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.
Colors are leaning toward monochromatic, for strong identity and style. Red and white are popular all year. Bright colors, like greens and oranges, will flow in the summer months. The Bohemian look, consisting of metals, browns, oranges and greens will emerge in the Fall. Combinations like "Khaki and Cream" are a good example of this Autumn vogue. Whites, creams, peaches and soft pinks remain, but bolder colors will come shining through. So, don't be afraid to try something different, just remember to keep it simple, elegant and unique.