Birds In Decor: A History of the Popular Trend

Birds were popular in decor during several periods throughout history, and are just as popular today. Check out the trend’s roots and how it has evolved throughout the ages:

Early 17th Century

In the beginning of the 17th century, the Chinese started printing ornate designs fit with birds and flowers onto panels of rice paper. This type of pattern soon became wildly popular in Europe, where designers imitated the designs and classified it as chinoiserie.

Wallpaper from Guangzhou, China 1725-50
Wallpaper from Guangzhou, China 1725-50
Schumacher Fabric - Chinois Palaise - Tangerine
Schumacher Fabric – Chinois Palaise – Tangerine
Scalamandre Fabric - Birds Of A Feather - Cream with Pinks & Aqua 16362-001
Scalamandre Fabric – Birds Of A Feather – Cream with Pinks & Aqua
Clarke & Clarke Wallpaper - Indira - Charcoal
Clarke & Clarke Wallpaper – Indira – Charcoal

Victorian Era & Art Nouveau

The Victorian Era saw many technological developments, including a four color printing machine invented by Charles Harold Potter that could make 400 rolls of wallpaper per day.  This allowed for mass production of machine-made wallpaper and fabric patterns. In Charles Voysey, one of the most prominent pattern designers of the time and whose work was an inspiration for the Art Nouveau philosophy, created hundreds of pastel patterns with flattened shadows of birds for manufacturers. These became very common in Victorian homes.

"Birds and Berries" textile design by Charles Francis Annesley Voysey, 1897
“Birds and Berries” textile design by Charles Francis Annesley Voysey, 1897
"Birds & Tulips" textile designer by Charles Francis Annesley Voysey, 1896
“Birds & Tulips” textile designer by Charles Francis Annesley Voysey, 1896
Graham & Brown Wallpaper - Isabella - Blue
Graham & Brown Wallpaper Inspired by 18th century French document
Graham & Brown Wallpaper - Pendleton Damask
Graham & Brown Wallpaper – Pendleton Damask
York Wallpaper - Prescilla - TX5395
York Wallpaper – Prescilla – TX5395

1970’s

Macramé owls became a must-have decor item during the 1970s.  The L.A. Times Home magazine even featured a DIY owl wall-hanging kit in 1977, causing millions of people to purchase and hang them in their homes. Today, sleek playful versions of the owl are being used in wallpaper and home accessories.

Macrame Owl Bird Decor
Photo via LA Times
Cole & Son Wallpaper - Nottambule - Black & Bronze CS 97/5050
Cole & Son Wallpaper – Nottambule – Black & Bronze
Pindler & Pindler Fabric - Night Owl - Spring Pdl 3971-Spring
Pindler & Pindler Fabric – Night Owl – Spring
Lee Jofa Fabric - Owls & Fruits - Stone/Aqua
Lee Jofa Fabric – Owls & Fruits – Stone/Aqua

Today

Today birds are trending once again. Although all types of patterns that pull from the past are making a resurgence, more modern versions of bird fabric & wallpaper are available. Most bird patterns are paired with solid fabric or used as accent walls, allowing the design to be featured without overwhelming the room it is in.

Tres Tintas Flapatos Wallpaper
Modern way to use birds in decor
Tres Tintas Wallpaper - Flapatos - 3 1973-2
Tres Tintas Wallpaper – Flapatos – 3
Mulberry Wallpaper - Flying Ducks - Aqua FG066-J43 at DecoratorsBest
Mulberry Wallpaper – Flying Ducks – Aqua
Graham & Brown Wallpaper - Flamingo - Indigo/Pink
Graham & Brown Wallpaper – Flamingo – Indigo/Pink
Duralee Fabric - 20965 - 215 Multi
Duralee Fabric – 20965 – 215 Multi

For More Bird Decorating Ideas, Check Out These Articles:

Birds of a Feather

Woodland Fabric & Wallpaper

Soar With Your Decor

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Photo Sources:
Apartment Therapy
Los Angeles Times
artsandcraftsdesign.com
Pinterest
Tres Tintas

One thought on “Birds In Decor: A History of the Popular Trend

  1. Hi Boo, Love your New Post on Birds in Decor . So beautiful and interesting .Don’t know how you come up with all these Fascinating toptcs every day. Your blog is the first thing I check for in the morning. Thanks and Love Mutti

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