can see where I have to cut them them to fit into the vase.

5. That is all there is to it. If you don’t like what you see, remove the stems and cut them shorter if needed or remove one that is too small and use it in another smaller arrangement. I try to go for a nice even rounded shape where the tallest stems are in the center and the shorter ones around the outer edge of the vase.

NOTE: When using clear glass vases, it is better to use single stem blooms. Flowers like these daisy mums have many different lengths of smaller stems and blooms shooting off the main stems that can make the stems looked stuffed in the vase. I remove these smaller stems and leaves to make…

…smaller arrangements to place by my sink. It helps to spread a little happy throughout the house using only one bunch of flowers.

More “Simple Method” Flower Arranging Tips

Fall-Decorating-with-flowers
Do you like more than one color flower? Use multi colors of the same type of flower in a vase.
  • Flowers do not need to be elaborate or expensive. Shop your local grocery store, Wholesale Clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club and your backyard to create beautiful and inexpensive arrangements any season of the year.
  • Don’t match flowers to a room, just pick what you like.
  • Don’t pack a vase too tightly. Choose a vase that allows the flowers to breathe. Arranged flowers look best when arranged as they might grow in a garden. For example, tulips look more natural if they are given room to gracefully bend a little.
  • What to do when you have a tall vase and short stemmed flowers? Place a glass or paper cup upside down in the vase. Then place another glass or paper cup on top of it, right side up. Fill the cup with water and place the short stemmed flowers in.

A Few Ways to Extend the Life of Cut Flowers

Just cut pink hydrangeas from the garden in a vase on a kitchen table.
Hydrangeas arranged in a large jar using the Simple Method

When cutting:

  • Use a knife and cut the stem on an angle. This will open the veins and allow more water to be taken up. Scissors can seal off the stem by pushing the outside of the stem toward the middle.
  • Cut the stems while under water or under running water to avoid letting air into the plant cells.
  • If cutting flowers from your yard, cut and gather them in the cool morning hours. I take a bucket of warm water out with me so I can place the cut blooms right into water.
  • If you are bringing home cut flowers from the grocery store, immediately place the cut flowers in a clean vase filled with warm water, except for Hydrangeas which do better with hot tap water.
  • For woody stemmed flowers like hydrangeas or lilacs, split the stems several inches up from the bottom. You want to expose the white inner part of the stem to water.
  • For flower bulbs and tubers, such as tulips and iris, score the bottoms of the stems with the tines of a fork. The ends will curl up and they’ll drink more water.

To Preserve:

  • Add the pack of floral preservative that usually comes with store-bought flowers. Mix into the water before adding the blooms. No floral preservative? Put a small amount of lemon-lime soda like 7-Up or Sprite into flower vase. It will help keep them looking fresh and perky longer.
  • Add a splash of bleach in the vase. It will reduce bacteria that can prevent the stems from drinking water.
  • Keep the vase in a cool spot for the first hour or two while the flowers recover from the shock of being cut. Then display the arrangement away from cool or warm drafts and fruit (apples, for instance, emit ethylene gas — a hormone that promotes aging in flowers).
  • Don’t leave flowers in a warm sunny window. It will cause them stress and they will fade and wither faster.
  • Change the water – After a few days for all flowers except tulips. Recut the stems, clean the vase, and change the water every 2 – 3 days. Tulips can be fussy; once they have opened, don’t change the water

No Pretty Flower Vase? Try Arranging Flowers in One of These Containers

Vase-of-flowers-for-outdoor-decorating
Recycled soda or wine bottles grouped together create the look of a larger vase.

I use all types of vessels to hold flowers from bought vases to pitchers to tin cans.

  • Large glass jars from pickles and tomato sauce make great vases.
  • Try a large drinking glass or place a glass jar or can in a brown paper lunch bag or gift bag and roll the top down to meet the top of the glass.
Easter-Table-Setting-Ideas.jpg
A white ceramic pitcher pairs perfectly with any color of flowers.
  • Pitchers – I prefer white, but any style and color pitcher makes a perfect vase.

