How to Make Cheap Flowers Look Expensive

In case your Valentine didn't have the best taste in bouquets.

Valentines flower arrangement in vase
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sometimes it seems like men run towards the flower stall, close their eyes, and indiscriminately seize whatever bouquet they touch first. But all is not lost on your cornucopia of artificially blue carnations and baby's breath. Eric Buterbaugh, chief floral designer of, is here to tell you how to turn your grab-bag blooms into fancy-looking flowers. 

Separate Them into Different Arrangements
"One variety of flower is always a stronger, more luxe look than several mixed varieties. You want to avoid the fruit salad sort of arrangement."

The Vase Makes a Big Difference
"You can always add to the impact of your arrangement by using a special vase. Simple flowers + a good vase is a lot more 'look.' I love wide glass bowls and delicate gold cups."

You Can Actually Toss the Stems
"Floating flower heads in a beautiful bowl is both luxe and elegant and ensures the flowers will last a long time. I create this look a lot for my clients who want to stretch one bouquet to decorate their whole home."

Try a Line-up of Bud Vases
"Line up simple bud vases filled with single stems down a dining room table. The look is very clean and sophisticated and is a great, chic way to stretch a bouquet."

Steal a Leaf Trick from Your Florist
"When using a clear vase, line the inside with leaves to create an elegant base while hiding the stems."

Add Succulents
"These hearty plants are the perfect way to bulk up your arrangement and add some textural interest."

Put Two Bouquets Together
"Pairing two sets of flowers in coordinating colors is the perfect way to create a lush-looking arrangement for a minimal spend. Pair a red rose with an orange rose and for just $50 flat you have a beautiful centerpiece of 24 blooms."

Use Filler, and in the Right Order
"Put greenery in the arrangement first and then fill in flowers in a balanced way all around. Great arranging is the best way to instantly upgrade your bouquet."

Do a Little Proportion Play
"Using a taller vase and pulling the flowers out wider will create a more grand, statement-making arrangement. Sunflowers are perfect for this because they have strong stems and fan out beautifully."

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Jessica Pels

As the editor of Cosmopolitan, Jess oversees the editorial for all of Cosmo's efforts across print, digital, video, and emerging platforms. Previously she served as the digital director of Marie Claire, where she tripled the readership, and she's held print and hybrid posts at Glamour and Teen Vogue. In 2013 she launched an interactive e-commerce platform for a fashion-tech startup, and in a former life she was a ballet dancer and NYU film student. She lives in Manhattan with her scruffy dog George.