Create a Beautiful Floral Arrangement for Less than $30

This week’s challenge was a fun and quick pick-me-up to celebrate the change in seasons: create a fall floral arrangement, based on an inspiration photo, for under $30. This morning, after one of our “walking meetings,” Laura and I headed out to buy flowers then back to my condo to make our visions a reality.

Here are our inspiration photos. Laura’s is on top and mine on the bottom. Thanks @fleursdc and @southernladymag for these beautiful Instagram inspirations.

Dahlias are such a pretty fall flower and I loved both the ombre and the untypical fall colors in this bouquet. I’m not into orange, russet or maroon, so the pinks called to me. —Laura

I chose this rich bouquet with lots of vivid colors and greenery. It just feels deep and loose and yummy. I love the fruit in the photo and liked the idea of mixing produce into the flowers. —Marjie

We headed to Whole Foods to buy our supplies, but unfortunately they didn’t have the types of flowers we needed. Luckily, there’s a sweet florist in my Streeterville neighborhood, City Scents, that had an abundance of individual stems for sale. They even packaged them beautifully for us. I had to go back to Whole Foods for some bright pink flowers and fruit, but both Laura and I stayed under our $30 budget.

Back to my condo for the creative part—creating the arrangements. We spent maybe 15 minutes doing this, so not too much fussing. Here’s how we fared:


Marjie challenged me to this venture, and if she hadn’t, I definitely wouldn’t have tried to arrange my own flowers. I usually take a container to Green Inc. on Wells Street and ask them to put in an orchid plant and add some willow tendrils and moss to make it look nice (which they do!). So given my amateur status, I started with an arrangement that looked doable without as many components as Marjie’s much more complex inspo. The arrangement was pretty straight forward, but I do wish I’d had a few more blossoms. The inspo bouquet was lusher, but hey, when a girl’s got a budget compromises must be made! Still, I’m happy with the end result. I did trim the dark purple a little (Marjie’s good suggestion) after we took this photo, and I love how the arrangement ended up being structured and kinda pro looking, without a lot of fuss. I will definitely visit City Scents again for flowers when I see something on IG that I want to replicate.


I used different flowers than those in my inspiration bouquet because I wanted to keep with the color scheme and there weren’t many pink and purple blooms available. I’m not sure if sweet peas and tulips are really fall flowers, but at least my color pallet is kinda on point. I loved working with the seeded eucalyptus (the droopy greens) to copy the loose and organic feel of the original. And I even added some grapes to my mix. I had the idea to use some red radishes too, but I ran out of room. One thing to consider is the width of your vase. If you want to pack it full of stuff, wider is better, but if you want a more spare look, like Laura’s chic bouquet, a narrower neck gives more support. Anyway, I love my end result. It’s so much more interesting than buying a pre-made bouquet at the grocery store—and I feel very proud of my effort.


We’re all spending a lot of time indoors, so it’s really worth it to make that space as nice as possible. And if you do have a little extra time, or just need a break from zoom meetings and in-home schooling, taking time for a tactile project is so rewarding. Unlike many of our pandemic projects — we’re looking at you half-knit sweater and sourdough starter — your flowers will be beautiful, done in a reasonable amount of time and are the perfect way to brighten someone else’s day. Chatting with the florist, she mentioned that they were very busy. She attributed it to people needing to express their love right now. And we thought we were just getting crafty with some flowers, who knew it was so much more!

We can’t compete with the pros, but we can add a little oomph to our bouquets. Another Style Challenge complete!

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