Decorating with birds may seem like a modern trend, but the use of avian motifs dates back to prehistoric times. Here, we have gathered historical snippets of the use of our avian friends in home decorating — from tapestries and wallpaper to lamps and bird cages.

We present some of our favorite bird-themed options at Sturbridge Yankee Workshop — so you can feature our fine feathered friends inside your home and out. 

Cardinal Bracket
Iron Bird Bed

Going Back in Time

Bird motifs on pottery, tapestries and paper were popular in the 17th century. Ornate designs focused on life and emphasized imagery with exaggerated whimsical features, soft colors and bucolic scenes. Flowers, vines and swirling shapes were popularized on wallpaper and tapestries used at this time. Our Garden Birds Lace Tabletop Accents feature a form of this whimsical imagery, with trailing vines and delicate lace, creating a soft, inviting appeal.

Cottage Hummingbird Weather Vane
Bird Lace Table Topper Terracotta Bird Rain Gauge

Moving Into the Victorian Age

By the time the Victorian Age arrived, bird cages, or aviaries — larger cages allowing for free-flight — were becoming common household items for wealthy individuals and families. Birdcages were viewed as exotic and difficult to obtain, so owning a birdcage, especially one with birds on display, was a way to enhance one's status. Our Metal Birdcage Tealight Holder and Vintage Bird Prints hark back to this era in our history and would fit in well with Victorian or cottage decor.

Metal Birdcage Tealight Holder Vintage Bird Prints

Bird Nest Jute Braided Placemat Ceramic Personalized Plaque With Birds Design

Jumping Forward to Modern Times

In the 1970's, owls became increasingly popular, along with bold color and macrame. Today, owls are just as trendy, offering folk art, woodland and natural appeal for home decorators. Birds are often featured in many home accents, in items such as pillows, chair pads, lamps, night lights and more. The focus is often on a realistic look, using popular textiles like burlap and woven cotton with colorful screen printed imagery that works well with various styles.

Ornamental Birds Wind Chime
Hummingbird Sky Indoor/Outdoor Pillow Bird Songs Wall Clock