Simple Steps to Create a Grand Flower Arrangement

Big Flower Arrangement Centerpiece

One of my favorite simple pleasures in life is keeping flowers in our home as regularly as possible. Fridays have been dubbed as “Flower Fridays” because more often than not, my husband stops and picks up a bunch or two on his way home from work; it truly is a great way to start the weekend. When I am creating floral centerpieces, especially for special occasions, I like to go BIG. As in, could possibly be confused as being brought home from a wedding type of “big”. Costco is my go-to because I can get a lot for a little… and, while our local grocery store has more pre-made bouquets, Costco keeps a great selection of same-stem bouquets so I can create custom arrangements. Even if I do select a pre-made arrangement, the chances that I keep the bouquet as-is without adding, splitting it, etc. are slim to none. 

Hydrangeas in the sink

Roses and hydrangeas in a sink

Few things hurt my heart more than seeing someone cut open the plastic wrapping a bouquet, and dropping the full bunch of flowers directly in a vase of water. Because I bring home flowers so often and I don’t want displaying them to be a “chore”, I most certainly am not going to devote the extra time of using floral foam, or a Martha Stewart-style grid support. I have to keep it simple and am all about finding shortcuts. While I do not claim to be a professional floral designer, I will share some tips I have learned in styling and the method I use to easily create large, sumptuous arrangements.

Flowers in sink

If I am going for a big arrangement, here are a few types of things I look for when selecting my flowers:

  1. Something “beefy”/leafy has a thick, strong stalk
  2. Something that has “girth” and covers well
  3. Coordinating colors

For this arrangement, I went with white hydrangeas (which came with some green stalks), green viburnum, and baby coral roses. I fill my sink with cool water, cut through the bands and the plastic, and lay them in for a “drink” while I am doing some quick prep. I actually lay the hydrangeas upside down with the bloom directly in the water for a little while first.

When I look for something in which to arrange my flowers, I try to think outside the box. Basically, anything in my home that has an opening and doesn’t leak is fair game. (Did you see when I used a trashcan as a centerpiece HERE?) For this arrangement, I decided to go with my Pottery Barn ice bucket. I have the wine cooler and beverage tub from the Rhodes collection also and they have been a staple in every gathering/celebration I have hosted. You can see them HERE.

Potery Barn Rhodes Ice Bucket

Fill the receptacle (in this case, the ice bucket), and add the flower food. Start with your flowers that have the widest/strongest stems. If you are using greenery/flowers that cascade (such as the cedar greenery I used in my Christmas tablescape), you can start with those pieces first. Trim the end at an angle. If the stems are really thick, use a knife or clippers made for pruning.

White Hydrangea Creating a Flower Arrangement

You don’t want your stems to be too short or the vase/receptacle won’t fill out evenly. You also don’t want the arrangement to be too “tight”. Since this base is wide, I trimmed my first hydrangea stems to hang over the edge as pictured below. The stem is stretched to the bottom opposite side of the bucket.

Hydrangeas first step in flower arrangement

Take a second “beefy” stem and place it in the opposite direction, crossing stems with the first.

How to Create a Large Flower Arrangement

Take a third stem and place in stretching between the first two.

Creating a Large Flower Arrangement

Your stems should be crossing to form a base; this will be important later.

Crossed Flower Stems

Take a fourth stem and arrange it so there are four points evenly around the receptacle.

Creating a Large Floral Centerpiece

Crossing Flower Stems

Once you have your four anchor flowers, you can start to build upwards. Take a fifth stem and cut to a similar length, and try to prop it up directly from the center, using your stemmed, weaved base as a support.

Creating a hydrangea arrangement

If your flowers shift a little, you will have a chance to move them a little as you add more flowers. Repeat the process of evenly distributing your thickest stems, trying to intertwine the stems in the bottom of the receptacle.

Hydrangeas in Ice Bucket

When the thickest stems are in place, start cutting the stems to your smaller flowers to a similar height.

baby rose branches

The baby roses come in bunches which makes it an easy way to fill in the spaces.

