by Jason Oliver Nixon
Just look at the runways at Gucci and Oscar de la Renta. Peruse the Anthropologie website, and pay a visit to the fabled Greenbrier resort. IKEA and Ballard Designs are pushing floral sheets. Flower power is back.
In fact, gardening in general seems to be having a big moment. Apparently, there’s nothing like a pandemic to, paraphrase Voltaire, “cultivate one’s own garden.” Even the ubiquitous urban farmhouse trend is being chipped away at by rampant florals that are vining their way onto upholstery, wallpaper, pillows, rugs, tabletop and more.
At Madcap Cottage, we are passionate gardeners and love connecting the indoors with the out. My partner, John Loecke, and I are simply mad for florals, and we want you to be, too! The two of us have spent 20 years in the industry and have brought dozens of Madcap Cottage floral patterns to market on everything from fabrics and rugs to wallpaper and tabletop, and our products can be found on Target.com, Overstock, Wayfair, and more. Remember: As trends change, one thing holds true– florals remain a steadfast design element that are absolutely timeless.
“Florals are happy,” says Loecke. “They deliver personality and are anything but cookie cutter. And they connect the indoors and the out. Fresh and inviting. And we all certainly need interiors that evoke a spirit of joy, especially right now. Who wants clinical, beige and blah?”
Of course, florals never really left the building but the buds and blossoms that we are seeing right now have more negative space and a looser hand than, say, the tightly bunched cabbage roses that had a star turn on highly polished chintz circa 1985. Think less Laura Ashley and more layered eclectic; an English country house inherited by the groovy grandkids who listen to The Clash.
Best of all, floral patterns work with any other print. And the bigger, the better. When you go big and bold with a pattern, it can actually ground a room, creating its own neutral template upon which you can layer. “The eye reads the overall pattern as a blank canvas,” says John.
Use floral patterns and stripes as the base element in a room and then add various other prints upon this works-with-anything foundation. Or, mix florals with animal prints, with bold geometrics, or with all-over neutrals (think a grey sofa) that need some elan.
As for a floral color story, look to the great outdoors for visual cues. “Remember that if it works in your garden, it will work in your home,” says Loecke. “Make green a new neutral in your home and pair it with pinks, oranges, white and yellow. Have some fun.”
If you are hesitant about dipping your toe into an ebullient floral bouquet, start small.
Try these five ideas this season:
1. Add floral throw pillows to a neutral-hued sofa. You might just decide to recover the whole thing.
2. Break out the vintage floral china that Granny left you in the will and mix it with your everyday plates.
3. Replace that builder-special light fixture with a floral pendant or chandelier.
4. Switch out your solid sheets for floral fitted and flats loaded with tempestuous tulips and reckless roses.
5. Place a floral scatter rug in front of a sink, in the bathroom, down the hallway or on either side of your bed.