News

Bird motifs are trending – here's why they're taking off this season

The traditional silhouette has had a modern makeover – and designers love its whimsical aesthetic

Bird motif printed wallpaper
(Image credit: Colefax and Fowler)

It is no surprise that bird motifs are trending this 2022. This creature represents freedom, optimism, and the ability to escape – all of which are (understandably) at the forefront of our minds this year. 

The bird's ageless symbolism has appeared everywhere – from early Biblical texts and Shakespearean plays to hand-painted Victorian wallpaper; this motif is certainly more than a fleeting feature. We caught up with some of our favorite experts to find out how to incorporate this whimsical interior design trend into your scheme. 

Bird motif printed wallpaper

(Image credit: Elizabeth by Travers)

'The resurgence of bird motifs for interiors are inspired by the desire for escape and healing that nature provided to us during the early days of the pandemic, and our desire to bring them indoors,' explains Allison Block, Travers Creative Director (who worked with Zimmer + Rohde to design the print above). 

The great outdoors may have brought comfort to many during the turbulence of the previous two years, but its creatures have never felt so sought after – and this season is the most appropriate time to reinvite nature back into your decorating ideas

Bird motif printed wallpaper

(Image credit: Colefax and Fowler)

'Whether exotic or not, bird patterns bring the idea of freedom and lightness,' adds Olivia Deruelle, the Design Director for Manuel Canovas. They designed the print above with Colefax and Fowler – and it's set to dominate our wallpaper ideas for a long time to come.

'[Birds] open up to an endless perspective and soothing sky background and suggest a wish of escape to the outside,' the designer adds.

How to style bird motifs in your home  

Bird motif printed wallpaper

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

1. Incorporate the motif into your fabric 

Perhaps the easiest way to style bird motifs in your scheme is through fabrics. These prints pair well alongside various color ideas – from neutral tones to organic hues that further emphasize the motif's relationship to nature. 

'Bird patterns blend in easily in a transitional decoration style, mixed with fresh and modern tones, natural or painted wood, and natural look fabrics like stonewashed linen,' Olivia suggests.

2. Whimsical window dressing

Bird motif printed wallpaper

(Image credit: 'Ellingham' by GP & J Baker)

In a similar way to printed fabric, bird motif window dressings remain a time-honored way to bring this motif into your scheme. We suggest beginning with GP & J Baker's Ellingham design (pictured above), which epitomizes this nineteenth-century statement with a contemporary twist. 

Ellingham from Baker Lifestyle is a pretty, romantic hand-painted design featuring herons, ducks, and water lilies with a sense of whimsy,' says Ann Grafton, the Creative and Managing Director at GP & J Baker. 'I believe that designs including delicate, painterly birds in stylized, naturalistic settings appeal to our current mood for a return to nature and relaxed, informal living.'

3. Invest in a symbolic statement piece  

Bird motif printed wallpaper

(Image credit: Kit Kemp / Firmdale Hotels)

Nobody knows how to curate a focal point quite like Kit Kemp. So, it is unsurprising that the designer has turned this motif into a striking statement piece – exhibited in her Rockin' Robin collection with Porta Romana (seen above). 

'We designed this collection during the lockdown, so in hindsight, it seems quite fitting that a Robin signifies hope and 'good things to come,' Kit shares in her blog. 'Each design has a branch-like frame, softened with organic twine, accompanied by a beautifully crafted funky robin and a glorious warm glowing egg. It's our way of bringing the outside in.'

This motif is ready to take flight into your living room, kitchen, and bedroom ideas, and the experts couldn't be happier.

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc’s homes titles, including Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. As a News Writer, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.