New Orleans Florist Explains the Principles of Floral Design

Although many people think of art as having no rules, there are certain aesthetic guidelines that artists follow when creating a new piece. Whether it’s dance and music or sculpture and painting, human beings have a natural eye for design—and that’s also the case when it comes to the principles of floral design.

As a professional New Orleans florist, my work is guided by these principles even though each piece and design scheme is tailored to the client’s needs.

As many great artists have said, you need to know the rules before you can break them!

One of the Most Important Principles of Floral Design: Composition

Composition is one of the most important principles of floral design because it encompasses several fundamental concepts.

In broad strokes, composition is defined as “the artistic arrangement of the parts of a picture.” In order to unpack this idea, here are a few of the standout elements of composition and how they apply to the principles of floral design.

Cohesiveness answers this question: “Do the visual components go together well?” For example, each flower in a centerpiece has a distinct shape, and it’s a good idea to use flower species that have a similar shape in these types of pieces. Using bell shapes, saucer shapes, spherical, and star shapes in a random arrangement can look overly mix-matched and disorganized. Using species of similar shapes helps your work look more intentional.

Balance and weight has to do with symmetry. If a centerpiece is asymmetrical, it means one side has more flowers or is more visually busy than the other. An unbalanced piece can look lopsided and uneasy.

Pattern has to do with repetition. If you use three varieties of flowers in a centerpiece, are they distributed evenly throughout the arrangement? A sense of regularity or an overarching formula in floral design helps you work appear more cohesive and balanced. Of course, an arrangement that’s too formulaic can look predictable and boring; that’s why it’s good to evenly distribute your visual elements in a way that isn’t overly pattern-centric.

Here is a great article that explains these concepts, plus a few more, with famous paintings and graphics. After all, the principles of floral design are visual concepts, and they share many similarities with other disciplines.


In many ways, floral designers are sculptors. Whether it’s a floral arch, bouquet, centerpiece, garnish, headpiece, corsage, or boutonniere, each floral arrangement interacts with space in different ways.

For example, an arch creates a focal point in the negative space, or the space around or between the piece, located inside of the arch’s borders. This draws attention to whatever, or whoever is under it.

In a similar way, when you’re creating something like a centerpiece, corsage, or boutonniere, it’s important to consider its effect on space. When creating accessories for brides or grooms, you don’t want to draw too much attention away from the people themselves by creating a focal point on their chest or wrist. This is why members of the wedding party prefer their accessories to be more subtle.

Centerpieces should also strike a balance between visual brilliance and cohesiveness. A centerpiece that’s too eye-catching will create a focal point in the middle of the room that draws attention from the other important elements at a wedding or event.


Just like other art forms, certain principles of floral design apply only to floral design.

One of the best things about flowers is that they smell just as beautiful as they look, and fragrance should be considered when working with flowers. After all, smell is one of our most powerful senses.

Depending on whether the event is inside or outside, it’s important to make sure the scent of your arrangements is present but not overpowering. You should also make sure the scents of the flowers you choose don’t clash to create an unpleasant fragrance.

Your New Orleans Florist

Leaf + Petal is your New Orleans florist for weddings, corporate events, birthdays, and more!

If you’re looking for a professional florist to take your next big event to the next level, contact us today or call us at (504) 343-6964 so we can start bringing your vision to life!

Leaf + Petal NOLA

1818 Magazine St - STE B

New Orleans, LA 70130


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