What Are the Principal Rules of Floral Design?

Have you ever wondered why florists are so great at arranging flowers, when you can barely stick them in a jar neatly? There’s an art to arranging bouquets, guided by time-honored principles. From color choice to size and shape, a lot of thought and care goes into creating the perfect floral designs in San Francisco, CA. Read on to learn about how a bouquet is created, and some tips and tricks to arrange your own flowers.


If you’re a creative type, you might already be familiar with the color wheel. If not, imagine the colors of the rainbow, arranged around a wheel. You can choose colors by type (primary, secondary, analogous, contrasting or complementary), which gives you a palette to work with. For example, perhaps you love the warm tones of orange, red and yellow. Those are analogous colors. If you were to choose orange and blue flowers, those are considered contrasting tones. Looking at a color wheel can give you an idea of which colors go together versus which clash or contrast.

There’s more to color than picking a general hue. You should also consider the value and intensity. Value is how dark or light a color is. For example, pink, red and maroon are all types of red with different values. You could pick one color for a bouquet and use different values to achieve a monochromatic effect.

Intensity is how bright or dull a color is. For example, pastel hyacinths have less intensity than deep red roses. Depending on the effect you’re trying to achieve, you might want to pick the same intensity, even if the flowers are different colors or values.

Design principles

Once you’ve got color theory down, you can focus on the design:

  • Size: You can use different flower sizes to create visual interest, like texture. A classic example is pairing big red roses with delicate white baby’s breath.
  • Spacing: How you space the flowers and foliage matters, too. Minimalist bouquets often have more spacing in between the blooms, while tightly packing flowers can create a lush, lavish appearance.
  • Line: Use lines to draw the eye where you want it to go. This creates a structure for your bouquet—for example, you can make rounded bouquets, long elegant arrangements or even drape drooping flowers horizontally.
  • Shape: The shape of your flowers matters as much as the shape of the arrangement. Large star-shaped flowers might look good with other bold shapes—or use softer flowers to contrast. The best way to determine which shapes go well together is to hold the flowers together to compare.
  • Patterns: Finally, look for patterns, whether in the flowers themselves or by creating your own in the bouquet. Patterns can create a sense of balance and structure.

These are just a few of the elements that go into making a beautiful, cohesive bouquet. If you’d rather leave your floral designs to the pros in San Francisco, CA, get in touch with the team at The Delicate Daisy – House of Flowers today.

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