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With the right styling, florals for spring can be groundbreaking.

Doan Ly is a floral designer with a big following—more than 80,000 users on Instagram, to be exact. Ly has loved flowers her entire life but got her start working professionally with florals at a friend’s New York City plant store about 10 years ago. She has since taken up photography so she could share her artistic stylings with the world, which easily include some of the most playful yet ethereal still lifes on IG.

“Flowers make you a sensualist in a tiny way,” Ly says of her philosophy. “They’re not practical at all, [but] just [bring] a bit of joy to your environment, so in that way, they’re pure luxuries.” That’s why, when it comes to her arrangements, she thinks outside the box—or, well, the bouquet.

So just how do you make florals at home look fresh for 2019—and not like the flowers you got after your third-grade piano recital? Ly insists arrangements don’t have to be an extravagant, played-out headache. Read on for her best advice.

Keep it simple


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that little thing is a lemon plum! ( lemon plum lemon plum lemon plum )

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“Visually, the way I think—and the way I think about flowers and like to capture them—is very minimal,” Ly says. In her New York–based floral design company, a.p. bio (which she started about four years ago), she focuses on large arrangements and centerpieces for weddings and events. But for the home, she prefers to keep it minimal.

“Flowers should be super-simple in your home, especially if you’re living in New York City, where space is another luxury altogether,” notes Ly. “In interior design and architecture, florals are meant to add to the space, not take away from it. Just a hint of color is enough.” Especially in the spring, placing a single peony stem or two in a colorful vase can breathe life into an otherwise dull room. “Keep it simple and mono-botanical,” she says.

Don’t forget the bathroom


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feeling synopsis flowers

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Ly likes to bring an unexpected pop of color everywhere in the home but thinks there’s one place that needs more love. “Bathrooms are super-important and they often get overlooked, but [adding flowers] totally transforms a space and can turn a bathroom into a retreat,” she says.

You can use flowers as a unique accent on sinks, windowsills, or the back of the toilet—anywhere they’ll fit! Consider your nightly shower completely upgraded.

Pay attention to the vase


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new squad

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If you’re not used to working with flowers, Ly’s one piece of advice is simply: “Know the vase is so important.” That said, the key to pairing the perfect vessel with your flowers is about understanding height and proportion. “If your flowers are in a vase and they look suffocated or like they’re not breathing, the vase doesn’t fit,” she explains.

In general, Ly says to look for flowers that are twice the height of the container for a proportionally pleasing arrangement. “If you have a short, wide vase with a large opening, that’s going to require a lot of flowers to fill,” she notes. Be sure to pay attention to what the flowers are telling you after you arrange them—you might also have to cut them shorter or switch out vases to allow for the best shape of flowers to shine through.

You also don’t necessarily need a vase in the traditional sense of the word; you can use a glass. She loves to snag affordable vases and colored glassware at CB2 or a thrift store.

Think beyond the bouquet


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velveteen and a touch of green

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Since flowers only live about three days after they’re cut, you can also consider opting for foliage that would otherwise go unnoticed in the flower shop or your backyard instead. Ly says that adding just one whimsical stem or branch to a vase in your home, like quince, can make it look even more special.

She advises that through winter and spring you can find plenty of flowering branches and other unusual flora at farmers’ markets and grocery stores like Trader Joe’s. “Flowers can be so expensive, and it’s hard to get them year-round,” says Ly, but a potted orchid blooms for up to one month. “That is my go-to buy that ensures I always have flowers at home.”

See more floral ideas:

Meet the Flower Bandit Turning NYC Trash Cans Into Giant Bouquets

Floral Styling 101: How to Make an Asymmetrical Bouquet

Trend We Love: Graphic Floral Vases