I haven't written about flowers here in a long time, but now that spring is only a few days away, it seems like a perfect subject. In my neighborhood, grocery stores and bodegas are already trotting out the buckets of two-for-$5 daffodils, colorful tulips, fragrant hyacinth--all the usual spring suspects.
If you want to make a seasonal centerpiece for your dinner table or just a small arrangement to brighten up your house, here's my rule of thumb: go monochromatic. It's easy to get carried away by the sheer variety of flowers and all their pretty, Easter egg shades. But if you're looking for a sophisticated (and easy) look, choose one color and a pick a few different flowers in that spectrum, like the purpley-pink tulips and sweet peas above. It's a no-brainer way to make an arrangement look professionally arranged.
Why? A monochromatic look emphasizes the flowers and their different textures. Instead of a the look of a pre-mixed bouquet you picked up at the grocery store (not that there's anything wrong with that!) a single-color bouquet looks more harmonious. Flowers in similar shades naturally complement each other, you don't even have to think about it.
A few more tips: to keep the arrangement interesting, choose two to three different types of flowers in the same spectrum. If you'd like, add a little bit of greenery in the mix to set off the blooms. Change the water in your vase every other day to extend the life of your arrangement--it should last for at least a week if the flowers are fresh.