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Fake Flowers & Foliage:: Fabulous or Faux Pas?

The issue of using fake flowers and greenery in decorating is generally a very divisive topic among decorators. There are those who think everyone should make weekly trips to the florist or flower market for flowers to freshen up their homes, and that all fake blooms and greenery are terribly tacky.

And then there are those of us who believe that filling a house with real flowers may be nice for special occasions, like a nice dinner party. But for everyday life, decorating with nice fakes is a brilliant solution–especially for those of us who don’t have green thumbs, who have allergies, who have small children and pets, and who simply don’t have the time or desire that is necessary to constantly attend to and refresh the flower population in our households.

(Can you tell which side I’m on in this debate?) 🙂


[photos via www.silkflowers.com]

I’m sure this debate has been raging on for decades, and it’s certainly one of those topics on which we will ever reach a consensus. But let me just say…when I see a high end store like Atelier Abigail Ahern open up a flower shop where all of the flowers are faux, I’m pretty sure I’m in good company.


So on which side of this debate are you?



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21 Comments

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Rachel
    March 25, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    I prefer fake fruit to fake flowers. It looks realer and sometimes you have to pick the fruit up to know it's fake.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    March 25, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Oh, I love fake fruit, too! It's expensive, but it lasts forever. However, one of my biggest decorating pet peeves is to see people decorating with bowls of fruit in bedrooms and other rooms where you would NEVER keep a bowl of real fruit. Fruit is great for kitchens, dining rooms, breakfast rooms, etc.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Scientific Housewife
    March 25, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    I actually filled the flower boxes of my front porch with dollar store fake flowers and have fooled many of my friends into thinking they were real!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    March 25, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    That's great…I just confessed on the A2D Facebook fan page that I did the same thing at my house in Oregon. I had flower boxes on the second story windows, and I just don't have a green thumb. I actually tried to make the real things work, but I just can't keep plants alive. So, I used fake flowers, greenery, trailing vines, etc., and it was really beautiful.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Denise Smith
    March 25, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    OOOhhhh I stand on the side of DETEST!!! Fake flowers and especially fake ivy on cabinet tops is my pet peeve. No no no no no. Tried dried flowers if you can't grow your own. But really, it's not that hard. Most people overwater.

    And fake plants outside??? ABHORRENT.

    Sorry. you asked..o__O

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kate
      January 29, 2018 at 3:43 am

      I was always an advocate of fresh flowers, until I rescued Pepe, my black and white kitty. He almost died eating my flowers! He eats anything of a floral nature in the house. So, faux it is. He’s twelve now and I’m seventy-six. I may never have real flowers in this lifetime, but for special occasions, blooming arrangements, and they removed at night.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    March 25, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Oh yikes…I'd rather have quality fake flowers than dead real ones. But even if I liked dried flowers, I couldn't have those either, because my cat would eat them. She'll eat any real plant or flower that I bring into the house–dead or alive–and then she'll throw it up, and then eat it again, over and over. It's just not worth it. Heck, I have a broom with natural bristles on it, an if I don't put it away, she'll eat the bristles.

    If I want flowers or greenery, fake truly is the only way to go for me.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    babagrlshell
    March 25, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    I love having fresh flowers in my home. BUT having high quality fakes is so much more convenient. And my cats don't eat the fakes.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Beth
    March 26, 2010 at 3:34 am

    Stunning picture of the flowers, will definitely make my day. Keep posting. Iflorist.co.uk

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Emily
    March 26, 2010 at 3:57 am

    oh Kristi – say it isn't so! I try really hard to keep snobbery at bay but this is where i draw the line. I am a real flower snob. Better NO flowers than fake. I don't always have real, but once in awhile I lay down $3 at the grocer store, take my scissors and do one big snip and stick them in a mason jar. voila! takes me 2 minutes tops and the flowers that are in my bathrooms have lasted 3 WEEKS, no lie. For me it's not just about looks. I walk into a room with fresh flowers and I smile. They brighten my mood and make my day better. Fakes could never pull that off. We need more REAL nature in our lives.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    The Buzz
    March 26, 2010 at 11:17 am

    As interior designer Michael Smith said when he was asked the same question last year by Domino Magazine, faux flowers are fine as long as you use the best… And we agree! They're also great in second homes where you don't have time to fuss with real but want to have a room looked lived in. People say our flowers are so beautiful, they're "unreal" and we are changing minds everywhere!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Emily
    March 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I thought of another alternative…paper flowers. A think this is a great modern choice. It doesn't look like you are trying to fool anyone and they are very pretty & fresh.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    March 26, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Emily…yes…I love flowers made of alternative materials. I have made small tissue paper flowers using directions found on Folding Trees. They looked like peonies (kind of) but it was obvious they were paper. They were pretty and quirky at the same time.

