Florals have always been a mainstay of our homes.
They are reassuringly familiar, providing boldness through their colour and offering some much-needed cheer, given our habitually grey climate.
But botanicals offer just as striking a look, whether immortalised in fabric, wallpaper, etched on glass, or woven into carpet, and the look is much more romantic. Here’s how to incorporate them into your home.
Your better nature: This Andrew Martin Lucifer headboard in melon orange Friendly Folk fabric costs from £1,125, andrewmartin.co.uk
WALLS THAT WOW
Patterned carpet has come a long way from the pub look of the 1970s. Botanical prints, paired with block-coloured walls, provide a contemporary note and add an element of interest to a room.
The design studio Timorous Beastie, which specialises in dramatic textiles and wallpapers, has produced an eye-catching Yellow Ruskin Butterfly carpet with a pop of bright red (£73.99 sqm).
Rugs, too, are a good way to bring botanicals inside, especially when against a dark wooden floor.
Benuta’s Rug Jardin features charming parrots sitting among tropical trees adds a touch of the exotic (£113.95), while Dunelm’s Banana Leaf rug in blue and grey comes with tassel detailing (from £12).
When it comes to walls, designer Vanessa Arbuthnott’s Herbaceous Border in Soft Raspberry, a pick from her new Botanical Collection, lends itself perfectly as a statement-making wall covering (£57 a metre, vanessaarbuthnott.co.uk).
Artist Rachel Dein, who showcases and sells her celebrated botanical plaster casts every year at the Chelsea Flower Show, is passionate about how her work on people’s ceiling roses, cornices and wall panels, mean she becomes part of the architecture of a client’s home.
Sitting pretty: Jimena chair, £998 from Anthropologie
‘Plants and botanical images have been around since cave paintings,’ she says. ‘It was popularised by William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement, who were inspired by the medieval period.
Every decade fashions have changed, but plants have always been depicted,’ (from £36).
Megan Holloway, marketing manager at Sofa Workshop, says: ‘If oversized prints take your fancy, why not go for an armchair or sofa in a striking fabric that harnesses the colours and shapes of fine florals and foliage?
‘Not only will this refresh your space with a combination of zesty designs, but it will create a beautiful focal point all year-round.’
Anthropologie’s Jimena occasional chair will do just this. Birds and botanicals have been skilfully embroidered into the chairs (£998). If you fancy even more colour, why not go for Seletti Botanical Diva Armchair White (£1,325).
HIT THE TILES
‘Botanicals resonate with something at our core,’ says Jess Harrington, a botanical plaster artist who immortalises pendulous poppy seed heads, hydrangeas, wild carrot and unfurling fern heads on tiles, greeting cards, and clock faces (from £3).
‘You get to see plants in a different way when it’s not all about flowers and colour, but instead becomes about appreciating structure and texture.’
A common misconception is that because the natural world is the subject matter, green must always be dominant. Plenty of products prove this is not the case.
Take, for example, the elegant, weightless, finely etched ferns that float onto the side of glassware by The Vintage List, who sell champagne coupes through to tumblers in this motif (from £25).
Fancy a bit of colour? Go for Sara Miller’s Chelsea Wine Glass Set of four for Portmeirion which are decorated with tiny gold leaves (reduced from £51 to £25.50).
THE OUTSIDE IN
One can introduce botanicals into the home by bringing them in.
With companies such as Patch Plants, selecting the right species has never been simpler (from £3).
An unusual way of making room for greenery is by collecting herbariums, collections of preserved plants.
Alice Wawrik, who sources unusual collectables for discerning clients, sells them for £440 at by-alice.co.uk.
‘Traditionally, a herbarium is a collection of labelled dried flowers and plant specimens, these are exactly that, but with a decorative twist enabling us to bring a bit of nature into the home,’ she says.
What your home really needs is a… liquid soap dispenser
Harrods offers the £379 Riviere dispenser (pictured) with a leather quilted cover (harrods.com)
Even people who always prioritised hygiene are washing their hands much more often. And as this is set to continue, now is the time to elevate the experience.
Your home does not need more plastic liquid soap bottles. Instead, it needs elegant pump-action dispensers that can be re-filled. These are kinder to the planet and will be cheaper in the long-term.
Liquid soap was patented in the 1860s. But it was more than a century later when it was popularised by the Softsoap company, now part of the U.S. giant Colgate-Palmolive, which makes Sanex.
The British bestseller is Carex, owned by PZ Cussons, which has been around for 25 years.
If you want to, well, splash out, Harrods offers the £379 Riviere dispenser with a leather quilted cover.
If you are going green, try Dunelm’s £10 recycled glass option (dunelm.com). Recycled brown glass dispensers (£15 for two) are available from Wearth London.
The white and grey Joseph Joseph dispenser, £12, from Argos has a slightly space-age look — appropriate since astronauts use liquid soap for their ablutions.