I’m going to show you how to style faux stems for a realistic look!
Faux florals and stems bring life and texture to any space in your home. For years, I was anti-faux. I thought the whole concept of using fake plants was ridiculous. There were never any stems that looked like actual real plants at the craft store and I didn’t want my house to be full of tacky looking greenery. Well, I’m pleased to tell you that faux florals have come such a long way in recent years. Join me as I show you how to style faux stems for a realistic look!
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I want to preface this post by telling you that I absolutely love real flowers and greenery. They bring so much movement and color to any space! If I could decorate with actual flowers every week I totally would. But, that’s not economical nor feasible in this season of life.
Someday I hope to grow a large garden full of wildflowers that I can clip each morning. So for now, I typically choose to pick out a real bouquet for special occasions or holidays and display them in a pretty vintage vase or pitcher and use faux stems for everything else.
How To Choose Faux Stems
A few years ago, in the dead of winter here in Minnesota, I needed some type of greenery to use in a display that I was working on. Clearly there were zero plants alive outside during this time. So, in the freezing cold, I hauled myself to the craft store and was completely amazed at what I found. There were rows and rows of beautiful greenery and flowers in different shades, hues, and textures. Finding exactly what I was looking for, I purchased my first faux stem and haven’t looked back since!
Artificial stems are one of the first items that I choose when styling a vignette or a display in my home. The picture below is from last fall. I spend many minutes at the craft store choosing the perfect stems. But ‘how do you pick stems’, you might ask? Well, I am by no means an expert at this topic, but I will show you what I look for and what has worked for me in my home!
The first thing to consider when picking out faux stems is to make sure that the leaves or petals aren’t fraying or ripped. Real flowers do not fray and if you want your faux flowers to look realistic, choose the varieties that have some actual weight to them. The orange billy ball stems above are a good example of that. The ‘flowers’ themselves look very real due to the texture and shape of them.
The second piece of advice I can share is to look for stems that have flowers and buds. If you look at the photo above, you can see that this stem has opened flowers as well as little buds dispersed throughout, making it look like it was just picked from the garden.
These faux ranunculus stems are some of my very favorites that I’ve ever purchased. I use them all spring and all summer, moving them around to various vases, pitchers and other vessels.
The third thing to consider is to look for leaves that don’t look too plastic-y. To create a display with flowers or greenery that look real, spend some time looking for stems that have textured leaves, similar to how they would look in a garden.
The faux tulip stems above are about as close as I’ve seen to actual tulips. That’s in huge part to they way the leaves look. Even the feel of these tulip leaves have that wax-y feel, almost identical to how real tulip leaves feel. The look of the leaves are just as important as the flowers themselves!
The last tip that I will give you for choosing stems is to look for greenery that has variation in color. In nature, nothing is perfect. Leaves have so much variety in colors from one spot to the next and it’s important that your stems look like that as well.
The greenery in the milk glass vase above has different shades of green on the leaves. The variation in hues gives a feeling of movement, creating a life-like appearance.
Where To Purchase Faux Stems
You guys, I’ve truly had the best luck with faux stems from Hobby Lobby. Their selection is huge, you can almost always get them for 50% off, and the stems that they source look the most realistic to me. I have purchased a few from Michael’s as well and have been mostly happy with them. JoAnn stores is another option for affordable stems.
Amazon actually has amazing prices on many of their faux greens. Depending on what you are looking for, you can buy in bulk and have many stems to use throughout your home. I will link some of my favorite stems from Amazon below!
Those are just some options…you do what is easiest and most economical for you!
How To Style Faux Stems For A Realistic Look
Now comes the fun part! After spending quite a while picking out the perfect stems for your home, it’s time to style and display them. The whole goal here is to create a display that looks authentic. I’m going to share a few tips that I’ve learned along the way to help guide you with this process.
- Add filler greens.
To create a display that looks realistic, it’s important to make the vase or whatever vessel you are using look full. To achieve this, stick 2-3 stems of neutral greenery in with whatever flower stem(s) that you chose. As you can see below, I added some green stems in with the ranunculus flowers and it makes it look much more intentional and put together.
- Fluff and bend the stems.
It’s also important to fluff and bend each branch on the stem. When you bring them home from the store, they tend to be flat and dull looking. To attain the look of real branches, spend some time bending each part of the stem, just like fluffing a Christmas tree. It might seem like a mundane step but it will really up the realistic look of them.
