3 Quick Centerpieces with Grocery Store Flowers

3 Quick Centerpieces with Grocery Store Flowers

Today, on ASK THE DESIGNER, I would like to share a little bit of my floral design knowledge and teach you how to make a quick and easy centerpiece with pre-bundled grocery store bouquets. As the holidays approach; last minute dinners, parties and gatherings tend to pop up at last minute. Believe me, we have all been there. We go tearing out to the grocery store to make something out of nothing; and we grab a bouquet of fresh flowers hoping to make something pretty for the table. Please know that while you can simply buy a mixed bouquet at the store, take it home and plop it into a vase. This is not really the best possible design. Inevitably, you will end up with a vase arrangement that is all the same height and looks like the end of a trumpet, which is not very aesthetically pleasing. My first recommendation is to buy 2 or more of the same type of mixed bouquets. Since they are usually packed with only 1-2 stems of each type of flower, this will actually give you some numbers to work with as you design. Today, since I like a challenge, I will show you how to make 3 centerpieces out of 1 large size bouquet.Make sure you have the proper tools and a container. As a classically trained floral designer, I know how to create all types of centerpieces, such as Japanese style Ikebana, Flourish Renaissance, English Garden, and even Mid Century Modern Pave’.  All of these types can be created with a simple grocery store bouquet. Also, another tip is to the use sheers, these are very similar to pruning sheers which works just as well. I know several people that use scissors, and while they do work, the thick woodsy stems will ruin your scissors. I personally use a floral knife but I would not recommend that unless you know what you are doing, just use sheers.

Also, sheers will cut clean through the stem and not crush them.  This will help your flowers to live longer by not damaging the stems, and allowing them to drink water easily.   


So, the first arrangement I will show you is a simple vase arrangement. The easiest way is to start is with the greenery, or filler, it will create a grid work to hold your flowers in place. Next, you will want to strip all the leaves or foliage that will be below the water line. This preserves your water and keeps it clean, which cuts down on smelly water. Next, you will choose your filler flower. It is usually whatever you have the most of in the bouquet. Then, cut 1″-2″ off at a 45-degree angle and place directly into the the vase. The angle cut increases the surface area that the flower will be able to drink from, which helps them to live longer.  Placing them into water directly after the cut will start the siphoning effect to draw water up into the stems. In this case, you will notice that I started with the mums. Since I had a lot of them and they take up a lot of space. I had four stems of mums total. So, I cut 2″ off of 3 stems  and 1″ off the last stem and placed them into the middle to create hight. Continue adding in flowers, while saving your focal flowers for last.Focal flowers are what floral designer call money flowers. They usually cost the most and you want to feature them in the arrangement. Notice above how the 3 roses included  in the bouquet are prominently featured in this vase arrangement. Depending on your vase, you can always add a final touch of ribbon to dress it up. I used a very simple knot of ribbon to dress up this mason jar and give it some character. 



For this technique you will need a  Lomei Bowl (which you could always reuse from a previous arrangement) and Oasis aka floral frogs (which can not be used again but are available at craft stores). Make sure to soak your Oasis in water before starting. You can start by greening in the base of the bowl as seen above. 

Following the same rules as a vase arrangement. Add in filler flowers and then focal flowers until the oasis is covered. For this arrangement you will need to cut the stems to a similar length for a pave style round; or if you prefer more of a English garden, handpicked look, you can vary the hight of the stems like below. 

3. Multiple Minis:

My final centerpiece option is what I like to call multiple minis. This is where you line the table with multiple mini arrangements. I usually place candles in between to create ambiance.
For me this is by far the easiest method. You basically design with the flowers in your hand, creating a small hand held nosegay. Then you rubber band the base directly under the flower heads, as seen below. Then, cut the remaining stems off until they are short enough to fit in the mini vases, cups, or jars. For the minis below I used a plastic mint julep cup, perfect for the Derby.  Plus, the fact they are opec, they cover the ugly stems. 


Also, a fun holiday tip I love to use is spray painting your greenery. In this picture, I have sprayed my Seeded Eucalyptus gold.  This will add a bit of flair to any basic floral arrangement. Seeded Eucalyptus also dries very well, so be sure to keep you eyes open at my Christmas Home Tour and I bet you can spot some of these lovelies in my garlands, trees and centerpieces. 



  1. This post saved me for looking dumb about flowers when my inlays showed up with flowers and fruit basket. I actually felt like I was in charge of the situation. I would have mentioned where I saw these tips, but I cannot give away all my secrets.

  2. This is a great post, especially right before Thanksgiving, I image a bunch of people were goggling this just before their guest showed up.

  3. Thank you this was very helpful before my guests arrived for dinner. Great site by the way!

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