At the top of my list for Living La Belle Vie are fresh flowers around the house. They are one of those small luxuries in life that just make everything better. I know I’m not alone in this. I mean, when was the last time you read one of those must-have/favorite things lists in a magazine or blog that didn’t include fresh flowers?

But fresh flowers don’t have to mean only deluxe bouquets or just peonies and ranunculus even if they are everyone and their cousins’ favorite flowers (including me).

Not at all. In fact, today I’d like to extol the virtues of the humble carnation because I think they get a bad rap and I’ve always been a root-for-the-underdog kind of person.

At some point everyone decided carnations were uncool and I admit I did too. But in the last year or so I’ve had a change of heart. I genuinely think they are beautiful.

And of course they are about as inexpensive as you can get. So if you’re not up for dropping a lot of dough for flowers, you won’t do better than a simple bouquet of carnations.

I think they look best in large bunches in single colors. And what about this idea for Christmas:

We had a small dinner party last week and I had zero time to think about a centerpiece so I just picked up some pale yellow carnations and blue hydrangeas when I was getting groceries for the party. I just put them in two separate pitchers and I thought they looked great with white dinnerware and blue napkins (which you can just barely see here):

Simple, quick and easy. Gotta love that. In case you’re wondering what was on the menu: cabernet sauvignon braised short ribs, potato puree and shredded brussels sprouts with caramelized shallots. (I don’t eat meat but almost all my friends are total carnivores. It’s cool. I’m not one of those you-can’t-eat-meat-around-me-vegetarians.)

One last thing about carnations – they last forever. A week later and look, they’re still going strong:

So, have I made any new converts?

You can see more from my Living La Belle Vie series here.

(Photos: 1.via Tumblr 2&3.via Pinterest as linked 4.Project Wedding 5.Martha Stewart Weddings 6.Oprah 7.Country Living 8&9.FROM THE RIGHT BANK)



Courtney C

I do like carnations and agree they get a bad rap. I don’t think it’s their fault either; I blame it on those grocery store florists dying them electric blue, coating them in glitter, and salt and peppering them amongst baby’s breath. Of course I also think baby’s breath can be nice…just not in cheesy grocery store fashion :)


Couldn’t agree more. Carnations are having a big of a moment right now because I really think people are giving them a second look. They are on my bi-weekly shopping list, I can tell you that.


yes it’s possible to do something beautiful w/ carnations. and they smell heavenly. but my hubby learned long ago never to buy them for me.

Sweet Freak

Well done, Ally! Considering that peonies and ranunculas are my favorites (dahlias too!), it’s great to see that carnations can be just as classy.


You are so right! People do hate on carnations but they look so great bunched together in the same color and are super affordable! I would definitely consider these a great option for wedding centerpieces. Especially maybe an ombre gradation of carnations along the table! Have a great day!!



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