How to Arrange Flowers, Simply & Beautifully

It’s no secret that we have a thing for florals. There is nothing better than a simple flower arrangement of freshly cut blooms to liven up a space. Best of all, knowing how to arrange flowers doesn’t require extensive technical knowledge — just a few tools and an eye for the right mix of color, height and texture.

Flower Arrangements for a (Very) Special Event

Making flower arrangements
Corinne making final adjustments on the florals at Tricia’s wedding reception. Photo: Acampora Interiors.

The Acampora Interiors team recently had the honor of making the floral arrangements for the fall wedding of our very own Senior Interior Designer Tricia Fortin. We made a day of it (naturally, fueled by coffee and baked goods) and created an array of floral designs for her nuptials at the historic Pierce House in Lincoln, Massachusetts. 

To determine a color palette for the event, Tricia took her cues from the venue itself — a historic New England home built in 1900 with endless charm of traditional architectural elements. Then, she looked to the time of year — early October — to create a quintessentially fall palette of burgundy, greens, and a hint of ivory. With a palette determined and a trip to the flower market under our belt, it was up to our team to bring Tricia’s gorgeous vision to life. 

We began with a mix of bud-vase arrangements with single-stem blooms with a touch of filler in clear, glass vessels. We quickly moved on to a selection of small flower arrangements in the loveliest iridescent ceramic vases. From there, we created the centerpieces for the dining tables: a luscious, textured selection of flora placed in low, wide burnished brass vessels. And finally, we topped off the selection with a select group of large flower arrangements for the bars and serving tables — with plenty of height for visual interest and just a touch of drama. 

How to Arrange Flowers, Simply & Beautifully

Fresh flowers and scissors for making flower arrangements

From small flower arrangements with single stems to large flower arrangements that command an entryway table, here we’re sharing a few helpful tips on how to make flower arrangements that are sure to liven your interior spaces. While the size of your flower arrangement will determine your exact approach, these simple steps are a good starting point for flower arrangements in a variety of sizes.

The biggest concerns to bear in mind is choosing the right size vase with the appropriate amount of sturdiness, choosing a color palette for your arrangement, and selecting the right mix of greenery, filler flowers and fresh-cut blooms to offer a layered, natural-looking arrangement. Now, let’s dive into the details.

What You’ll Need

  • Vase or vessel 
  • Floral foam 
  • Baker’s twine or dental floss 
  • Fresh water 
  • Garden shears or scissors 
  • Greenery
  • Filler flowers 
  • Focal flowers


1. Choose your vase or vessel.

Wide mouth vase for flower arrangements

When selecting your vessel, consider the size of the surface upon which your arrangement will ultimately be displayed. Size up or down accordingly.

2. Cut and soak your floral foam.

Floral foam soaking in water

Using baker’s twine, dental floss or some other durable thread, cut larger bricks into smaller pieces to fit inside your vessel. Soak your floral foam in fresh water for at least 90 seconds, then remove.

Place the saturated floral foam into your vessel, ensuring they fit snugly. Add smaller pieces of foam as needed to fill any voids.

3. Create a base with greenery.

Pressing greenery into floral foam

Begin with your greenery, carefully pressing the stems securely into the floral foam.

4. Add in filler flowers.

Filler flowers an greenery

Add in your filler flowers to shore up any gaps as you go. Once evenly distributed, move on to your fresh blooms.

5. Add in fresh blooms / focal flowers.

Arranging blush colored flowers

Finally, add in your largest, most textured and eye-catching blooms into your arrangement. Carefully press each stem into the floral foam until it’s secured.

6. Create layers.

Floral arrangement with blush and ivory flowers

With your greenery, filler flowers and focal flowers, create layers by establishing a variety of heights and textures throughout your arrangement.

7. Keep an eye on size and scale.

Finished blush and white floral arrangement with greenery

As you go, envision your finished floral arrangement as twice the size of the vessel you’re using (as a general rule of thumb).

Remember that it’s always easier to cut stems down than it is to add length, so always start longer than you think you’ll need.

Small Floral Arrangements

A group f small flower arrangements in glass bud vases
Small flower arrangements for Tricia Fortin’s wedding. Floral design and photo by Acampora Interiors.

