Florals bloom in home decor with art-like motifs

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

Tulips and daffodils aren’t the only ones fighting their way to the surface these days. Florals are already in full bloom elsewhere: in home decor.

Floral patterns are hot but they aren’t the tiny, boring patterns you may remember from Grandma’s sofa decades ago. They’re bigger, bolder and more abstract. They’re romantic, lush and whimsical at the same time.

And it’s not just florals that are blooming. Go to any Home Goods store these days and you’ll find tropical print pillows, throws and more.

Interior designer Armina Kasprowicz of Armina Interiors in Rochester Hills says she loves seeing this trend bloom “after the era of gray.”

She says jungle prints really emerged last year, along with flamboyant flamingos. And tropical trends are still strong.

“Popular floral motifs are big and bold with exaggerated proportions and contrasting colors,” says Kasprowicz.

And while she isn’t necessarily a huge fan, there’s no question “these are different than ’80s Grandma’s floral sofa pattern,” she said.

“I see the large motifs as art,” she said. “For example, imagine large scale print of peonies or lilacs. It makes a vibrant, bold statement in the room.”

Birmingham interior designer Corey Damen Jenkins of Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates, on the other hand, is fully on board with floral patterns in home decor.

Quoting a passage from the hit movie “The Devil Wears Prada” on his Instagram account last week, Jenkins said florals may be cyclical in fashion, coming back every spring, but he believes “florals are pretty much always chic for home decor.”

In fact, “be on the lookout for vibrant florals to be a recurring theme in interior design and decoration this year,” wrote Jenkins.

So how have floral patterns changed? Carol Miller, public relations and product marketing manager for York Wallcoverings which has nearly 900 floral-inspired patterns, says today’s motifs, at least when it comes to wallcoverings, are “never stuffy” and are “strewn across the pathway of each and every trend style imaginable.”

“They have adapted to reflect the personality which chooses them, and that defines them, not the category,” says Miller in an email.

Locally, Detroit Wallpaper Company, based in Ferndale, has a collection of prints called Botanicals. It features 20 different patterns, such as Fleur, Bloom and Poppy. Each pattern can be customized in a number of ways.

Blooms are booming

One way to make a bold floral statement: a wall decal.

Wendi West is an artist from Layton, Utah, who makes a variety of wall decals, including a large peony decal. She also makes wallpaper, all sold through her Etsy shop, Wordy Bird Studios.

“The peonies are made from a woven fabric material with a self adhesive back,” writes West in an email. “It is the same material that I used for peel and stick wallpaper, but we do these sets a bit differently. Each individual flower is contour cut so that you can make any arrangement you like on the wall, and it will also fit just about any space.”

And when you get tired of the decal? Simply remove it or substitute something else in.

Scalamandré, which offers a wide range of fabrics, wallcoverings, trim, acccessories and furnishing products and has a showroom in Troy, has also seen the floral trend bloom.

Lorraine Lang, a senior designer with Scalamandré, says they’ve definitely seen a resurgence of requests for modern florals, “especially with bold color palettes on fine cotton grounds.”

Lang says today’s patterns feature fresher, more modernized motifs that can be customized.

“They can be digitally printed for ultra-multi-colored looks, or updates on screen printed floral chintz,” says Lang in an email. “Yes, chintz, the polished finish, not just the flowers! As contemporary mixes with traditional, the re-colorations of traditional florals create a focal point of color and excitement mixed in with textures and plains.”

Moderation is the key

But you don’t have to go all out with florals.

Tableware is one easy way to add some bloom to your home. Pier 1 Imports’ Le Fleur Dinnerware features colorful poppy bouquets.

Throw pillows are another option.

Patty Harmsen is a painter from Springfield, Massachusetts, whose floral pillow designs are based on her watercolor paintings. She has an Etsy shop, Patty’s Garden Studio, where she sells a range of pillows, mugs and tote bags, all based on her paintings.

Harmsen says she started painting in 2015 during a difficult time in her life and was naturally drawn to flowers and gardens.

“I started to paint and since I love flowers and have flower gardens, I started painting florals,” she says in an email.

Now her paintings are also turned into pillows and other decor. The pillows are 100 percent polyester.

“I have a manufacturer print the design onto the pillows for me,” she says.

So what’s the best way to incorporate florals into your decor at home? Kasprowicz has one word: moderation.

Consider pairing bold floral patterns with neutrals. She also likes pairing bold, vibrant colors with a white background.

It “makes the colors pop,” she says. “Or use other contrasting colors like black and white, teal and gold.”

So as spring finally starts to unfold around here once and for all (we can hope, right?), infuse a little of the warmth in your home decor. It won’t just help your home bloom, but blossom.


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Twitter: @mfeighan