Floral Designer Lewis Miller’s Tips For Arranging Flowers At Home

Lewis Miller
Lewis Miller

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer

Yesterday, New York-based florist, Lewis Miller, was in San Francisco for a special event at Salvatore Ferragamo. The shopping party was in celebration of creative director Paul Andrew’s debut collection, a floral invasion. Andrew used botanical patterns from the brand’s archives and photos that he took at London flower markets to create the digital floral prints that grace handbags, clothing, and shoes. To commemorate the collection, Ferragamo reached out to Miller to host a series of events with the first one at the SF flagship on Post Street. Miller created a custom bouquet for each Ferragamo client. In between bouquet building, we chatted with Miller, picking his brain on floral trends and how to make the most beautiful arrangement at home. Here is what he had to say.

Miller's pop-up flower shop at Ferragamo
Miller’s pop-up flower shop at Ferragamo

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer

Don’t try too hard.

A common mistake people make when doing florals at home? “I think they try too hard. They try to be overly ambitious. That even flowers for me [when I arrange] at home I keep really simple,” Miller explains. “Keep your varieties, keep your colors, your color palette monochromatic. Don’t mix contrasting colors, necessarily. Until you start to see some success, and then you can take chances.”

A stunning arrangement Miller created for Ferragamo's window display
A stunning arrangement Miller created for Ferragamo’s window display

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer

The vessel is more important than the flower.

According to Miller, “the most important thing is picking the right container. If people style their homes correctly with beautiful pottery, vases, vessels, urns or objects that are beautiful on their own empty sitting on the table, that then is receptacle.” Then all you have to do is go to the farmer’s market and purchase an arm load of lilac and then plop it into the vessel. Instead of having a generic glass vase, have the right container,” Miller elaborates. “Then when it doesn’t have flowers in it, it’s still perfectly styled to the home.”

Miller wraps a bouquet
Miller wraps a bouquet

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer

Orchids are over.

“Ditch the white orchid plant,” Miller says. “They’re just synonymous with boredom, and I wanna kill myself when I see those things. They’re just so eech. Ironically, to me they are the new carnation.” Instead place two or three stems of a single flower by your bed or in the powder room.

Miller's designs were scattered throughout the boutique
Miller’s designs were scattered throughout the boutique

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer

Be democratic.

Aside from potted orchids, Miller doesn’t favor one flower over the other. “There are certain flower varieties that really come in fashion. All the rage. Everybody wants them. I am very democratic about flowers. I think that used correctly there’s no bad flower,” Miller says.

0376-Ferragamo-180322Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer

Avoid obvious color schemes.

Even if there is a wide range of colors, keep the palette pretty tight with a slow gradation of hues and avoid combinations that are expected and overdone. “I don’t like obvious color combinations, like yellow and blue,” Miller says. “I love muted, dirty pastels. I love black, white, and green. I love all dark burgundy/black flowers. I mean that’s super rich. I love all green. I love pale, pale, pale, pale pinks. I’m not the biggest fan of like the Easter colors. The lavender with the pink with the chartreuse. That makes it a little like woo, you know, nauseous.”