Truth be told, we’re pretty flower-obsessed. And with good reason: Nothing tops an amazing arrangement for adding color, beauty, and life to a room. (And the sweet fragrance is just the icing on the cake.) But when it comes to arranging flowers, let’s just say we’re not always… confident in our abilities. It’s easy to be intimidated when tasked with putting together a stunning centerpiece or a gift bouquet for a friend, but according to Kiana Underwood, author of the gorgeous new book Color Me Floral, everyone should give it a try. Yes, even us amateurs. “For me, floral design is as much about creating art as it is a business,” she says. Here, Underwood shares her top four tips for composing something beautiful — even if you’re a total newbie.

1. Go monochrome. While you might think that keeping your arrangement to a single color would be limiting, it’s quite the opposite — deciding to work within a specific spectrum forces you to be even more creative. “Even an arrangement that is [just] pink overall can have a wide variety of color variation, texture, and floral variety,” she says. Added bonus: Sticking to one shade guarantees that everything you pick works together.

2. Vary your textures. We all have a favorite flower (Underwood’s is ranunculus, for its wide variety of colors and whimsical stem shapes), but the best compositions keep things interesting with many different types of flora. “Purchasing the best possible variety of flowers that I can afford allows me to be more creative than if I have to work with a very limited variety,” says Underwood. “A variety of textures, sizes, and shapes will allow you the most latitude to create something wonderful.” Browse at a floral market or shop for inspiration, and see what you’re naturally drawn to!

3. Get creative with vessels. There’s more to arranging than just the flowers; put your own unique spin on your arrangement by repurposing beloved vessels from around your house. And don’t limit yourself to vases, either. “I’ve used scientific beakers, old wooden boxes, wine glasses… you name it, and I’ve probably put flowers in it,” Underwood says. Some of the most personality-packed arrangements make use of items you already have in your home.

4. Trust your instincts. “I am 110 percent for creativity and inspiration over any kind of ‘recipe,'” Underwood says. “Making an arrangement shouldn’t be stressful; it should be relaxing and enjoyable. Take your time, and create something that you enjoy looking at.” Let yourself get lost in the creative process of arranging, and stop when you like what you see — it’s that simple!

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(Photos via Nate Underwood)