- Keep a cohesive color palette.
Try and choose similar or complementing colors in the greenery and flowers. If you look at the photo above, you will notice that the stems of the yellow billy balls are very similar in color to the greenery stems behind them. This makes the whole display seem balanced, creating a unified feel throughout.
- Vary the heights.
If you walk through a garden, you will notice that there are many differing heights within the same flower. By making some of the stems shorter and some longer, you are creating interest and depth, just like in nature. There are two ways you can do this.
1) Use a floral cutter to cut off branches or stems. Pick and choose which stems you would like to cut down. Then, cut them accordingly.
2) If you don’t want to cut them, you can simply bend the branches. This is what I find myself doing most of the time as long as the branches aren’t displayed in a clear vase. I try to keep the stems straight if they can be seen through a clear jar or vase otherwise it tends to look messy.
- Use unique vessels for display.
Get creative with what you are using to put the stems in. Instead of a traditional vase, try a vintage pitcher, a galvanized bucket, a basket, or a jug! Go through closets or cupboards in your house and see what you can find. Thrift stores and garage sales are excellent places to check if you are looking for unique containers to use.
- Use the same type of greenery.
Lastly, when creating a floral display using faux stems, it’s helpful to use the same greenery throughout. If I start mixing in too many different types of stems with the flowers, the display gets busy and overwhelming. I have found that simple is better when it comes to styling faux greenery.
My sincere hope is that these ideas on how to style faux stems for a realistic look are encouraging for you! When I first started using faux stems in my decor, I had no idea what I was doing. It has taken me many months of finding ways to effortlessly incorporate faux stems into my home, decor, and vignettes.
Faux greenery and flowers truly add so much life to a space. By using the ideas and tips that I shared with you today, you can make your home and decor come alive with texture and color. Trying something new is always a little scary but I promise you it’s worth it!
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Kristin from White Arrows Home shares some fun ideas on her blog about decorating with faux stems. Go check out her inspiration as well!
Other Faux Decor Posts To Enjoy
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Thanks for the excellent tips on making my faux stems look more realistic. I’m the worst at having patience with fluffing and bending. Loved each and every vessel too. Such gorgeous pieces! Glad you linked up today on Farmhouse Friday. Hope you’re enjoying your summer.
You are so welcome…glad I could help!! Thanks so much for stopping by today and for your lovely words. I appreciate it more than you know! Hope you have a great weekend!
Thanks for the tips on how to style faux flowers! I love to use faux flowers in my seasonal decor and your tip about fluffing and bending the stems is great advice! I enjoyed seeing all of your antique vessels! Blessings, Donna
Thanks so much!! I appreciate you stopping by today and for such a lovely comment. Blessings to you!
I wish I could decorate with fresh cut flowers every day too. But your right their are so many great faux florals out there that look so real. I enjoyed all your tips on what to look for.
Hi Rachel! Great post. Living in the northeast- I don’t think I could survive without faux flowers. Your tip of “fluffing “ the flowers is spot on.
Thanks!! I knoowwww…the winter would be SO dull without faux!!
I need to look at my stems and greenery and get rid of the silk stuff. The pictures you showed us were SO REALISTIC. THANK YOU!
Yay! It’s so fun to do! Glad it was helpful!
So, so pretty, Rachel. And such great tips, too!
Thanks so much, Jen!! I appreciate that!!
These tips and tricks are all fabulous Rachel! We live a long way from town and have super sandy soil because we live on an island so fresh flowers every day is not an option for us either. These ideas feel totally doable and are really relatable too, thank you for sharing them. My favorite tip is mixing real greenery from our yard with faux stems and no one can tell the difference😉 Big hugs, CoCo
Thank you so much, Coco!! That’s SUCH a great idea!!! I’ll have to try mixing real and faux and see how it goes! I bet it’s so amazing to live on an island…how fun. Hope you have a lovely weekend!
These are great tips! I admit, I’m intimidated by faux florals, but I really love them and would love to use them more often! My sister has a talent with that. I’m happy to tell you that I’ll be featuring this post at Thursday Favorite Things today. (10:00 Central Time) 🙂
Thank you! I was too, for a long time, until I started playing around with them and now I use them all the time. Especially in the winter where nothing is alive outside. Thanks very much for the feature, I do appreciate it!