    I've also seen bouquets of button flowers, fabric flowers, etc. I love the handmade touch those add to a room.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating
    March 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I found the tutorial I used on Folding Trees to make my little tissue paper flowers.

    http://foldingtrees.com/2008/08/flower-week-tissue-paper-carnations/

    And I adore the quirky and handmade touch of these button bouquets.

    http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=32776923

    And I have a slight obsession with fabric flowers, like this one. I'd love to make an entire bouquet of flowers made with this tutorial.

    http://theobjectproject.typepad.com/the_object_project/2009/08/tea-cup-flower-series.html

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Ruby
    May 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Just came across this…took the poll , but never left a comment…I have HAD to use fakes for years as I can not imagine a home without plants and flowers, BUT I have to hide them on the highest smallest perch around to have them or my cats will attack and do as Kristi described and well add to that my husband having horrible allergies, the live cats make him feel horrible, but flowers and plants of all types are worse! So I buy the best that I can afford and have small splattering of them.

    Over the years I have fooled many who have walked up and had to touch them ! Even went so far as to smell them …I use a fake Christmas tree as well for all the same reasons , and when we had our big one fooled many a person.

    Now I will not put them outside…unless it is a wreath on my door…draw the line there, but did have them on an enclosed porch that was far too hot for anything past cactus to create a wonderful Oasis of greenery and bloom.

    I have recently won a contest with a design consult included and that decorator told me to go ahead, that even fake adds life to a space…but then there was a thread from a page on FB called "Things I hate about your house" and of course I was basically called tacky…guess I shall have to wear the badge and wear it proud and told them so….

    There must be a high demand for them as many top decor stores sell them by the bushels , so I feel I am not alone in wearing my badge proudly.

    Oh and I do still buy fresh and put them on a very high perch , behind a closed door in a space of my very own to be able to enjoy LOL

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    John Chance
    September 1, 2010 at 3:35 am

    For me, its nicer to have a natural flower. But its not too bad for a fake one, both are good.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    John Chance
    April 10, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    For me, its nicer to have a natural flower. But its not too bad for a fake one, both are good.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Ruby
    April 10, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Just came across this…took the poll , but never left a comment…I have HAD to use fakes for years as I can not imagine a home without plants and flowers, BUT I have to hide them on the highest smallest perch around to have them or my cats will attack and do as Kristi described and well add to that my husband having horrible allergies, the live cats make him feel horrible, but flowers and plants of all types are worse! So I buy the best that I can afford and have small splattering of them.

    Over the years I have fooled many who have walked up and had to touch them ! Even went so far as to smell them …I use a fake Christmas tree as well for all the same reasons , and when we had our big one fooled many a person.

    Now I will not put them outside…unless it is a wreath on my door…draw the line there, but did have them on an enclosed porch that was far too hot for anything past cactus to create a wonderful Oasis of greenery and bloom.

    I have recently won a contest with a design consult included and that decorator told me to go ahead, that even fake adds life to a space…but then there was a thread from a page on FB called "Things I hate about your house" and of course I was basically called tacky…guess I shall have to wear the badge and wear it proud and told them so….

    There must be a high demand for them as many top decor stores sell them by the bushels , so I feel I am not alone in wearing my badge proudly.

    Oh and I do still buy fresh and put them on a very high perch , behind a closed door in a space of my very own to be able to enjoy LOL

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kathy Waite
    May 18, 2016 at 12:59 am

    I don’t mind fake flowers as long as they’re decent ones. I don’t have enough sun in my house to grow much of anything. But what I’d like to know is, how do you clean the fake water in the silk flower arrangements? It looks so real except for dust on the “water”! There must be a way!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jessica Vance
    August 29, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    We recently became home owners and couldn’t be more proud. We have solar screened windows so not much natural light in the new space, but I love the warm open feeling that flowers bring to a room. I have two faux flower decor pieces that are both rather large. After reading this, now I’m wondering if I’ve made a huge mistake! I love the way we’ve decorated and everyone that has seen our house has asked if we hired an interior decorator. Are they just being nice and sarcastic? You guys have me so confused. I think if you like real flowers then you like real flowers, if you like fakes then you like fakes. Ultimately it’s your house and your space, so your preference is really the only one that matters. If you have enough time and money to opt for the real deal then please don’t be a pretentious snob and judge those who don’t lol. Last thing I need is someone leaving my house and talking about whether I had real flowers or not. I’ve got a possessed cat who’s into everything and a husband allergic to everything under the sun. You got a problem with my fake flowers then take your bougie tail home and trim your own petunias, miss thang.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Nick
    January 24, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Don’t do it. They get super dusty and are hard to clean. Fresh flowers or houseplants are nice decorations because there isn’t the dust problem and they are colorful.

    If you can’t get real plants/flowers, go with a different decorating strategy.

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