Flower Arranging Tools I Use

  • Clean, Sharp Scissors or Snips – I have both these Fiskar’s Micro Snips and these Curved Blade Snips to cut flower stems on an angle.
  • Florist Wire – This can come in handy to hold up large or floppy blooms. Simply wrap the wire around the stem and insert the end of the wire into the bud.
  • String or Raffia – Tying the stems with string or raffia before putting the arrangement in a vase will keep them in place
  • Floral tape – This tape can come in handy for wide mouth vases to help keep stems in place. Use strips of the tape to create a grid across the mouth of the vase, and poke stems through the holes.
Easy Arranger grid too for flower arranging in a vase. Comes in 3 sizes.
4 floral arrangements shown that were arranged using the simple method of flower arranging.

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117 Comments

  1. OR. Buy Flower Crazy by Michael Gaffney and C Glory and your flowers will last for 3 weeks. Yes weeks

  2. Hi Diane, these are some of the effective and helpful ideas, to begin with. When I started my own local floral shop, I used to practice on the jars and other stuff to create a beautiful piece. Thanks for reminding me of the old times.

  3. I LOVE Hydrangeas! Also Zinnias, unfortunately I’m not much of a Garner and I’m not sure I have the design ideas to fit them all in. I do have the Hydrangeas through. Hoping when I retire next year I can devote more time to my flowers.
    I always enjoy your post

  4. I had a large rectangular Italian olive oil tin, when it was empty I cut round and removed the top with a can opener, it made a colorful and different vase.

  5. Favorite flower is a hard one…probably hydrangea. Although, I also love a sunflower. Just make me smile.

  6. Oh, my goodness. How do I pick my favorite flower…….going to go with zinnias. No, hydrangeas. I’m going to say daisies.

  7. My favorite flowers are the hydrangea by my front door. I get LOTS Of compliments on them! They start out white, then turn light green and eventually a rust color in the fall. I put one bloom in water last fall and it is still a pretty light rust color today! I keep it by my kitchen sink.

  8. Oh, it’s difficult to choose just one favorite flower, but I’ll go with limelight hydrangea as mine is blooming gloriously right now.

  9. My favorite flower is a peony- I love the large size and the way they look in my yard. I was lucky to have lots of plants already lining my back yard when I bought my house. I just wish they bloomed all year! The book looks lovely.

  10. My favorite flower? That’s a tough one. I love pansies, because they’re so cheerful, but I don’t really think you can use them in bouquets. I love roses, star jasmine and gardenias for their heavenly fragrance. I do use my roses in my bouquets. I can’t grow gardenias–kill them every time. Hydrangeas are beautiful. The jury is still out on whether I can keep them alive in their large pot. I love Jupiter’s Beard because it’s prolific and looks nice in my bouquets, but it “sheds” horribly. I guess, for the most part, I just love flowers. :-) Thanks for the give away, Diane!

  11. Having lived on Cape Cod for many years, the hydrangeas that flourished there took my breath away. From lavender, to periwinkle blue and robust purple, plus the pinks and roses. Need I say more … hands down , hydrangeas are my favorite flower!!!

    1. hi Paula – I just planted 3 Cape Cod hydrangeas in my front bed. I was told they will do well here even without the salt air. I am hoping the lake air helps them thrive. :-)

  12. I LOVE FLOWERS!!! I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to one.
    I think my top favorites are Hydrangeas, Peonies, Irises and the pink flowers you have in your post. (The lady that gave me my plants called them Clara Curtis Daisies).
    I have a question about your post. You said when bringing flowers home from the store use warm water but hot for hydrangeas. Would you use hot water when you cut them from your own bushes and bring them in?
    Hope you have a wonderful 4th celebration!
    (Hope I win!)

      1. Thank you! Your post was very informative. I always learn something new. Could you lead me to the post where you explained pruning Hydrangeas please. I know I saved it but can’t find it.

  13. I absolutely love hydrangeas. I have several of them in my yard and bring the flowers in once they bloom. I love your tips…they are more down to earth for those of us that don’t have an unlimited flower budget.

  14. I love daisys, gerberas, peonies, petunias, hydrangeas, sunflowers, ufff! Love flowers!

  15. Pick me! I love hydrangeas and have been known to beg from neighbors who have different colors. We are establishing a weekend place at the lake which has no blooms, so I could use some inspiration.

  16. I love zinnias and blue hydrangeas for arranging. But nothing beats the scent of gardenia!

  17. Choosing a favorite flower would be like picking my favorite child! I just can’t do it! I grow a variety of flowers and flowering shrubs so I can have something blooming at different times-tulips, peonies and iris for Spring-roses, lilies, daisies for Summer-coneflowers and sunflowers for late summer and Fall. It is not possible to ever have too many Flowers!

