Now and again, I treat myself to a bunch of flowers from the deli, but when I put them in a vase at home, they look… blah. The flowers hang haphazardly over the vase, the stems are too long, and the whole bouquet looks messy. Happily, my friend Kendra Smoot, a prop stylist, agreed to share three beautiful ways to arrange flowers at home…

Gerbera daisies:

1. The idea here is that even the most basic flowers can look good if you stick to one type and color.

2. Put a bunch of daisies in a smaller vessel than you think. Most people put flowers in too big of a container, which makes them look too loose and too few.

3. Also, get creative with the container you put them in—the glass I used here was from a burned-out candle. A pencil jar, soup can or a tea cup would also make great “vases.”

Bunch of roses:
1. First we want to “process” the flowers. Trim off the bottom 1″ to 2″ at a sharp angle. Strip all but the top leaves, and remove the outer petals.
2. We want these roses to be looser and more open. To do this, place them in warm water and GENTLY open them with your fingers (I blow on them, too, while doing this).
3. Bitty hair ties are a great secret to flower styling—they hold the bouquet tight but let you arrange individual flowers to create a pretty shape.
4. Then hold the bunch of roses up to your vase and trim the stems to size, cutting them an angle again. Here, I tied twine around the elastic to make it look more natural.
5. To keep your flowers healthy, be sure to change the water daily.

Pick your own bouquet:

1. Choose flowers within a tight color palette, and choose different sizes of blossoms for texture.

2. If you can, grab a stray branch or two on your way home from a bush or tree—these add a loose, relaxed, more “gathered” quality.

3. If you’re going to give away the bouquet to a friend or bring it to a dinner party, here’s an easy way to wrap it: Layer a damp paper towel on top of Saran Wrap and wrap around the trimmed stems, again cut at an angle. Then cover with tissue paper; the paper saved from packages or old gifts that has been a little crumbled and has more body is great.

Thanks so much for these tips, Kendra! Do you guys have any helpful tips for flower arranging at home? Would love to learn more…

(Photos by Alpha Smoot for Cup of Jo; styling by Kendra Smoot)