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What’s Your Take: Faux Flowers

Alright kids. It’s that time again: when we come together and debate controversial home-related questions. (See the last “What’s Your Take” posts where we debate juju hats, jacobean fabrics, Turkish kilim rugs and brass/bronze.)

I’m looking for your opinions once again today. No holds barred. Let’s hear it:

Faux florals: a brilliant answer to black thumbs, or the toupee of home decorating?

Let’s examine the evidence.

Evidence that Faux Florals are the Toupee of Home Decorating:

Exhibit A.
Crispy, musky-scented silk flowers of the 80s. Fake, and kinda eww, right?

Also fake and kinda eww: a bad toupee.

I don’t know this man, but I can only assume from the pleading, desperate look in his eyes that he is being held hostage by his toupee.

Both of those photos fall under the “fake and kinda eww” category. Pretty convincing argument that faux florals are no-go, don’t you think? I should’ve been a lawyer.


Evidence that Faux Florals are a Sound Solution for People with Black Thumbs

First, I must make a confession. Not always, but many times, the flowers in my photographs are not real. Here are a few examples.

These pink peonies. Not real.

pink peonies and wicker tray

The blue hydrangeas on my desk. Fake as a Los Angeles boob job.

I feel very vulnerable admitting all this. But feel free to get judgey. This is the place for it.

This is an old pic, but the orchids? You guessed it: they are Milli Vanilli. Pretenders.
orchids and candlesticks

But you know what? That is an old pic. And they are still fresh and alive-ish, which is more than I can say for many of my other victims.

Come rain or come shine, they persevere. They are undeterred by the changing temperature. They do not fear my plant-murdering ways.

And I like to think the faux-flower-making technology has improved and they’re looking a little more life-like these days. Or maybe that’s just something I tell myself so I can have real-looking not-dead flowers in my house?

I want to know your real, honest opinion.

Leave your answer in the comments: are faux florals the Joan Rivers of home decorating? The Easy Cheese of the plant world? The fake-and-bake of home accessories? Or have they come a long way and become an acceptable decorating option for a serial flower killer? Would you use them in your home?

P.S.: Check out the other “What’s Your Take” posts and weigh in on juju hats, jacobean fabrics, Turkish kilim rugs and brass/bronze.)

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  1. I have a few dried grasses but that is about all. They sit in tall urns on the floor and apparently my cats are not interested in them. Ha!

    I think if they look real and fit with the decor it can work but then again it all comes down to the eye of the owner.

  2. OMG I am laughing so hard! You are dead on, on this one! I have fake hydrangeas on my mantel … I know i shouldn’t but I love that extra touch in the winter because honestly I’m too lazy to change out fresh flowers like Oprah does!

  3. Great post, thanks for the laugh this morning Kelly. I admit, I’ve got some fakers in my home, thankfully not in my bedroom. They are in the dining room, family room and cloffice. The good fakers are usually from Target, Home Goods or IKEA. The bad fakers hang out at Goodwill usually leftovers from a 1990 wedding although they may last longer than the marriage. So I guess it depends on the actual flowers. But I’m too cheap to buy fresh flowers weekly.

  4. I am a fan of modern, real-looking faux flowers. And is it just me, but I think all faux flowers from the 80’s only came in pale, dusty colors making them look dingy and faded even when they were new.

    I think it’s all in the presentation. If you arrange them in a simple way, like you just grabbed these tulips at the market and plopped them in a glass, it’s more believable that some huge sculptural centerpiece. That’s my 2 cents.

  5. I’m all about the fake flowers/plants, especially in places that are dead zones in my house (out on our deck and the bedrooms). I tend to use fake plants instead of fake flowers, since real flowers need to be changed out a lot, while a plant stays green forever. I also mix in a bunch of real plants in the living room and kitchen, so if you don’t look too closely, you might assume that all of my plants are real 🙂

    I admitted to using fakes on my deck in this post, but real plants just can’t survive the harsh sun and the neglect (I figure if they’re outside, then Mother Nature should be taking care of them – apparently she disagrees).

  6. ESPECIALLY in the winter, I’m all for fake flowers – done correctly, of course. And in places like your laundry room I LOVE fake flowers. I’m kind of pro real flowers for places like the dining room table though. Especially in summer. (and I love the boob job analogy. LOVE it!)

