Romancing the rose in home decorating


A time-honored way to say "I love you" on Valentine's Day is, of course, the rose -- a favorite perennial that remains the perennial favorite. "It imparts an amount of formality. It's not like a hydrangea or sunflower -- it has more of an elegant air to it," says Manhasset Hills-based interior designer Karen Arpino.
Here are five ways to bring home the season's favorite flower, and keep the romance of the rose alive in your house all year long. --Kristin Taveira, special to Newsday

Enchanted garden In this space, as in a
(Credit: Handout)

Enchanted garden

In this space, as in a garden, roses make a spectacular centerpiece when surrounded by complementary flowers. The bouquet on the piano harmonizes with the needlepoint rose rug by Stark, silk embroidered floral window treatments and rosy-hued upholstery. The owner of this Garden City sitting room is an avid gardener, which helped inspire this design, Arpino says. "It's as if you went out into a garden and picked flowers -- they all look great together," Arpino says. "Instead of the same exact motif everywhere, the use of different florals and patterns put together in a similar palette makes each look even better."

DIY TIP Get the look with the Greenland Home Fashions Antique Rose collection; the 100 percent cotton throw ($34) reverses to a striped pattern to coordinate beautifully with the floral window treatments ($15.99-$29) at

Pillow talk If you're still just flirting with
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Pillow talk

If you're still just flirting with the flower and aren't ready to make a costly commitment to change your walls, windows or furniture, you're in luck: Retailers everywhere are offering trendy rose accessories to rev up the romance in any room. "You can do throw pillows," suggests Arpino. "That's an easy way of getting beautiful flowers and incorporating them." Add a little love to your love seat with the Felt Roses Pillow ($39.95 at Crimson felt petals are appliquéd on the front surface of this 16-by-16-inch pillow.

DIY TIP Pair it with a teddy bear to make a sweet bedroom accent for the pint-size Valentine in your life.

Budding romance
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Budding romance

"When it comes to roses, I don't think I've ever met a fabric or wallpaper with luscious roses that I didn't like," says Manhattan designer Valerie Onor. "The softness and romance always inspire and get my creative juices flowing." In this guest bedroom decorated for a show house in Mill Neck, the antique headboard and French armoire feature rose carvings, and the walls are papered with roses in baskets. Onor carried the theme to the ceiling, where roses are hand-painted like a medallion around the chandelier.

DIY TIP If authentic carved furnishings are beyond your budget, add rose-shaped hardware for flowery flair. This Whittington solid bronze rose cabinet knob is available at for $23.95 plus shipping.


Rosy glow Rose-themed home accents are as versatile
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Rosy glow

Rose-themed home accents are as versatile as the flower itself, says Arpino, who owns the design firm Karen Arpino Interiors. "You can use them in furniture, in fabric, in accessories and in art, and it can be large doses or small doses, depending on how much you want to surround yourself with," Arpino says. Pink rose blossoms decorate the glass shade of the Touch Lamp ($59.99 at The 23 1/2-inch table lamp shown here has a polished brass base and a touch sensor, putting that rosy glow right at your fingertips.

DIY TIP For an inexpensive alternative, dress up a lamp you already have: Apply your favorite rose fabric to this Self Adhesive Lampshade, available at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores for $13.99.

Wallflower waltz White roses dare to dance above
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Wallflower waltz

White roses dare to dance above the daybed in this romantic room by Greenvale-based designer Judith Lattuca. She says the rose was her inspiration for the bedroom at a designer show house in Upper Brookville. "The feature wall of cascading white roses was achieved by applying a hand-printed wallpaper, which was made in France," Lattuca says. "I used the roses because I wanted a feminine feeling in this bedroom, and because it is a classic flower that was used in a more contemporary way. I also used fresh white roses in a beautiful silver pitcher on the secretary in this room."

DIY TIP French wallpaper out of your price range? Paint your own with stencils. You might try Martha Stewart Crafts Rose Garden Laser-Cut Stencils, $10.99 at Michaels stores and

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