  18. My all time favorite is the Daisy. Plain, simple, beautiful.
    But love all types, especially hydrangeas and peonies.

  19. I love hydrangea and it seems that you do too! I was frustrated that my blooms seemed to wilt so quickly after purchase so I did a little research. Did you know that hydrangea blooms take in water through their petals? Now I mist my bouquet daily to extend the blooms. It really works!

  20. My favorite has to be hydrangeas. Pink, white, blue, lime, Lacecap…….so many choices. You can have one or a dozen. They are so versatile!

  21. Tulips – but especially white tulips. Not sure why, but they just always look great in a white pitcher on my kitchen table. Thanks for the info on arranging!

  22. My favorite flower is a rose – specifically a yellow rose. No, I am not from Texas (!), but I do love their color and they usually have a lovely, spicy smell!

  23. My favorite flower is so easy: it’s the daffodils we saw growing randomly beside a stream, the crepe myrtles blooming along side that old shack I saw last weekend, the zinnias my granddaughter planted in early spring, oh, and least I forget, the roses scampering over the arbor in our backyard. Picking just one would be impossible because I love them all.

    But, since you are twisting my arm (big smile) I will admit to a long standing love affair with hydrangeas, In summer our house is loaded with them. while my shrubs look a little naked!

  24. I love this post! Thanks for sharing. My favorite flowers are gladiolus! They’re always in bloom around my birthday and just remind me of a summer day.

  25. This has been a very informative blog. There are so many flowering plants I love, but zinnias are my choice today. They come in a variety of colors & sizes.

  26. Hydrangeas are my favorite flower of all the flowers in my garden. I would really enjoy reading this book. Thank you!

  27. Diane, I’m not sure I can choose a “favorite”. A single favorite flower….oh my! I love hydrangeas of all types, and of course lilacs, but probably my most special flower is a yellow rose. My Grandfather used to surprise me on occasion with a small bouquet of yellow, or sometimes pink, roses. I guess those are the most dear to my heart!

  28. Hi Diane,
    I love roses and daisys.
    Thanks for your tips, whose will be very useful for me.

  29. My favorite flower is the Daisy!! It is so simple yet beautiful. I love how when they bloom in my garden the blooms look good for so long. They also last a long time in the house in vases. Thanks for the great flower arranging tips and for the chance to win the beautiful book.

  30. My favorite flowers to have inside are peonies. Their seasons so short though.I also like roses. I love the zinnias above. Are they real? my zinnias are small compared to those, but they do look good this year.

  31. My hands-down favorite is the peony (pinks and fuchsias), but I so enjoy your lovely hydrangeas.

  32. Hi Diane, thanks for the floral arranging tips. I am fond of lilacs and their incredible scent, welcoming spring and memories of my grandparents garden.

  33. I love the hydrangeas in all colors. Such beautiful flowers. Thanks for the tips. June 24 2019

  34. Thanks Diane for all these helpful tips!! ???My favorite flower is stock – I love the way they smell and when I see them they always make me smile.

  35. I love the old fashion gardenia, this plant is so easy to root. I always have several in water rooting away. Love all of your ideas on displaying flowers. I noticed in the page of Claire’s book showing wire flower frogs, I have a collection of them, glass ones also.

  36. Thank you for these great tips! I am not much of a gardener, but I do love fresh flowers. My favorite is hydrangea and sunflowers because my mom loved them when she was alive.

  37. There is no way I could pick a favorite flower—I love them all from tulips, daffodils, crocus, scillia to zinnias, coneflowers, anemones, hydrangeas, black-eyed Susans, poppies, marigolds, begonias, pincushion flower, lilies, iris, moon flowers, liatris, daisies, forget-me-nots, brunnera, columbine, clematis, roses, sweet peas, geum, morning glories, cleome, butterfly weed and bush, moss roses, vinca, petunias, fuschias, impatiens, violas, pansies, geraniums, calendula, sweet woodruff, sunflowers, sweet Nancy, larkspur—and I have some of each in my gardens! I love them all and enjoy having fresh flowers in the house

  38. It is difficult to choose a favorite, but I can narrow it down to peonies, lilacs and hydrangea. Thanks for all of your wonderful suggestions and advice for making arrangements.

