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.
Traditional flower designs do not make use of any accessories apart from the vase, but rather the focus is on the number and colours of the flowers. Oriental flower designs focus on the appearance of the arrangement, linear lines that emphasise the negative spaces and texture and form of the flowers. A modern flower arrangement includes the minimal use of bright flowers and more accessories. It does not follow the traditional outline of arranging flowers as the styling depends solely on the preferences of the designer.