Across the world and since ancient times, flowers have held special meaning. The ancient Greeks relied on flowers heavily in mythology as symbols in storytelling. In Victorian times, it was height of society to name your daughter after a flower to imbue purity, beauty, or grace.
Modern society has taken the color of flowers, rather the type of flower, to represent different feelings: red means I love you, pink means I like you, yellow means let’s be friends. Yet, digging into the meaning of flowers, we’ve found the meaning of the flower varies greatly between colors and that a yellow iris represents passion but a yellow hyacinth represents jealousy.
In interior design, floral arrangements are often chosen for color and shape with little regard to meaning behind the types of buds. While this is the norm and few people expect more, why not bring the subtlety of flowers back and add another depth to our interior spaces? See what we’ve discovered as a guide to selecting the perfect arrangement for any room.
Celebrate the start of spring with a peek at some of our favorite blossoms and their meaning.
LAVENDER: admiration | solitude | beauty
These beautiful purple flowers are wonderful fresh as well as dried. Their color has become synonymous with the color we call lavender, as well. We love placing a simple vase full of dried lavender stems in the bathroom vanity or on a bookshelf in a bedroom for their subtle hint of color and smell.
HYDRANGEA: heartfelt | gratitude
Big, fluffy hydrangeas are great in a casual vase on a kitchen counter or kitchen table. These flowers are relaxed, inviting, and especially beautiful in the summer. They range in size from modest to quite large and colors run the gamut from white to bright pinks and purple/blue. Hydrangea blooms also dry exceptionally well for year around display.
LILY: purity | refined beauty
Lilies are gorgeous year around and are well suited to living rooms and living spaces. One of the most varied families of flowers, they range from the bright hues of Asiatic and Oriental lilies to the elegant white and dream stems we associate with Easter. Many smell delightful, although those with allergies may want to opt for those without scent. Lilies have great architectural qualities to their form.
STATICE: remembrance | sympathy | success
Statice are such a wonderful dried flower, we recommend using small bud vases of these in guest bathrooms and bedrooms as a low maintenance offering. Fresh flowers are a wonderful treat to guests but dried statice are a wonderful gesture as well.
DAFFODIL: regard | chivalry | rebirth | eternal life
Daffodils look perfect in simple vases placed throughout the home, and are available in soft and bright yellows, pink, and white. The traditional burst of yellow brightens any space.
IRIS: eloquence | messenger | purifying
Sculptural irises are wonderful in bedrooms or in small vase in a home office. Ranging from purple and yellow to a wide collection of colors, the eloquent flowers are focused, determined, and stunning.
PEONY: compassion | bashfulness | happy life | prosperity
Peonies are the ultimate signifier of health and happiness, and varieties include white, coral, pink, red, and yellow. The gorgeous, soft flowers are pretty in bedrooms, bathrooms, and living rooms. A favorite for bridal bouquets, these flowers also dry very well and can be preserved.
—By Kate Gray Fudim
Editor’s Note: Kate Gray Fudim is an interior designer with Beth Haley Design. Kate has a master’s degree in Interior Architecture and Design with an emphasis in sustainable design. Beth Haley Design, an urban interior design firm, focuses on remodeling and revitalizing established homes, as well as creating stimulating, functional, sustainable spaces in new homes.. E-mail your questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bethhaleydesign.com.