  39. It’s not easy for me to choose one favorite flower but I have to say lately I am loving Dahlias. Other favorites are hydrangeas, lilacs, and calla lilies.
    Thank you for sharing some good tips!

  40. My favorite flower is small carnations. I carried them as a bride and love their look and scent.

  41. My favorite flower is pink roses, but I love the blue hydrangea and colorful zinnias that grow in my garden.

  42. Just discovered oriental poppies in a pretty peach shade. Right now they are my favorite.

  43. A-a-a-h! How could I forget?! I cannot choose between peonies and lilacs, LOVE them both!

  44. Oh, Diane! You have a way of making the beautiful things in life easy to acquire. I adore flowers, inside, outside and all year round, yet my flower arranging skills are lacking. I’ve been growing flowers and cutting them to bring inside for 35 years, yet my arrangements always look askew. Thank you for your great, easy to follow tips, I’m cutting flowers today! Thank you for this fun giveaway, I hope luck is with me. This book was written for me! :) My best to you and Ed!

  45. I love the lowly zinnia. It loves hot weather and here in Texas you can count
    on it blooming all summer. Its great to mix and match with other flowers or
    just have a wonderful splash of colors all together.
    A vase full of zinnias just makes you happy to look at them!
    Thanks for the wonderful tips. Love your blog.
    Fran P.

  46. You always have inspirational and easy to copy ideas, thank you. It’s ‘do-able’.

  47. Your hydrangeas are so beautiful (all your flowers are, tho’). How do you keep them so pretty. How much sun/shade? How much watering? What do you feed them and how often? Thanks, too, for the great tips. This is being penned for future use!

  48. Hi Diane,
    My favorite flower is a daffodil. They are such happy flowers. I love your blog!
    Lynn

  49. My favorite is the Shasta daisy, but hydrangea is a close second with magnolias next. :) Picking a favorite is hard.

  50. My favorite flower has to be the peony! It has it all – beautiful fragrance, looks and longevity in a vase. I daydream of one of my daughters using it in her wedding bouquet someday!

    1. I love the blooms of magnolia. The scent takes me back to my childhood. Every yard needs a magnolia…

  51. I loved reading this post Diane! I love flowers and just like you, I like simple stems from my garden placed all around the house. It makes me happy to see a small vase of flowers in the powder room or on my bed stand., or really anywhere. I love hydrangeas, tulips, Gerber daisies and ranunculus . Flowers make me smile. I am sure the book is lovely.

  52. I have always loved hydrangeas! Trying to grow them in my yard this year (and keep the deer from nibbling off all the blooms)!

  53. I love peony’s. They are old fashioned looking and I love them in a blue glass mason jar. Reminds me of when I was younger and lived on the farm with my family.

  54. I love all flowers but I think hydrangeas or peonies are my favorite. This was a great blog post!

  55. Oh my gosh, so hard to choose a favorite flower. I love dahlias. Also, love lily of the valley. So pretty and delicate and remind me of my Grandma. She had them under evergreen trees. ?????

  56. Diane, this post comes as a welcome to me. We just moved in to a different home and I’m itching to start planting some flowers. My favorite is a tie between hydrangeas and roses but I never met a flower I didn’t like. Meanwhile, I’ll depend on the grocery store flowers to get my fix. The book offering would be great to own and I appreciate the opportunity to win.

  57. All are gorgeous to me….violets are at the top of my list. My Nanny loved violets and always had little vases around the house with violets from the backyard. Great memories, thank you ?

  58. Hydrangeas are my favorite! I also love gardenias. These both remind me of my grandmothers — one had a huge gardenia bush that smelled so good when it was in bloom! My other grandmother had lots of hydrangeas, one of which is still living MANY years later (and it’s BIG with beautiful blue flowers!) One of my true pleasures in life is to cut a few blooms off whatever I have in the yard and bring them inside where I can enjoy them even more. Thanks for the tips you shared. I really learned a lot!

  59. I definitely learned some new information, like warmer water for hydrangeas. My favorite flower is the lilac because of it’s fragrance. Growing up, we had huge lilac bushes. The book looks really good. Thanks for the opportunity.

  60. I know this isn’t original, but Hydrangeas are my favorite! I also love ranunculus- so pretty!
    Thank you for the great flower tips- I’ll use them all!

