Picking your flowers (and vase) _ When selecting your flowers, try to pick a few colors and shapes that will work well together. You can go with a monochromatic design (all one color) for a contemporary look, choose all warm colors for a strong happy statement, or mix every color you love for a natural feeling that will bring the outdoors indoors.
Western style arrangements typically consist of a free form assemblage of flowers in a container. In contrast, Ikebana is more of a disciplined form of art, governed by well_defined rules, principles and techniques. For example, certain precepts regulate elements like the light and the shadows. There is also what is known as the three points of balance _ shin_fuku_tai in Japanese _ which symbolize man, heaven and earth, respectively, and that have to be in harmonious equilibrium in order to give true life to an Ikebana flower arrangement. This and the fact that stems and branches are used in addition to flowers, are perhaps the most obvious differences with western_style flower arrangement.