We had a post not too long ago about “Hue”, which is what most of us mean when we say “color”: red, blue, purple, yellow, etc. (Have a look at the Blooms By The Box Flower Color Wheel!) You can combine different colors to really swing the mood of your arrangements from quiet, romantic and dreamy to dazzling, vibrant and energetic.
The other two components of color – value and saturation – can also greatly affect the tone of your flower design. “Value” means how light or dark a color is. “Saturation” is the intensity of a color.
Let’s use an example that will work for using wholesale flowers. Start with a true, rich pink:
Different “values” of this pink range from a dark, burgundy Black Magic Rose (lowest value) up to a light spring tulip (highest value).
Many flowers are available in different values of the same color. Here we have four different hues (yellow, orange, red, purple) of carnation, each in two different values. You might think of the darker values for a bright, exuberant effect, or the lighter values when creating a more “pastel” arrangement – maybe baby shower centerpieces.
Now let’s talk “saturation”. Returning to our base pink color, different levels of “saturation” range from the intense base color on the left, to a very subdued, dustier color on the right.
These variations happen in nature too – here’s a Gerbera Daisy and a pink Mini Calla Lily.
So, what does all this mean when you’re choosing flowers for an arrangement? First, it’s very subjective. You like what you like. One person’s “vibrant” could be another person’s “harsh”. It’s all about mood and balance.
Varying value – mixing lights and darks, even in different colors – will give your flower arrangements and bouquets depth and visual interest. Too much of the same value may leave your flower arrangement looking “flat”, with no particular focal point to move the eye around.
Highly saturated color, when mixed with less saturated blooms, also creates contrast. More subdued flowers will quiet the overall effect of the flower arrangement.
It’s all about finding the right balance that suits the design and the event. Going for soft and romantic? Look for more muted, less saturated flowers. You can still go darker to up the drama, or lighter to soften it more.
Want something more energetic and vital? Bright, saturated blossoms will lead the way.
You can certainly mix the elements for a unique look. But keep the balance of value and saturation in mind as you choose. If something looks “off” in your flower arrangement, even if you’re happy with the basic color combination, see if swapping out something more or less muted (but in the same hue), doesn’t do the trick. Or try more or less contrast with changing out a lighter pink for a darker one.
Experiment, experiment, experiment…don’t be afraid to try something new!