  61. Thanks for the tips! Your arrangements are beautiful!!
    My favorite blooms are lilacs – The fragrance is uplifting! My favorite flowers for indoor arrangements are any/all wildflowers, especially daisies. I love how they seem to bring the outdoors in!

  62. My favorite flower? That is a really hard one! I guess my favorite is a Gerber Daisy. But I love Lilacs, Hydrangeas, Peonies, Zinnias and Daffodils. I worked in a floral shop for a while in college (a LONG time ago!), and I can make a pretty good corsage for prom, but the arranging of flowers was beyond me. But I loved the experience of being around the flowers. I want a cutting garden someday. Thank you for your helpful tips.

  63. We have peonies,pink,red and white. they are so large and their beauty will steal your breath. unfortunately the rain we’ve had has done a number on them. we have hydrangeas, lilies, roses,asters,and more. my husband has the green thumb! i think my favorite is the hydrangea but they are all pretty. Your post is so informative.. I love reading your blog. Thanks Diana for all the great posts.

  64. Roses, roses and more roses. All different colors, shapes and smells. Can’t get enough. I live in the desert and it is hard to grow flowers all year long. I have multiple plumeria trees that have different colored flowers that do bloom in the summer so those are my go to flower when the weather gets hot.

  65. A new favorite for me are peonies. My niece is currently battling Lymphoma and has received her share of ‘florist’ bouquets. Recently she felt like getting out and we went shopping at Trader Joe’s. They had a spectacular display of peonies along the front window and she lit up at the sight of them. I bought three bunches in a gorgeous shade of pink for her and we took them home. She sent texts of each stage of the buds opening and the full blooms expanding and filling out the arrangement. She wrote that those peonies were the most beautiful, fragrant, long lasting, special flowers she’s ever had — better than florist arrangements. So, for me: peonies. I’d love to win the book!

  66. My favorite flower is the hydrangea. The lovely blooms beside my azaleas,
    which have already flowered, are so crisp. and colorful. Right now with the
    white petals of the crape myrtles above everything seems a little cooler in
    my southern yard.

  67. Hydrangeas are the best! Peonies are a close second! To be honest, most flowers are gorgeous. I live in Palm Springs and during the summer—it is HOT—there are not a lot of beautiful blooms to choose from. Come during the winter and the selection is fab! But different than a southern garden. A different type of beauty.

  68. My favorite flower to use in arrangements is Queen Ann’s Lace. As a child I remember my mother putting different shades of food coloring into the water and watching the Queen Ann’s Lace gradually turn pink, green or yellow. We always made arrangements for summer parties with these blooms. I remember those baby showers and wedding parties fondly.

  69. Thanks Diane for the great tips on flower arranging! I love Hydrangeas and Orchids the best!

  70. I love hydrangeas .for my wedding reception I used silk hydrangeas with fresh roses tucked in between it warded out so well.
    This spring we also planted 4 new bushes in our front yard that are in the process of blooming and should be ready in the next week.
    Thanks for your blog. I love your style and wonderful ideas!

  71. Oops. I forgot to tell you my favorite flower which I would have to say is a rose ? although I love all flowers. I will tell you my favorite saying, “smell your flowers while you’re living!”

  72. My favorite flower is the aromatic Gardenia.
    Would absolutely love to win the giveaway!

  73. This was a very informative post. I particularly like and use the idea of placing a large water glass inside another container. We have a lot of beautiful flowers in our yard and usually I can’t bear to cut them but this year I’ve cut some roses, irises and what we call the yellow flowers. We have no idea what they are but they multiply each year and make a very pretty cut flower. I sure could use that book to maybe find out what they are!

  74. Don’t forget 3 herbs in a tooth pick holder is lovely on the bathroom sink!
    Also, save beautiful labeled cans to use as vases.
    Wild flowers along the roadside?can
    Don’t be without a living beauty!
    Thanks for your inspiration!!!!

  75. My all time favorite flower is the hydrangea! So much bang for the buck and I have them blooming in my yard all summer long and well into the fall. They were my grandmother’s favorite as well so I have fond memories.

  76. My favorite flower is the daffodil because it is a sign that spring is on its way!

  77. I LOVE Hydrangeas; any color, but the blue are my very favorite!
    I love reading your posts too. It’s always useful information…