How to display fresh flowers using antiques

Fresh flowers and timeless antiques make a beautiful match. Selina Lake shows us four inspiring looks that are easy to recreate, whether you are green-fingered or not…

Vintage teacups used to display colourful flowers
1

Antique backdrop

Antique rug used as a backdrop to a display of flowers on a wooden table

A beautiful antique rug doesn’t have to be reserved for underfoot – use one as a wall hanging and in turn create an interesting setting for a collection of containers filled with seasonal
blooms. You will need a secure way to hang the rug, especially if it is heavy – try wood and Velcro, a wall-mounting kit or carpet clamps. Foxgloves always look lovely as cut flowers. If you have them in abundance in your garden, and can spare a few stems, they will instantly add height and drama to an arrangement. The bell flowers will bloom longer in the vase if you condition them straight after picking, so soak them in a container of water for a few hours. Before you start to make your arrangement, strip off the leaves from the bottom third of the stem, then trim two inches from the base of each with a sharp knife – cut at an angle and submerge the stems in a vase filled with cool water.

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Source antique rugs like this one from rugsoflondon.com

2

Vintage florals

Vintage teacups used to display colourful flowers

If you can’t resist a pretty vintage teacup at a charity shop or a brocante, then this is the perfect look to make the most of your hoard. Assemble a mix of teacups with floral transfer patterns or hand-painted designs and plain glazed cups in a selection of pastel tones. You can even include cups with small chips – as long as they hold water, they can still be successful vessels for this charming display. Arrange your collection on a shelf – choose flowers with bigger blooms and sturdy stems that will sit in the shallow vessel, such as roses and peonies. If the display area needs an extra hit of vintage florals, pin up pretty printed vintage fabric and place taller floral decorated vases towards the back of the shelf. Leave a few cups unfilled and dot between the flowers to add interest.

Source vintage teacups from charity shops and also thecountrybrocante.co.uk

3

Bohemian elegance

Bohemia vases used to display flowers

Bohemia (now a region of Czech Republic) has long been associated with high-quality decorative glass wares. These antique examples include a collection of vases with hand-cut, blown and hand-painted designs. Their tall, elegant stature suits spires of flowers that you could cut from your garden, such as foxgloves, geraniums, salvias, linaria and lavatera. Display your collection on an elegant console table in a hallway or living space. Here, the flowers and vessels look striking against a blue painterly backdrop, which is easy to create: simply brush some watered-down blue paint onto a large canvas.

Source Bohemia vases from guinevere.co.uk and theantiqueswarehouse.com

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Styling: Selina Lake. Photography: Sussie Bell & Katya de Grunwald