Creating a Large Floral Arrangement with Baby Roses

At this point, it is easy to add in any final “interest” in the form of branches, smaller flowers, ground cover, etc. Since the white hydrangeas came with a couple of leafy stalks, I placed those sporadically, facing up to complete the arrangement. You can also add in some of your own backyard nature.

Large Floral Arrangement Centerpiece

The entire arrangement took about 10 minutes to create from start to finish. It is super easy to pull together and the result makes an awesome impact. In expanding large floral arrangements, two things to keep in mind are to grow it outward by using longer stems and to use the flowers already in place to build on itself.

Large Floral Arrangement Centerpiece in Ice Bucket

I added the completed centerpiece in a silver tray, and filled the surrounding with some wintery pinecones more fitting for the season.

Large Floral Arrangement Centerpiece in Ice Bucket

Here is a view of the impact the arrangement makes in our breakfast nook.

Breakfast Room with Large Floral Centerpiece

Large Floral Arrangement Centerpiece in Ice Bucket

Large Floral Arrangement Centerpiece in Ice Bucket


I rely on florals to bring out color in neutral spaces throughout my home. Taking center stage against the black and white travel gallery wall here is no different. These frames are perfect for galleries and collages and can be found HERE.

White hydrangea and pink rose arrangements in Pottery Barn Rhodes Ice Bucket

This fall, we planted camellias, hydrangeas, azaleas, and crepe myrtles; my hope is that in addition to beautifying our landscape, that I will have an ongoing source of those big blooms I love!

White hydrangea and pink rose arrangements in Pottery Barn Rhodes Ice Bucket White hydrangea and pink rose arrangements in Pottery Barn Rhodes Ice Bucket White hydrangea and pink rose arrangements in Pottery Barn Rhodes Ice Bucket White hydrangea and pink rose arrangements in Pottery Barn Rhodes Ice Bucket

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  1. 1.10.16
    Gretchen Thomas said:

    These are all wonderful tips! Thank you so much for sharing.

    • 1.10.16

      Nan, thank you so much for being the best supporter and taking the time to read. You are wonderful!

  2. 1.10.16
    Gisela Manresa said:

    Beautiful arrangement and great tips as well! Thanks for sharing.

    • 1.10.16

      Gisela, I am so glad! Thank you for stopping by!

  3. 1.11.16
    Maisie said:

    Thank you for sharing your tips. I love flowers but I’m ashamed to say I’m an open and drop in the vase person. I shall try much harder to arrange hereafter!

    • 1.11.16

      Thank you for stopping in and checking it out, Maisie! I totally understand! Trust me, if taking the extra steps of doing just a little more arranging took substantial extra time/effort, I wouldn’t do it haha It doesn’t have to be an elaborate arrangement either. You can think about wanting your center flower to be the tallest and go from there. 😉

      • 1.12.16
        Maisie said:

        I will definitely give it my best shot!

  4. 1.14.16
    Rhonda said:

    Wow Kelley!! You make this look so easy that I am going for flowers tomorrow.

    • 1.15.16

      Rhonda, you are so sweet! It is easy- if you do, tag me so I won’t miss it!

  5. 1.15.16
    sonni said:

    Recently stumbled upon your blog and love your aesthetic so much! Thanks for a super simple tutorial to follow here, can’t wait to try it!

    • 1.15.16

      Tgat is wonderful; thank you for your sweet words and for stopping by!

  6. 11.13.18
    Tina ortiz said:

    I would love if you could tell me how to make this with silk flowers for my daughter’s wedding. I bought two white large urns and want two nice large pieces with lavender and white hydrangeas and maybe curly willos?

    • 12.4.18

      Tina, I am not well versed in faux florals; I hope you found some great inspiration out there!

  7. 2.5.22
    Tracey Reddic said:

    Hi! This arrangement is so pretty. How do you keep the floral stems down to the bottom of the bowl? mine all want to float upwards.

    • 2.7.22

      Hi Tracey, Thank you for taking the tie to stop by! As mentioned in the post, I like to choose stems that have “girth” as my anchor pieces, like hydrangeas. I also make sure I don’t cut the stems too short. I hope these tips help!