Steal This Decorating Idea From Your Grandparents’ Living Room

updated Sep 15, 2022
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Raise a hand if your grandparents’ home involved loads of dried flowers on every surface. Does thinking about it make you shudder? Before you totally repress the memory, know that this decorating idea was good for a reason, and here’s why you should give it a second look.

Take pampas grass, an ornamental grass that produces long, graceful stalks with feathery plumes and comes in golden and pink varieties. It’s organic and neutral, so it works particularly well in all the stripped-back minimalist settings we’re seeing these days. But, because it’s also kinda showy and sculptural, it adds a nice dose of relaxed drama (if that’s a thing). But, best of all, it is all about texture, texture, texture.

Here’s how to use them in fresh, modern ways, as spotted on Instagram.

Here, tall pampas grass fills an otherwise empty corner. Its verticality looks particularly nice with the low-set furniture.

Just a few stalks in a vase make a simple, stunning centerpiece that’s a nice alternative to traditional cut flowers.

How’s this for a vignette? The little bit of blush pink adds a nice little hint of color to a fairly monochromatic room.

Intrigued? You can buy dried pampas grass, ready for display, on Etsy. But if you grow pampas grass in your backyard, it’s easy enough to bring some inside to decorate.

Using a sharp blade (and while wearing some gloves to protect your hands), cut off two to three to five of the best-looking stems with the nicest plumage you can find. Then process as you would other flowers by removing any foliage near the base of the stems. Trim to your desired length.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Wrap the stems together with some wire, string, or a rubber band, then hang upside down in a cool, dry place for about three weeks. Some place out of the way, like a closet, is perfect. Tie them to a clothes hanger with some light string or dental floss.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Once your pampas grass is dry, it will be fairly fragile. To help preserve the pretty plumes, hit each stalk with a quick coat of floral protectant. Or, if you have hairspray on hand, that will work just fine too. This will help them hold up better as they get moved around and keep their colors from fading over time (especially if you’ve got the super lovely pink variety).

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Arrange in a vase or vessel, then style.

Rather skip the DIY? Pick some up pampas grass from Etsy, and all you have to figure out is where to display it.