We’ll admit, we have a bit of a crush on Flower Girl’s Denise Porcaro. The stylish New Yorker opened her shop on the Lower East Side in 2004, and has been fashioning floral arrangements for the likes of Vogue, Chanel, Gap, and Coach ever since. And when it comes to decorating, Porcaro’s a pro. A background in film production design means she can craft a seriously stylish vignette, especially when it comes to prepping your bar for holiday entertaining. Set the scene for your next soirée by shopping Porcaro’s favorites below, and read on for her tips on all things flowers and décor.

Photo by Kelly Stuart, Instagram

Can you explain your design process when preparing your foyer or tablescape around the holidays?
I remain inspired by nature, therefore I usually gravitate to one or two elements or colors and spawn from there. It could be a cluster of candles and a few bud vases to a more elaborate display. I think it depends on the occasion, season, etc. I always try to add a little something unexpected to both my arrangements and design installs. I think it is also important to play on multi levels, so something on the tabletop itself is always a nice addition to finish everything off.

What is the best way to make a statement with florals?
I often say two things here with regards to making a statement with florals. Staying seasonal is key, you will have the most beautiful available if you are staying seasonal both when buying a vegetable or berry as well as your blooms! Also, if you are a novice flower arranger, a little can go a long way when not over-complicating an arrangement – sticking to one type of bloom and using a lot of the same and/or staying with one color is a good rule of thumb.

Photo by Kelly Stuart, Instagram

What are your go-to tips for designing a floral arrangement or centerpiece for your holiday-inspired tablescape?
I feel again, staying seasonal is key. I say pick a simple palette and stick with it. There is something to be said about intricate arrangements with many elements, but that doesn’t always make the best statement. Stay seasonal, stay simple.

What color tones and trends are you seeing rise to the top this upcoming holiday?
Winter whites and creamy tones are a favorite this year, this allows the color to come in elsewhere throughout the holidays, which are always present. I feel pops of metallic and adding sparkle is important when mixed with natural elements, and winter whites make for a very pretty tablescape whether here in New York where the snow is (hopefully!) falling, or if you are in Palm Springs, winter whites and neutrals can be refreshing and still read very holiday!

How do vases and other home décor items influence your arrangements?
When working with flowers or designing a tablescape, I either fully embrace the vase or want it to disappear and be all about the flowers and décor. The vases can help in creating height and a pop of color, if the vase itself allows, but most of the time I am looking for a versatile vase that works with many colors and seasonal varieties to be sure the flowers shine.

What current trends are keeping you inspired?
Funny enough, floral really had a moment recently in fashion, so although I don’t wear flowers too often, I appreciate them very much in fashion, especially bold, big, bright florals. I can always find a time and place for that in my wardrobe or even in wallpaper!

How did you get your start in design?
I had a film degree from college, so I have always had an eye for design, just using different mediums over the years, I feel that can be the case for many creatives. Specifically with regards to flower design, I was working in the film world but also held a job in the hospitality scene in New York, working in restaurants as a hostess, cocktail waitress, bartender, and taking it all in in my 20s as we do – one thing led to another, and I started doing flowers for one of the restaurants that I was working for, and then also worked under the person responsible for Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group’s blooms, and after some time, Flower Girl NYC was born.

Who were some early influences on your sense of style?
My mom, the 80s, NYC, my friends, people watching… I am a native New Yorker, so I don’t think it was one person specifically, but rather a combination of many people and things.

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