Faux Can Be Fun In Design, But Go Natural When It Comes To Floral

Faux Can Be Fun In Design, But Go Natural When It Comes To Floral

By Carleton Varney - Special to the Daily News

Is this the world of the faux? Or to use the word of the moment, the fake?

Fake news may have captured the world's attention of late, but decorators have focused on the fake for centuries. Yes, we have fake flowers and fake diamonds and fake fur and fake grass carpets - and lots of other fake home decorations. There is fake wood flooring, fake marble, fake malachite. It never stops.

I still, however, prefer to “faux” to “fake,” at least as far as decorating terminology goes. I often use faux-painted marble walls in decorating projects. At The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, Va., for instance, I had columns in the Main Dining Room faux-painted in the vein of the green malachite versions in St. Petersburg’s Hermitage museum in Russia. I also am no stranger to using faux marble and faux wood grain, when the project demands it.

But fake flowers and plants in Palm Beach? Well, let’s just I am not a devotee.

If you don’t have a thumb green enough — or a garden of your own — to grow your own flowers, take heart! Palm Beach is filled with live plants that can be purchased during the season at the Saturday and Sunday greenmarkets and year-round at local florists and even Publix. Have you seen the grocery store’s selection of flowers and even orchids?

You don’t have to spend a fortune to bring the beauty of live plants into your home, although to say that all orchids are inexpensive would be misleading. Many of the colorful hanging varieties that are sold in the weekend green markets can be costly.

Still, my advice is to go for the live when it comes to plants. And that’s why I’m no fan of plastic and “silk” floral door wreaths. Whether for Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day or simply for year-round decoration, these artsy-crafty phenomena often are for sale at craft fairs around the country. Stay away from them. A live wreath during the winter holiday season says “welcome” in a much more authentic way. And my advice for other times of the year is to use a wreath of dried flowers, grains or herbs if you hear your door desperately calling you for decoration.

In the same vein, there are some fakes that I particularly dislike, both to the eyes and to the touch.

* Roll-out plastic grass: I sometimes see this used on garden terraces and as mats at front and back doors. That bright-green plastic is so anachronistic and in your face. Avoid it at all costs! Choose cocoa mats instead.

* Fake animal skin polyester blankets: There is nothing soft or warm about these accessories, and the print always looks cheap. No leopard would want those spots. Some faux-fur throws are super looking, however, and I’ve purchased a few in my day. The best source I know of is Adrienne Landau; check out her collections at AdrienneLandau.com.

* Fake rugs: With technological advances in synthetics, many people select acrylic carpets, often printed, for their homes and offices. Now, on very rare occasions I will select a wiry-looking shag or acrylic carpet for a project. But most of the time, the appearance of acrylic is too synthetic for my taste. Give me a natural-fiber carpet or rug any day.

And while I shall get some boos on this one, I do not suggest buying bed sheets made of synthetic fibers. Despite their no-iron advantages, I am strictly a believer in cotton, cotton and more cotton for bedding. Unless you have a really good reason, keep everything at home as real as possible, I say.


  • Jennifer Cole on

    Carlton, you’re the “real deal” yourself! ?

  • Tara lacayo on

    What a wonderful post! There’s nothing quite so lovely as a fresh bouquet of flowers! I love taking my children with me weekly to the flower shop to choose fresh flowers. Then we go home and arrange them together! And they usually last all week! Well said!

Leave a comment