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How To Style Faux Stems For A Realistic Look

By Rachel

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Last Updated on March 14, 2024 by Rachel Granholm

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. Join me as I show you how to style faux stems for a realistic look!

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!

Elevate Your Faux Flowers for a Natural Look

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. But 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.

a vintage blue glass vase filled with freshly cut Lilacs

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!

a vintage enamelware kettle with faux yellow flowers

Transform Your Faux Stems with Simple Styling Tricks

Artificial stems are one of the first items that I choose when styling a vignette or a display in my home.

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!

How To Style Faux Stems For A Realistic Look


1. 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.

2. The second piece of advice I can share is to look for stems that have flowers and buds.

If you look at the photo below, 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.

faux ranaculus stems in an antique vase on a dining table

These faux ranunculus stems are some of my very favorites that I’ve ever purchased.

I use them all Spring and Summer, moving them around to various vases, pitchers and other vessels.

how to style faux stems for a realistic look

3. 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 below 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!

a vintage milk glass banana stand decorated with Tulips for Spring

4. 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.

a vintage transferware pitcher with green print displayed on a dresser

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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 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.

a vintage copper pot used in a Fall vignette with faux leaves

Shop Faux Flowers

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.

a mantel filled with vintage decor and faux stems

1. Add Filler Greens.

To create a display that looks realistic, it’s important to make the vase, or whatever vessel you are using, to 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.
an antique pitcher filled with faux white flowers on a vintage linen

2. 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.

a vintage enamelware kettle with daisies

3. 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.
vintage thrifted milk glass for mid-summer decor

4. 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.

blue and white vintage kitchen vessels displayed with faux greenery

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.
faux wheat stems in a vintage green vase on a hearth

5. 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.

vintage milk glass candlesticks for winter decor

Shop Floral Display Vessels

6. 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.

vintage milk glass banana stand for Winter decor

Closing Tidbits on How to Style Faux Stems for a Realistic Look

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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a vintage jar with faux greenery

If you are new here, I’m Rachel, the writer and content creator here at The Antiqued Journey. I’m so happy to have you! I encourage you to stop by the ‘about me’ page to get to know me a little more.

Here on the blog, you will find loads of inspiration for decorating with vintage and antique decor, simple DIY crafts and many thrifting adventures. If that interests you, I invite you to sign up for my e-mail. You will receive a free digital download as a thank you!

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Other Faux Decor Posts To Enjoy

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How To Make A Faux Topiary

vintage floral door basket
Floral Vintage Door Basket

a vintage ironstone platter used in the background of a hutch for Fall
Styling Tips for Fall Faux Stems

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Rachel from The Antiqued Journey blog

Hey! I’m Rachel!

I’m so glad you are here! Old things are my jam. Antique malls and thrift stores are my happy places.

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