They may have been the plague upon many a Seventies home, depressingly gathering dust in the downstairs loo, but decades later, faux flowers are in full bloom again. This renaissance has less to do with dodgy decor nostalgia than it does modern manufacturing developments, which make it difficult to tell the best from the real deal (short of sniffing them, that is). Realistic texture, colour gradation and intricate attention to detail is key: tell-tale, tacky nylon is out, replaced by delicate, hand-dyed materials. High-quality faux flowers are often made from wax-coated silk or high-grade, plastic-based fabrics such as latex.
The joy of artificial flowers is that you can indulge your creative side, mixing and matching species that may not grow in the same season naturally. They are also pollen free, to the relief of allergy sufferers and pet owners (flowers including lilies and tulips can be poisonous to animals). Purists can save money by bulking out organic bouquets with “fauxliage” and you can have fun using it to decorate mirrors, bed frames and even yourself, rather than being confined to a vase. Like anything, you get what you pay for, but bear in mind that faux flowers will last for years with care. Keep them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to stop creamy petals from yellowing and clean them using a hairdryer on a gentle setting.
There is a huge range available but the quality varies. Check for signs of fraying (common among cheaper silk flowers) and, if your budget allows, choose brands that handcraft each stem individually, mimicking the beautiful spontaneity of nature. Ideally, malleable wire will run through the stems and leaves, allowing you to bend and style them into an artistic and realistic arrangements. Here is our pick of the faux bunch, all closely examined in person and displayed around our flat before recommendation so you can be sure to make an informed choice.