Springtime doesn't need to be limited to the backyard. Bringing fresh cut flowers indoors freshens the air and transforms a home into a warm-weather paradise without changing a pillow, swapping a curtain or dipping a brush into a can of yellow paint.
"It brings the whole season alive indoors," says Lisa Oberle, owner of Oberle's Florist & Greenhouses in East Meadow.
Before grabbing a bit of everything you've got growing in your backyard, however, Oberle recommends keeping your indoor flower arrangements light and simple -- which may be the opposite of winter, where it's bare outside and plush inside.
"Most people have such a plethora of things outdoors during the summer, so that's where the focus is," she says. "Take simple cuts indoors."
Vases filled with single-floral arrangements of sunflowers or zinnias are simple, but they really brighten up a room -- and they're grown locally, so they won't cost a fortune in the summer, says Richie Ribustello, manager of Central Florist in Valley Stream.
Natural greenery and bright flowers also enhance a home by adding color, while white roses in a bedroom offer a soft, light, romantic touch, says Robyn Baumgarten, owner of Accessories by Robin, an interior design service and accessories firm in Woodbury.
Spring and summer are all about being carefree and light, so it's only natural that your flower arrangements follow that pattern, say Alethea Harampolis and Jill Rizzo, co-authors of the newly published "The Flower Recipe Book" (Artisan, $25).
They say they love stashing garden roses, weedy wildflowers or even summer fruits and berries in an arrangement. Those kinds of combinations make a statement because the flowers and fruits aren't readily available at other times of year.
Once you've selected your flowers, it's time to figure out placement.
Indoor vases can be displayed anywhere from the center of a kitchen island to the top of a bedside table. But one thing to keep in mind is that cut flower arrangements should never be placed in direct sunlight, which can wilt the flowers quickly, Ribustello says.
Place them in the coolest area of your home, ideally in a spot that's in some shade, and aim to change the water every other day.
Flowers can drastically change the feel to a room, and adding the right arrangements to a room can up the romance level in a bedroom, make the kitchen feel more festive or turn a living area into a place that really feels alive. The key is in the flowers you choose, the settings you arrange and the vases you select. Here are some ideas local designers came up with in Long Island rooms.
THE LIVING ROOM
This time of year is all about outdoor living -- but you still do the bulk of your living inside your living room.
So when the team behind Garcia/Maldonado, a Manhattan interior design and architecture firm, created the flower decor for the living room inside their East Hampton office, they decided to combine the best of both worlds.
"The house is on an acre of land in the middle of the woods," says Guido Auen, business partner. "All around was trees. We really tried to create the cohesiveness from the outside in."
Bafa nyc inc. (by artists for artists), a company created to support low-income New York artists through flower design, created the flower arrangements. All bafa flower products are made by local artists, and the profits support their ongoing professional endeavors. They worked with Hittendales Florists and Greenhouses, an East Hampton nursery that provided the bigger foliage.
In this case, florists and designers came together to enhance the space with local, seasonal flowers such as hydrangeas and delphiniums. "The decision of which flowers to use in a space should be determined by the size of the space, the color scheme and the layout, as well as, of course, the amount of natural sunlight in a space," says Louis Jon Garcia-Maldonado, president of Garcia/
Maldonado. "Seasonal considerations are an important factor in determining which flowers to use, but most crucial is that there is harmony and balance between the design of a space and all of its elements. Flowers should not be overbearing, but should mirror the beauty of the room."
Here, the flowers echoed the lush, full, green surroundings, almost as if the outside continued growing indoors.
One good thing about flowers, Auen says, is that, because they only last for about a week, you can change the arrangement to suit your mood and have a fresh room at your disposal.
"Houses are so much about the mood and the ambience you want to create," he says.
When you put flowers in the bedroom, it's best to stick with soft, soothing colors such as pinks and purples or whites and pastels so the room remains a place for romance and sleeping, says Andrew Zecher, president of Andrew Scott Events in Lindenhurst.
Zecher, who designed this Centerport bedroom's arrangements, says the scent of a flower in a bedroom is also essential. But the bedroom scents should be subtle, in contrast to other areas of the house, where bolder scents and colors are more acceptable.
"The flowers that I did choose all have a very soft, sweet aroma, like the peonies," he says. "They are very soothing to the senses."
The best placement for flowers in a bedroom is on your nightstand, Zecher says. You'll be able to smell them all evening -- and you can even stick lavender there because studies have shown that the scent helps with insomnia. If the flowers are on your nightstand, they'll be the last thing you see before you go to sleep and the first thing you'll see when you wake.
"Your bedroom is your sanctuary -- the one place you can truly relax," Zecher says. "By bringing some beautiful fresh-cut flowers into your bedroom, you'll add to your relaxation and . . . romance at the same time."
Kitchen bouquets should look fresh, organic and natural -- just like the kitchen itself, says Jamie Charlton, owner of Artistry in Flowers in East Hills and the designer of the bouquets used in this Dix Hills kitchen.
To bring the fresh, organic theme to the extreme, Charlton created a box of herbs, which she displayed as floral decor, filling the wooden crate with cilantro, two types of parsley and basil.
To keep the cost down, Charlton chose big yellow tulips, which are available at many local markets.
She used three bottles already in the kitchen as vases, as well as Champagne flutes and highball glasses, sticking to the kitchen theme.
"It looked like I brought the outside of the house into my kitchen," she says.