Every year, trends seem to fall straight from the sky into our homes.
You’ll recall, several years back, the butterfly trend, soon joined by the dragonfly trend. The highly stylized winged insects appeared on everything from wall art to water glasses, from T-shirts to tattoos. Then the bird trend flocked stores.
And now: feathers. I spotted the feather trend while traveling a couple of weeks ago. I noticed a flurry of feather flourishes in fashions and furnishings. Then, flipping through the latest Elle Décor, I fell on a plume-filled page. Feathers were featured in jewelry, tableware, wall coverings, fabrics, apparel, china and pillow covers.
To confirm my suspicion that a new fad was in the air, I floated my feather findings by a top home-furnishing buyer. “It is true?” I asked Devin Kirk, vice president of merchandising for Jayson Home, an upscale retail store in Chicago, which also sells home furnishings online at jaysonhome.com.
“Oh, definitely,” he said. “While the feather is a classic motif that’s been around for centuries, they are definitely ramping up in a full-blown way.”
Among the new-for-fall feathered furnishings flying off the shelves at Jayson Home are framed feather prints, serving trays with imprinted feather images, and decorative throw pillows.
“We can’t keep them in stock,” Kirk says.
He has reason to believe this feather phase won’t go the way of the dragonfly.
“There is something chic about feathers,” Kirk said. “You can’t say that about dragonflies. They may be cool, but they’re not chic.”
“Why are feathers tickling our fancy just now?” I ask.
“The economy has made consumers feel pent up for a long time. They are ready for something a little exorbitant.”
“And feathers feel fancy,” I say. Cue the lightbulb.
“Feathers blend nature and glamour,” Kirk said. “The two worlds rarely collide. For some they represent flight and evoke feelings of lightness and freedom.”
Here are some ways Kirk says you can update your nest:
Feathers forward. Look for plumes this fall in wall decor, fabrics, dishes, jewelry, clothing, tableware, home accessories and more.
Soft touches. Try sticking feathers of the same type in a vase either alone or mixed with branches. Tack a few to a bulletin board. Fill a shadow box. Tuck them into a napkin ring, or top a gift by tying a feather on with a piece of raffia. For a little more commitment, cover a small bench or chair with feather-printed fabric, or paper an accent wall with a wall covering bearing a feather motif.
Feathers for every mood. Pheasant feathers say fall and are great around Thanksgiving. Ostrich feathers say fancy and peacock feathers say exotic. They come in hues bold and bright, in subtle tones of brown and taupe, and in high contrast black and white.
Where to buy. You can find feathers in bulk by the bag at craft stores or online. Steer clear of dyed feathers, says Kirk. Stick to ones in natural colors. “A skilled designer may be able to pull off a good look with dyed feathers, but for most it’s not a risk you want to take.”
Feather faux pas. A feather accent, such as a pillow adorned with feathers, is “a beautiful little ‘wow’ moment,” but too many feathery items can backfire, said Kirk. “Limit it. A little goes a long way.”