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You can let go of your pearls now. These blooms deserve a second look. 

Faux flowers have always managed to hover in the "decorating sins" aisle at craft stores. Slightly too cheesy, they seemed disgraceful in contrast to the natural splendor of a fresh flower arrangement. (Don’t get us wrong, there’s still nothing better!) But, fake is far more convenient and financially more efficient. And allergy-free. So it's fortunate that faux flowers have evolved and there are some varieties on the market that– we admit– can fool even flower experts. At some point over the past couple of years even you (yes, you) have spotted a nice arrangement. Maybe even a "plant." And you thought, that can’t be real, who could be caring for it? How could it be thriving in this dark office? How did they have time to pick up a fresh arrangement? But it seemed…real? With a keen eye and a few smart precautions, you can pick a bouquet of fake flowers that make for perfect, long-lasting fall décor. (That you can pull out of storage again and again.) Here are some parameters to avoid a faux flower faux pas. (Say that three times fast!)

Do your homework.

In order to pick out the best faux flowers, you need to know what the competition is. Make sure you know what the real version looks like—How big is the stem? Are there leaves? What’s a realistic size? What are the typical color options?

Think local.

Would this bloom be available realistically nearby? Is it in season? The number one tipoff that a flower is fake is it’s simply too good to be true. We’d all love to have the table set with peonies year-round, but sadly that doesn’t jive with the whole four-seasons-a-year thing. For fall, look for varieties like sunflowers, dahlias, and spider mums.

Examine closely.

Are there cringe-worthy details like fake water droplets? Go ahead and pass on those. Also, look for flowers that come on individual stems, you know, as they do in nature.

Go monochrome.

Another way to avoid suspicion is to pick a muted or monochromatic color palette. A bouquet of too-vibrant blooms from all over the rainbow tied up together is not only overwhelming but also an immediate tipoff that sorry, that arrangement is just too good (AKA bright, saturated, wildly colorful) to be true.

WATCH: The Symbolic Meanings Of Flowers

Arrange as you would a natural cut or plant.

Go ahead and gather the flowers in a vase or container. If the stems are odd or a little less realistic, be sure to hide them in an opaque vase. If using a clear container, fill with water (or craft “water”) as you would for cut flowers. When arranging, take some liberties in adjusting the flowers—open some blooms more than other and make sure they vary in size. Strict uniformity is not exactly nature’s “thing.”

Keep em’ fresh.

Dust them off (sorry, one more chore!) and move them around the house. If they sit too long in one area, they’ll start to lose their visual impact. And nothing blows the cover of a fake arrangement quicker than a layer of dust.

Head to the store.

To see for yourself, check out the silk, paper, plastic, and fabric flowers and plants at shops like Hobby Lobby, Target (the Smith and Hawken collection), Pier One, or online at Etsy