  7. Um, yeah, the only flowers you will find in my house are fake. I sort of hate real flowers: the pollen, the petals dropping off. I also never throw them away in time, so the water gets gross and that makes me avoid it more and the water gets grosser. So I’m down with the fakes. 🙂

  8. I think faux plants are just fine… especially in a home with pets that may or may not jump on your table, rip your herbs out of their pot, and drag the whole thing around the house.

    …not that that’s ever happened or anything… 😉

  9. Ewww, too funny though! I love those peonies, beautiful!!!

  10. I just can’t have nice things – real OR faux. My goof-ball cat thinks any flower is some exotic delicacy for him to nibble on.

  11. Ahhhh….I just don’t know. I used to have tons of fakes….ficus, ivy, whole arrangements tucked in corners….and they collected dust and were hideous to clean. Your peony though – gorgeous. I have seen some like that at Homegoods that look so real. So YES to bringing cheer to a home in the middle of winter. Not so fond of them front and center where you can tell they’re fake. Great for blog photo styling, and for rooms that get 0% light like the laundry room!

  12. Love this post!
    The absolute worst is when people think that they can stick some fake flowers into their flower beds or planter boxes and think nobody will notice. Do you know what I’m talking about? I have to stop myself from not ringing their doorbell to tell them that it is killing me, LOL. Especially when the colors start fading from the sun 😉
    That said I have to admit to fake flowers myself because my cats eat anything that’s not an orchid and then they get upset stomachs. Last time I had to take my cat to the vet because he got so sick from my valentines roses. Not fun at all.
    Yours look real though. I would have never noticed.

  13. You are right on the money. There is definitely a right and a wrong way to do fake flowers or forever flowers as I like to call them.

    This January I even went so far as to fake it up out-doors in my planters next to my front door. I just get a crazy amount of sun right there.

    Love your peonies 🙂

  14. I think it totally depends on the look {and sometimes feel} of them. I could go either way on this debate!

  15. I personally would always choose real flowers over fake. Most fakes look just that. I do have one vase of fake roses but the only reason I have them is because they are high end and people mistake them for real all the time! xo Kristin

  16. You do fake so well … as do some other bloggers out there. I do do the fake thing but mine are looking more like that toupe than your pretty peonies. I think it’s time for me to get NEW fake flowers and get rid of the OLD ones …

    🙂 Linda

  17. Faux flowers are the only ones that stand a chance in my house and I like the other commenter’s suggestion of making them look like an effortless, natural arrangement!

  18. My mom has such a black thumb that she “plants” fake flowers OUTSIDE. In the dirt. Like they are real. It actually looks pretty good until she doesnt dig them up for winter and it snows on them. I say fake flowers are great if they are done tastefully. No bad 80’s dust-strocity.

  19. Total faux flower fan! I didn’t really think about it until I read your post, but I have a few impersonators in our home. I think they are fine as long as they look great. I don’t have much luck with the dollar store versions, but the better quality ones can totally pass the buck! I occasionally like to still get some fresh flowers just to change it up a bit, too! But seeing how hydrangeas are my fav and I apparently can’t grow more than one flower at a time… the faux ones are a girl’s best friend! 🙂

  20. i have only ever liked fake if they LOOK real. nowadays there are many that do look real. sadly, i think i need fake succulents as i appear to be killing even the hardiest of houseplants.

  21. Wow. Everyone likes faux flowers? I do not, at all. If you want ff, HGTV says to use organic , real but preserved twigs, and maybe some dried REAL flowers. Faux flowers were on hgtv for the 10 worst decorating no,no’s to do.( It was a couple years ago) They don’t smell pretty, and the get dusty. Sorry everyone. Do not like. Go to the grocery store and pick a bunch up for yourself. You will not be sorry. Worth the $8 or $10 .

  22. I formerly thought that they were disgusting but then I owned a store that needed flowers to fill a wall of glass vases. I couldn’t put water in these vases so I had to go fake. I couldn’t believe how great they looked and how far they’ve come along. I use them at home but only in places where nobody can get close enough to tell they’re fakers:)

  23. faux ones that look real are fine with me. where did you buy the ones you mentioned in this post?

  24. melissa pearce says:

    Hilarious! I laughed at each faker. I admit to loathing the fakes but i can’t keep real ones alive and your fakes look dang real. I was fooled by the peonies for sure. You may have converted me. I previously kept dried willow and such, but i like the pops of color. Where to get them?

  25. melissa pearce says:

    Btw, the place we’re in currently has so many fake flowers in it….that i didn’t realize the real plants among them needed watering. Black thumb strikes again!

