Think outside the vase

FLORALS might be a perennial favourite for bringing colour and freshness to interiors, but don’t assume you’ve seen it all before when it comes to this blooming style. There are always tempting new interpretations being explored by designers and this year is no exception. But remember our fondness for florals endures precisely because they never fail to give rooms a zingy lift, with their decorative evocation of nature.

FLORALS might be a perennial favourite for bringing colour and freshness to interiors, but don’t assume you’ve seen it all before when it comes to this blooming style. There are always tempting new interpretations being explored by designers and this year is no exception. But remember our fondness for florals endures precisely because they never fail to give rooms a zingy lift, with their decorative evocation of nature.

Even treating a home to a simple scattering of flowery printed accessories - a cushion here and a throw there - will lift the spirits, especially at a time when we’re all craving signs that spring has truly arrived.

“Floral designs have always been an integral part of the interior, from the rich tapestries of the medieval nobility to today’s pared-down patterns by designers such as Orla Kiely,” says Lawrence Roullier White, founder of the interiors company of the same name.

“It’s the stylised manner in which they are depicted that changes with the mood of the time. You only have to look at the austerity of floral designs in the 1940s and the subsequent over-blown blooms of the Fifties to chart this change.”

He predicts that flower designs from previous decades are bursting onto the scene again: “Art Nouveau floral imagery from the 1900s became popular again in the 1970s, cladding many a Biba-babe, and even that ‘no-no’ of generic deigns - chintz - had new life breathed into it by Cath Kidston,” he points out.

“Now we’re feeling more confident and optimistic, powerful Rococo designs with large, rich blooms are making a resurgence.”

Clare Price, founder of interiors specialist, The Contemporary Home, shares her view that florals never fade but acknowledges that for some, they’re still an acquired taste, partly because they’re wrongly associated with dated, fussy interiors.

“You either love florals or hate them, but be prepared to be surrounded by them this year!” she predicts. “They endure because of their versatility, and their ability to conjure memories of childhood and a rose-tinted recollection of perfect country gardens.

“I think tiny, ditzy prints are proving more popular because they’re easier to mix with existing items in the home.” So think beyond the vase - there’s enough flowery, decorative homeware around for a dazzling bouquet - without having to raid the garden.