Oscar Mora, floral designer

Photo by Kathleen E. Bednarek

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Floral designer Oscar Mora offers tips on creating festive centerpieces for any occasion.

Use what you have: Raid your cabinets, but keep in mind that solid-color opaque objects tend to mix better than heavily patterned ones. When using clear containers, keep the look tidy by maintaining equal water levels or lining inside walls with thick tropical leaves, which last well underwater.

Plan ahead: Think about the purpose of the event and who the attendees will be. Will it be formal? Consider dark shades. Cheery? Try bright hues. If celebrating a particular person, try working in his or her favorite color.

Combine with care: A common mistake is to create chaos by using too many colors and textures. To ensure harmony, limit your range to three textures and four colors. Also, pick seasonal plants (they’ll last longer) that don’t have a strong smell—you don't want to overpower the food that's being served.