  26. For me, it just depends on how good they look. If they look real, then I’m cool with it. I thought your peonies were real! Now, if only some of those Los Angelos housewives could achieve the same effect 😉

  27. Love the whole “what’s your take?” concept- great blog post idea!!

    I am all for fakes if they look real and are the new modern versions. The dated dusty rose ones (or weird unnatural colour ones) are not okay. Also- you can’t let them get all dusty and cobweb-y (totally a word). And I agree that they need to be done in simple ways that you would find real flowers- simply cut and in a simple vase. The elaborate arrangements are too much. I love the peonies in your laundry room- totally thought those were real!

    I am not okay with fakes in window boxes in front of your shed windows. A neighbour of ours has that and it is AWFUL.

  28. If they are the right kind of fake flowers, they are definitely the way to go! I used fake flowers for my wedding bouquets, and I love that I got to keep my bouquet looking just as perfect on my wedding day!

  29. Um, I know that man, and he is wondering what is wrong with his hair and getting a boob job in LA, because he was considering it until you crushed his dreams. THAT is why he has a desperate look on his face. Probably.

    I wish we could have more real stuff, but the cats eat it all and then they puke and then the plants die…and all in all, it’s not the greatest plan ever.

    Hilarious post. 🙂

  30. Loved this post, girlfriend! You crack me up! I’m all about some Milli Vanilli if you can pull it off! I’ve used the fake-boobies of flowers in many a project and they often totally look real! That being said, I love me some cheap fresh flowers from the grocery store! Lovin’ this post!!!!!! xo

  31. I feel like they are absolutely wonderful as long as they look realish…but never, never outside. There is an older lady down the street that buys Dollar Store flowers and plants them in the ground…it kills me!

  32. Ok, here’s my take: I use both fresh flowers AND faux flowers… depends on where and when. For rooms we don’t use all that often, I’ll opt for the faux. But in my kitchen/family room/Mom Cave, I pick up cheap flowers at WalMart. They make me smile. But there’s definitely a place for faux, esp these days — they’ve come a looooonnnng way, baby.
    xo Heidi

  33. Big fan of the faux. If money grew on trees I’d totally hate the fake but it doesn’t. So I love them.

  34. Well, I shouldn’t talk on this subject…I have a post coming up with a felt fern I made. Yes…felt. I love it. But, I can’t grow plants indoors…at all. So faux it is. And I don’t even try to make them pretty :). Tacky is a-okay. Okay, that’s a lie. It’s either obviously tacky…or it better be darn good-looking!

  35. I agree, the faux floral industry has improved in recent years, making fake flowers appear more lifelike. I used fake peonies to decorate our wedding ceremony space. I created two topiaries for the fireplace we were married in front of and pomanders as aisle decorations. They looked good.

    I will say I’m a sucker for the floral clearance section at our nearby Kroger. If I’m shooting something blog related I’ll pick up some $.50 tulips.

  36. This post reminded me of my grandma. She used to put fake flowers in her concrete urns on her front porch all the time…cracked me up (sorry grandma!). After reading the comments, I feel better about using faux flowers. I had steered clear of them because I thought they were a no-no and because my cats bother them but some of them look so real these days! Don’t worry though, as much as I love Dollar Tree, I will avoid their little old lady flowers. 🙂

  37. GREAT post! Absolutely needed a laugh this morning! I’m with you though… if they don’t look as fake as a bad toupee… and you can’t kill them… I think they’re ok!

  38. You know, I’m becoming more tolerant just because I love having flowers around and over the winter I just can’t justify the cost of buying fresh every week (Although I did splurge on some roses last weekend) Last summer I cut my own hydrangeas and I loved it so I’m thinking of planting a cutting garden this spring. I’ll probably supplement with either dried or faux in the winter though.

  39. I don’t know what I think about this topic! On one hand, I think there’s no way that fake flowers can replace real flowers. On the other hand, real flowers just don’t come into my house very often. So… fake flowers are, perhaps, better than now flowers at all?

  40. Of course I love fresh flowers in my home. If I could afford it I would have a new bouquet at least each week. But, it’s not in the budget most of the time. The new faux flowers are so much nicer than their 80’s counterparts. And if you put them out for a short time (instead of leaving them out indefinitely, until they’re coated in dust) then switch them up, it doesn’t seem bad to me. Your peonies are gorgeous!