When it comes to making small flower arrangements, start with your greenery first, folding in a few sprigs at a time. Then, fill in the remaining space with your fresh-cut flowers, and sprinkle in items with more saturated color thereafter. Go-to small flower arrangement ideas are single-stems in simple bud vases, or short floral arrangements in lovely glass or ceramic vases.

What You’ll Need

  • Small vase
  • Water 
  • Scissors or small garden shears 
  • Stems of your choice 
  • Filler flowers or greens

How to Make a Small Vase Flower Arrangement

Select a vessel with a narrow mouth to keep the stems supported all the way up the flute. Before you begin arranging, fill your vessel with water. Fill it halfway to start; you can adjust as needed later. Add in a sprig of greenery. Then, add in one or two single stem flowers, trimming the stem so that the flower sits slightly lower in the vase. Play with the height until you’ve created the right mix. 

Once complete and ready to display, play around with vessels of varying heights, perhaps combining a lower bud vase with a taller one on an end table or mantle to create depth and layers.

Medium Floral Arrangements

Medium flower arrangement at a wedding
Medium flower arrangements for Tricia Fortin’s wedding. Floral design and photo by Acampora Interiors.

Medium flower arrangement for a wedding
Medium flower arrangements for Tricia Fortin’s wedding. Floral design and photo by Acampora Interiors.

When creating medium vase floral arrangements, again start with a base of greens or filler flowers, folding in different kinds of blooms all around your arrangement. Remember that it’s always easier to cut down your stem than to add length to it, so start with longer stems than you think you’ll need and trim as you go. 

How many stems you need in a medium flower arrangement really depends on personal preference, but be sure to keep a close eye on the balance of color and texture distribution as you go. Create variety in your heights, and as a general rule of thumb, try to envision your completed arrangement as twice the size of the vase you’re using.

What You’ll Need

  • Medium-size vase or vessel
  • Water
  • Floral foam 
  • Bucket or large watertight vessel (for soaking the foam)
  • Floral filler 
  • Stems of your choice

How to Make a Medium Flower Arrangement

Cut your floral foam into appropriate size bricks to fit your vessel. Soak your floral foam for at least 90 seconds, ensuring that the brick is fully submerged and saturated upon removal. Then, place the saturated floral foam into your vase or vessel. Start with your base greens or filler flowers first, carefully pressing the stems securely into the floral foam.

With your base and/or filler evenly distributed around the vessel, begin adding in a variety of blooms, again carefully pressing each stem into the floral foam until it’s secured. Create an assortment of heights and textures as you go. As a general rule of thumb, try to envision your finished floral arrangement as twice the size of the vessel you’re using. 

Large Flower Arrangements

Grasscloth wallpaper installed in entryway
Photo: Jessica Delaney.
Large flower arrangement
Large flower arrangement for Tricia Fortin’s wedding. Floral design and photo by Acampora Interiors.

Large flower arrangements are the pièce de résistance for an event or the perfect way to fill a void in an interior space. For large flower arrangements, the size of the vessel matters less than the size of the surface the arrangement will ultimately rest on — or even the impression you’re trying to make. So if you’re going for grandeur, go as large as the vessel will bear.

When it comes to vessels for large flower arrangements, don’t be afraid to use unconventional items as your vase of choice. For Tricia’s wedding, for example, the bride opted for antique champagne coolers that were sourced from the Brimfield Antique Show.

What You’ll Need

  • Large vase 
  • Water
  • Floral foam
  • Floral tape 
  • Garden shears
  • Pruning saw
  • Large, voluminous stems or branches (for height)
  • Fluffy or voluminous filler (for creating layers)

How to Make Large Floral Arrangements

Add floral foam to the center of your vessel. Fill until it meets the mouth of your vase. Create a grid using floral tape. (Tip: If you don’t have floral tape on hand, you can improvise using painter’s tape or even packing tape.) Begin with the largest, heaviest stems first. Firmly press into the floral foam until they are secured (remove your hands to ensure they remain upright on their own.

Then, shift to your filler flower. Hydrangea were our go-to for Tricia’s wedding given their volume, texture and color. Place them all around the visible area of your flower arrangement. Keep in mind the intended placement for the arrangement; you won’t need to add filler flowers all the way around the arrangement if it will be placed up against a wall, for example.

Whether you’re making small, medium or large-scale flower arrangements, a few key tips and an eye for the right mix of scale, texture and color, you can create the perfect florals for any occasion.