A wise person once said: “Fresh flowers are like friends; they bring colour to your world.” LELIAN CHEW, founder of The Floral Atelier, agrees, and she now harnesses her expertise using flowers for home décor. Here, we share her story and some tips to help bring your home to life.
Hi Lelian Chew! Tell us a bit about your background.
I spent my first decade out of school managing investments for Asia’s tycoon families. It was a great experience, but I reached a turning point and realised a desire to start my own business. I left the finance industry, driven by a strong inclination to delve deep into the realm of being a small business owner.
Given my experience dealing with luxury clientele, I had quite a few options. It was a conscious decision to combine my unwavering passion for beautiful events with the skills I’d cultivated and refined throughout the years. I launched The Wedding Atelier, a boutique wedding and events planning agency dedicated to crafting magical landscapes and transforming couples’ dream weddings into reality. As I immersed myself in the world of weddings, I soon realised that expanding into luxury floristry made perfect sense for our growth and evolution. And that’s when The Floral Atelier was born.
Today, our extensive portfolio is divided between weddings and corporate branded events. Our expertise encompasses designing, planning and seamless execution, guaranteeing unforgettable experiences.
What power do flowers have to transform your space?
Flowers are the storytellers of nature, whispering tales of love, celebration and joy. Flowers for home décor have the incredible ability to add beauty, colour and visual appeal to a space, instantly uplifting the ambience. They evoke emotions, engage multiple senses and create a desired mood. They reconnect us with nature; bringing freshness, vitality and a sense of tranquillity to our surroundings.
Walk us through your process for selecting flowers for home décor.
First, I go on a visual exploration of the space, taking note of its unique character, colour palette and existing décor. Understanding the art and design elements provides a vital foundation for my floral compositions.
Next, I delve into the world of flowers, carefully considering their types, natural shapes and colours. I seek to create a symphony between the blooms and the existing aesthetics of the home. If the space exudes a contemporary vibe, I might opt for sleek, architectural flowers like calla lilies or orchids, adding a touch of refined elegance. For a rustic or bohemian look, I may choose wildflowers or textured blooms that evoke a sense of natural charm.
Colours play a crucial role in complementing the art and décor of a home. I draw inspiration from the existing scheme, taking cues from the hues in the artwork, furnishings and overall design palette. Sometimes, I aim for a complementary colour scheme, selecting blooms that contrast and accentuate the existing palette. Other times, I opt for a monochromatic or analogous colour scheme, using varying shades of a single colour or colours that are adjacent on the colour wheel. This creates a cohesive look.
How would you define the Lelian Chew signature style?
I find myself embracing the spirit of understated maximalism – I favour a harmonious blend of opulence and restraint. While I appreciate the elegance and simplicity of “less is more”, I also believe in the power of bold statements and curated abundance. My design approach celebrates the art of balancing striking elements with a refined and nuanced touch.
In my interiors, you’ll find carefully chosen focal points that command attention, captivating the senses. These focal pieces may be bold artworks, interesting furniture or distinctive architectural details that infuse the space with personality and drama. Alongside these elements, it’s important to create breathing room and visual respite. Each element should serve a purpose and contribute to a unified whole.
How important is vase selection for flower arrangements?
Vases aren’t just functional vessels, their style should harmonise with the overall theme of the space. If your home is modern, sleek and minimalist, vases made of glass or metal will complement the clean lines and simplicity of the décor. Glass provides transparency, allowing the focus to be on the flowers themselves; and crystal creates a luxurious and sparkling effect. On the other hand, if your home embraces a more rustic style, vases with organic textures, like ceramic or woven materials, can add warmth and character.
Size matters! The scale of the vase should be proportionate to the flowers you plan to display. A too small vase can make a bouquet look cramped, while an oversized vase can overshadow delicate blooms. Also consider the height and width of the vase in relation to the flowers’ stems and blooms.
For dining tables or kitchen countertops, low and wide vases work well as they don’t obstruct sight lines during mealtime conversations. In entryways or foyers, tall and slender vases can create an impression of grandeur and draw the eye upward. For smaller spaces like bathrooms or bedside tables, petite and delicate vases can add a touch of charm without overwhelming the area.
Blooms for different rooms
Lelian runs through some key spots to place flowers for home décor.
The best flower arrangement is one that creates a welcoming and visually appealing entrance – you want to catch people’s attention. Our master series is the perfect choice for this area.
#2 Dining Table
Smaller flower arrangements that allow you to maintain eye contact with others are the ideal choice here. Our Modern Vase arrangements are visually captivating while also being compact and perfect for placement on your dining table or side console.
Our dried flowers and everlasting eternity cubes not only add a touch of beauty to your bedroom but also provide a long-lasting solution. You can enjoy their beauty without worrying about cleaning up wilted flowers, allowing you to create a serene and hassle-free environment in your personal sanctuary.
Hydrangeas are known for their large blooms and lush appearance. Their vibrant colours can bring a cheerful and refreshing vibe to the bathroom. Our single hydrangea arrangement in glass vases adds a pop of colour and elegance to your space.
Select colourful flowering plants like marigolds, pansies or petunias in bright hues. Place them in decorative pots or planters strategically arranged on your patio, deck or garden to create a verdant and inviting atmosphere.
Do you have any styling tips for hosting a dinner or a party?
Setting the right tone is important. Are you hosting a small gathering of close friends or a large group of new acquaintances? Everything from the look of your table to the décor and the music will impact your guests’ experience.
The easiest and most economical way to create a vibe is lighting. Change up the light bulbs, pull a coloured fabric over your usual lamp, or turn the lights out and go for candlelight. Music and scent are also fast ways to transform a space. Combine these three elements to transport your guests to wherever in the world you want them to be for the evening.
What types of flowers do you recommend for our climate?
Seasonal flowers are often an excellent choice as they are abundant, fresh and reflect the natural beauty of the current season. They tend to be more readily available and have a longer vase life.
In spring, you might consider tulips, daffodils and cherry blossoms, while summer offers a vibrant array including sunflowers, roses and hydrangeas. Autumn brings warm tones with flowers like dahlias, chrysanthemums and marigolds, and winter showcases elegant options like amaryllis, poinsettias and holly branches.
How can candles and scents elevate the look and feel of a home?
Strategically choose scents that align with your desired atmosphere. Place them in key areas of your home such as living rooms and bedrooms, and consider layering scents for a more complex fragrant experience. Arrange candles in visually appealing clusters or groupings, varying their sizes and shapes.
How long can a flower arrangement last?
The lifespan of a flower arrangement varies according to the type of flowers used, their freshness and the care they receive. With proper care, most arrangements can last from a few days up to two weeks. Place them in a clean vase with fresh water and floral preservative, ensuring no foliage is submerged. Keep the arrangement away from direct sunlight, heat sources and drafts. Regularly change the water, recut the stems and also remove any wilted flowers or foliage. At The Floral Atelier, we carefully prepare our arrangements so you can enjoy their beauty for as long as possible.
Finally, tell us about your subscription service.
A flower subscription allows you to strategically fill your home with flowers once a month, creating beauty in multiple areas simultaneously. With three to four arrangements, you have the opportunity to explore different options and experiment with various styles.
By all means, repeat favourites that perfectly complement your space. But also keep things exciting by mixing it up with new floral combinations. This way you can curate an ever-evolving display that keeps your home fresh, vibrant and filled with the allure of nature.
Love Lelian’s tips for using flowers for home décor? Why not check out the customised gifts and flowers available at The Floral Atelier?
This article first appeared in the August 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
To make the most of living in Singapore, read our latest City Guide here for free!