The late author and gardener Ruth Stout once wrote, "I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden."
After a grim winter, it's fun to anticipate the first flower buds popping up. But home furnishings stores are already bursting with blossoms. Floral motifs are everywhere – on furniture, textiles, wall art and accessories. And shelter magazines like Elle Decor are featuring eye-catching florals in their spring editions.
This season, you'll find small, dainty prints reminiscent of old country cottons, Asian-inspired designs and large-scale contemporary florals in bold hues.
For modern-style lovers, look at Garnet Hill's Snow & Graham sateen bedding in Hydrangea, Dogwood and Rose Garden prints. Pier 1's Liliana and Cadman chairs feature exuberant, happy florals in current hot colors like teal, berry, caramel and sage.
Chiasso's Bella collection for bed and bath showcases an oversized citron-and-white chrysanthemum on a tranquil gray background.
Contemporary florals in one or two tones – black or brown on white, for example – are an interesting alternative to the typical array of colors. Look for throw pillows and dishware to add an accent or two.
Two's Company's new Chelsea collection, in sweet small flower prints that look fresh and young, includes handmade paper trays in pink/purple and yellow/blue combinations, as well as a clever, printed, watering-can vase with glass liner. Garden Tea Party items include a stackable teapot-on-cup, and a teacup, saucer and spoon in patterns such as hibiscus, lily of the valley and cherry blossom.
Mackenzie-Childs introduced a large floral-themed collection this spring called Flower Market. Their designers created enamelware pitchers, tea kettles and picture frames, among other items, all beautifully painted with tiny posies.
At Kneen & Co., splurge on Nymphenburg's exquisite porcelain table flowers evoking blooms like cherry blossoms and carnations. Handmade from 250-year-old archival samples, table flowers were once favored over fresh blooms that could wilt during dinner parties.
Serena and Lily have pretty pillows in Bloom and Gardenia, tinged with hues of heather, grass, blush and punch.
At Homegoods, find side tables hand-painted with a trailing vine and petals, and a slipper chair upholstered in crisp blue-and-white, Marimekko-style flowers.
Walltats and other wall decal retailers have several versions of flowering tree branches or spring garden silhouettes; some even have petals that tumble on an invisible (but surely warm and fragrant) spring breeze.