For a lot of folks, the idea of flowery wallpaper and upholstery still calls to mind Grandma’s living room—which might be precisely the reason floral prints are once again all the rage. “During Covid, we were looking for comfort, familiarity,” explains interior designer Victoria Sanchez. “What’s the most comforting thing? My grandmother’s house. My mother’s house, right?”
Whatever the case, the way to do florals now—in upbeat colors and patterns or juxtaposed with more streamlined decor—shows that comforting doesn’t have to mean old-fashioned.
Here are three ways to deploy the trend.
During the pandemic, DC wallpaper designer Kate Zaremba says she became convinced “that florals and patterns inspired by nature would take the lead” in interiors. So she recently dreamed up a new flower motif with a witty name: “Jeff Goldblooms.”
“I really wanted to create a new floral that played with the idea of dappled light,” she says of the pattern, shown here. (She also considered calling it “Fiona Dapple.”)
This bedroom suite, created for a show house in New England by DC designer Shawna Underwood, is full of tricks for making a traditional floral pattern feel surprising. She freshened up classic Schumacher wallpaper with trim painted moody charcoal gray and geometric still-lifes hung off-center “to give a little quirkiness.” Another thing about the art: “People can worry about the busyness of floral wallpaper,” says Underwood, “but if you balance it with artwork that has a wider mat, it breaks it up.” For the space’s centerpiece, the designer chose a simple West Elm bed, upholstered in an ochre-hued velvet by Kravet.
Glance quickly at this powder room in Chevy Chase and you might see only a bold floral print. “Then when you take a closer look,” says Kate Donahue of the design/build firm Four Brothers, “you say, ‘Is that a dragon?’ ” That bit of whimsy, coupled with the saturated palette, steers the Anthropologie pattern in a contemporary direction. “It’s just kind of fun and funky,” says the architect, who designed the space as part of a larger remodel. The rest of the finishes—marble on the vanity and floor, classic subway tile on the lower half of the walls—let the floral print have the starring role.