  41. strangevista says:

    Only if it is obvious they are fake. Not in quality (although mebbe), but in how they are displayed. Not ironically either.

  42. Go Faux! I’ll be honest, in theory I’m anti-fake flowers, but life, budgets, time, and other factors just don’t allow for bouquets of fresh flowers throughout my house! (Maybe when I hit the lottery…) There are lots of nice-looking options around now, and they don’t include tons of baby’s breath or other 80’s holdovers. And I agree with others who mix it up with real and fake… Keeps ’em guessing :0)

  43. I think yours are great. Where do you get them? I’m all for fakey fake…I only care about keeping my kid and dog alive!

  44. Oh I totally love fake flowers! I can’t have real flowers around because they absolutely kill my allergies. Sometimes I buy the nice expensive ones that you have to touch to tell they’re fake but I also buy the kitschy obviously fake ones for fun 🙂

  45. We have faux flowers here and there, too! I figure if the beautiful sign of flowers (or even shrubs from Ikea in our flower pots on the porch – mixed in with real) makes your home a happy home, bring em on!

  46. Fake is for sissies! Just kidding! I love fake flowers because i really do not have all the time in the world to remember to water real. And when I ask the kids to water, well…..we flood on Noah like levels. I think as long as they are a good fake then go for it. It is when we forget to buy new ones after a few years and they are dusty and gross,then we have moved into toupee land.

  47. OMG. This post is hilarious! I will come clean. I have fake flowers in two places in my house. I really hate the idea of fake flowers, but if done correctly, they can really add a much needed pop of color to a room. I kill everything I plant.

  48. I generally prefer preserved (boxwood, cypress, hydrangeas) to fake, but I have mixed convincing fakes with greenery to good effect I would never have a faux “arrangement,” but good potteds on the porch in spring, or a few stems in a vase can brighten up a room.

    My general answer to the expense of cut flowers is to buy inexpensive potted flowers, and display in boxes or cachepots. they’re usually cheaper than cut flowers, last much longer, and it’s not tragic when they finally die. At the moment, I have a tray of potted primroses that are completely adorable and cost about 2.50 a pot!

  49. I am totally in favor of faux flowers. I just struggled with this when decorating my coffee table, but in all honesty, I can’t afford to keep replacing fresh flowers! Faux flowers are a great alternative.
    xx Melissa

  50. I’m all for it! I never would’ve guessed yours were fake!!

  51. LOL, I am a former floral designer who still loves flowers and I have to agree sometimes faux is the way to go. I have both in my home, a fake orchid plant for sure, because it’s always in bloom!
    The past few years I have been going more natural, I will pick hydrangeas and display in a vase with water and let them dry naturally, then I can use them in new arrangements (like a basket)or in the same vase. They last for a few years before the colors fade and they become too brittle. Many other flowers can dry this way, roses for example,experiment and see what works.

    Of course I have to have real flowers too, I just pick what is growing outside in my garden, flowers or green leaves and grasses, branches of trees and shrubs. I have fresh flowers/greenery in the house from Spring through fall. Oh and a few green plants live with me all the time. You just need to choose wisely, pick the ones that are the hardiest , Philodendron for example.

    I found you via Pinterest and your Lamp post for No Wire! Brilliant ! Thanks for sharing that!

  52. I am not big on fakes but I do have some in my home. In fact I have one live house plant that was suffering so I added a few branches of a silk equivalent – I call it a hybrid. lol
    Go for it if you can make it work for you.

  53. Who on Earth can afford to always have fresh flowers all over their house (besides Oprah and Martha)? Fakes are fine AS LONG AS THEY’RE GOOD FAKES!!! Same goes for hair extensions, spray tans and boob jobs, I suppose. Tho what do I know? I only aspire to good fake flowers!

  54. Fake! All the way! I have such a “black thumb” and need the reminder of spring & summer in my home and office! We use fakes in all of our product photography at work because there is no way our budget could allow for fresh flowers all the time! I don’t agree with those saying they have to be high-end… I bought all of mine at the dollar store and you can absolutely not tell they are fake at first glance (or in photography). (BTW – Canadian Dollar Stores are way better than American!…don’t really know why)


  1. […] P.S.: Check out the other “What’s Your Take” posts and weigh in on jacobean fabrics, kilim rugs, brass/bronze and faux flowers.) […]

  2. […] P.S.: Check out the other “What’s Your Take” posts and weigh in on juju hats, kilim rugs, brass/bronze and faux flowers.) […]

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