One of the easiest ways to add style, beauty, and warmth to a space is with fresh flowers. In my 20’s, when I thought of flower arrangements I think of an occasional splurge on an arrangement from a florist, or an even rarer gift from a friend or admirer to commemorate a special occasion- but in my 30’s I began to bring flowers into my home in a very different way.
My First Foray: DIY Bouquets
My friend Merre was the first to introduce me to making tiny floral arrangements part of a regular weekly cleaning routine. As I helped her a few times with her AirBnb before I began hosting my own Airbnb, I noticed each time she cleaned, she carefully clipped ordinary greens from her garden to decorate the tiny cottage she rented out. The effect was an immediate elevation from spare room to a hygge (cozy) simplicity.
When flowers weren’t plentiful in the cottage’s garden, she’d add less remarkable buds, leaves, and weeds that transformed thrifted vessels into small pockets of ordinary beauty in the cottage. Divided into small containers in various rooms, her creativity inspired me to start making my own Weed bouquets at Hawk Hill. Weed bouquets, which I’ve blogged about before, are what I call arrangements made from non-floral growth, using weeds and trees to bring nature indoors.
Second Chapter: Living in Pike Place Market, Seattle
Phase 2: When I moved to Seattle and took up residence in a 280 square foot apartment 2 blocks from Pike Place Market, access to native flowers- or even weeds and greenery!- disappeared. In its place, however, I gained access to one of the largest and cheapest direct-to-consumer flower markets in the country: Pike Place. Downsized into a tiny living space, and giving up much to pursue vocational dreams in the city, I decided to make purchasing fresh flowers at Pike Place part of my weekly routine.
Following Merre’s example, I then set out to become an expert at converting one $5 or $10 bouquet of flowers into 2-3 smaller arrangements to brighten the dreary and, at that time almost completely empty, tiny apartment. Over the next year, I became proficient at navigating Pike Place’s flower market- able to spot the freshest flowers and how and when I could get a custom bouquet for less than the going rate of prepared ones.
Living in Seattle is expensive, but I realized I don’t need giant flower arrangements. When paired with the right little vase (all sourced from thrift stores) one bouquet can be split into 2-4 small bouquets for nightstand, bathroom vanity, coffee table, and kitchen window. It’s a way to bring the charm and beauty of flowers into my home without breaking my budget or trying to justify big arrangements of flowers I can’t afford as “self-care”. Turns out, the mindful act of purchasing a small bouquet, walking home, and then artfully arranging them in smaller bud vases has a lot more of the mindfulness involved that actually makes up good self care.
I love flowers, but I don’t love spending a lot of money on them. I used to think that the only way to enjoy flowers was to buy full floral arrangements, but I’ve since realized that small bouquets are a great way to enjoy the beauty of flowers without spending a lot of money.
Small bouquets- even single stems- are more affordable than large arrangements, and they last just as long. I can buy a small bouquet for $5 and enjoy it for a week, or I can buy a large arrangement for $50 and get the same amount of enjoyment, for the same amount of time, for 10 times the cost!
Small bouquets are also more versatile than large arrangements. I can put a small bouquet in any room in my house and it will look great. I can’t do that with a large arrangement – it would look out of place in a small room.
I think small bouquets are easier to care for than large arrangements. I don’t have to worry about watering a small bouquet every day, and I can easily move it if I need to without having to move things out of the way or navigate carrying a heavy vase full of water. I’m not saying that large arrangements are never worth the money – there are definitely occasions when they are the perfect choice. But for everyday enjoyment, I prefer small bouquets. These tiny bouquets brighten a room just as much but are more affordable, more versatile, and easier to care for.