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Design HappensGuest Blogger: Stephanie Alexander, Newsletter Editor

When it comes to most decorating motifs or themes, I tend to cast a wary eye. Most folks go completely overboard, and if they don’t, a thoughtful relative or friend will surely buy a new item for their collection for every major holiday or life event.

Take for instance, my friend Tess, who decided at one point she needed to add gilded Renaissance cherubs to her bathroom. Soon, she found herself awash in angelic tackiness, with every type of plastic seraph heralding its faux-gilded glory from every surface in her home. And poor Tess? She just couldn’t bring herself to say “enough, already!”

I tell you that story to tell you this one: Somewhat ironically, I am totally in love with this year’s bird motif. Our finely feathered friends seem to adorn everything from carpets to handbags, and frankly, I’m having a hard time choosing not only the perfect avian accessory, but also the appropriate room in which it will perch! Here are some of my faves:

Baby books with birds

As the working mom of a rambunctious toddler, I’ve never quite managed to sit down and scrapbook my son’s milestones — maybe I’ll be inspired by these two offerings. I love this twist on a traditional baby book — Baby’s First Keepsake Box ($19.95) — complete with retro drawings on the keepsake envelopes, reminding me of my own baby record book. For a more modern take, I like the simple freshness of Baby’s First Book ($65).

Ferm Living sparrow wall stickers and Anthropologie's bird armoire

If your personal design style includes plenty of flourishes and delicate detailing, check out Ferm Living’s Sparrow Wall Stickers ($120) or Anthropologie’s Bird-Cut Armoire ($1,898).

Bird tealight from Wisteria

Not quite ready to commit to a large piece of themed furniture? A smaller songbird accessory might be the perfect accent to a bare shelf or cocktail table. Wisteria’s Balancing Bird Tealight Holder ($19) will allow you to quietly display a sense of whimsy, without motif overload.

Enjoy! And if anyone questions your latest motif-of-the-moment obsession, just say a little birdie made you do it.

6 Responses

  1. I enjoyed your article, Stephanie. Bird motifs were a mini-trend that C.R. Laine Furniture highlighted in our Spring 2007 upholstery introductions, which have now made their way onto the retail floors across america. When used in a balanced decor design, the bird motif is very classic and lovely. Thank you for sharing this "motif of the moment" with your readers.

  2. mary finley says:

    I have had a long standing love for bird motifs, so for me it isn't anything new. I decorate with feathers too, such as turkey and pheasant. They are beautiful in a vase, or a flower arrangement. I even used some in the corners of some antique arrowhead arrangements for our family room wall. They go nicely with the 13 point buck we display in there.

  3. Sunny Gunn says:

    I currently have two rooms in my home that carry a subtle theme, each quite different, my home is a two story colonial with a foyer that seperates the living room that has a glassed in french door and the formal dining room, my living room has an African/Ethiopian them with two beautiful carved wooden mask from Africa, a detailed Cheeta picture, a family sword on one wall and another wall with an huge picture of an old crockery vase with filled with iris, one wall has a family painting of and old jug, powder horn and flask all the colors are subdued with the patina of years of age, the sofa and loveseat are contemporary in a soft camel chenille and a round bamboo and rope table, two lamps that are wooden that look like huge gourds with black, silver lined shades,draperies that are a soft terracotta with a camel bamboo design. The dining room is very different its a low key tuscan inspired room decorated in muted tones displaying crockery, wine, tuscan horses and greenery with a huge country table with a natural top and buttermilk finished legs and trim, that fits great with the black parsons chairs and victorian swag valances with black background subtle earth colored random flowers with braided trim and tassels incorporating all the colors. I simply let my friends and family know that I don't need or want any knick knacks and have far too much decorative items as it is, even though I have and use very little with the exception of potpourri.

  4. Maura Cote says:

    I wish I had a digital camera so I could visually share my love of birds! Unlike Stephanie's friend, Tess, my apartment is not ruled by birds. I've been feeding birds on my patio for eight years (grackles, sparrows, cardinals, finch, bluejays, crows and doves) and they are a never-ending source of entertainment from sunrise to just after sunset. I've collected a few antique, black, wrought iron bird cages and a small "flock" of beautiful handpainted clay birds from Mexico; all in beautiful earthtone colors with amazingly simple details. My larger bird friends stand next to my large ficus tree pots on the floor, and the rest are sparingly placed around my tiny living room. My favorite eye-resting spot is a large branch from a dead peach tree I had in my home for over ten years (wrapped in tiny white lights year 'round and decorated for each major holiday) hung curving out from the wall and tucked into a flat-backed twig basket, and I hung 4 small black wired basket birds I picked up a number of years ago at Ace Hardware Store at Christmas time for $2 each in the branches. The birds are very "Picasso" inspired in the simple, single line design. I absolutely love them! And yes, the branch is on the wall with its birdies year 'round! Once you start feeding and watching birds…..it's an addiction, nothing can beat nature and/or the real thing. I love my birds.

  5. Juliette says:

    I'm currently actually sick of the bird motif. I never thought I would say it, but 'enough already!' — every crafter has it on their things and it no longer looks cute and whimsical to me, just overdone. Sad.

    I wish this trend would move on. (and not to another creature — something new and fresh please!)

  6. Jolanda says:

    Good post I hope to use more of your information, time willing.

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