How to create your own gorgeous, show-stopping flower arrangement at home

The New York TimesThe New York TimesThere are few things that make a house come alive like fresh flowers. And while they certainly don't have to be elaborate-a bunch of daisies from the corner market can look so sweet stuffed into an old mason jar-if you have a bit of time, inclination, and know-how, a colorful, thoughtfully assembled mixed bouquet can have a dramatic, incredibly gorgeous impact on your space.

Flower arranging can be daunting though. In inexperienced hands, mixing and matching stems can start to get really messy (which is why I've almost always stuck to buying flowers of one type and color to display at home). After reading a piece about the trend of flower arranging classes cropping up all over the country in this week's New York Times though, I'm inspired to play florist.

The feature focused on two young women behind the Brooklyn-based Little Flower School, who teach seminars on how to make pretty, loose, organic-looking arrangements. Each class lasts for about three hours, but at $250, it's a pricey endeavor.

Thankfully for the rest of us though, the article outlined a few simple guidelines for creating your own artful, free-form arrangements on your own:

First, start with your hardier stems or branches to form a foundation for your arrangement, and position them in your vase with the stems overlapping each other. You can also use one of those spiky metal flower frogs to hold your foliage in place. As a general rule, your flowers should be one and half times the length of whatever vase you're using.

Next, add lush blossoms that are going to be the stars of your centerpiece, something like dahlias, roses, peonies, and hydrangeas. Don't cut these blooms the same length-it will make your arrangement look flat. Instead, stagger their heights to create more visual interest.

Last, add a few tall wispy flowers here and there to round out the bouquet-things that are narrow with small, tight buds.