Decorate Branches—How to Style and Let Them Shine in your Space


The emotional impact of quarantine is real and the aftermath of being cooped up inside for months has inspired a deep craving in all of us to be reconnected with nature. It’s probably why so many of us are gravitating towards finding and creating beauty at home right now, too. And while recent lockdowns make it harder for us to get out, there is a simple way we can bring the outside in: decorative branches.

If there’s one person who really catapulted this trend into popular culture it’s design phenom, Athena Calderone of EyeSwoon. The creative multi-hyphenate has become known for her decorative branches, clipping large-scale stems outside her home and arranging them in vintage vessels (another trend we’re seeing all over Instagram that was spearheaded by Calderone!).

“I just love to bring the outdoors in and always want to engage something seasonal and natural into my home,” explains Athena. “I also love the sculptural quality and slightly wild and unruly nature of branches in a refined space. I love that they offer verticality.” We couldn’t agree more.

So, who better to ask for tips on how to style decorative branches in vases at home than Calderone herself. Read on for her advice on what to consider when clipping, arranging and styling yours.

Three Things to Consider before Clipping Fresh Branches…

Shake them out in an attempt to get rid of critters. That said, you must embrace the possibility.

Use sharp clippers. It might seem simple enough but investing in secateurs or gardening shears is essential for clipping branches of this scale. Kitchen scissors just won’t cut it.

Be sure the branch is not poisonous—especially for animals. That said my husband broke out in hives once all over his body and we discovered weeks later it was from our Sumac branches!

Choose Your Branch…

It can be anything, truly, but look for movement and sculptural branches. Less is often more. Also, be mindful that the tree is alive so only take what you need.

Add H20 Then Let Them Dry…

I always add water initially but I usually allow them to dry out to see if they offer more or a different kind of beauty once dried.

Select Your Vessel…

Find something large and heavy to hold the weight. If you love the look of a vintage vessel, Etsy has a plethora but there are also affordable options online.

And Don’t Forget to…

Smash the bottom of the branch with a hammer. Apparently, it allows the branch to absorb more water and prolong life.

For more of Athena’s tips visit then start making your own at home with our favorite vases, decorative branches (or clippings from outside!), and garden accessories below…




This post was originally published on December 4, 2020, and has since been updated.

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