One of my favorite things to do in spring is to spy on the birds that live in the canopy of the trees in my backyard. I enjoy watching them hop about the garden, gathering twigs or bits of grass to build their nests. But most of all, I love to watch them torment our cats. The kitties see themselves as fierce hunters, but the birds see them as pure sport, I think. As the cats skulk about the garden spying on their targets, the birds have a blast flying about, dive-bombing the poor cats until they retreat to the porch for a long nap. My fascination with these little winged creatures has inspired me to celebrate them through my interior décor. 

We’ve been loony over birds at Nell Hill’s for the past decade or so. But despite this long-running obsession, these flighty creatures never get old to me. Perhaps it’s because creative designers keep coming up with new ways to depict birds in home furnishings. This spring, give a nod to the birds by subtly working bird images into your décor. Here are a few suggestions to inspire you:

Tuck in a Figurine

Perch a bird figurine in one of your existing displays on a side table, in a bookcase or on your mantel.  Or create a dining room centerpiece that features a bird theme and uses two or three bird figurines in the presentation.

Get Excited About Nests and Eggs


One of my favorite ways to celebrate birds is to use nests and eggs in my spring decorating. Pool some speckled eggs in a bowl on your kitchen island, place little faux nests on top of each place setting when you entertain or create a bouquet out of fallen sticks and spring greens, resting a nest on one of the branches.

Brighten Your Walls with Bird Art

Create an interesting collage of art using dissimilar sized and styled pieces that each feature an image of birds. Hang a grid of matching bird-themed artwork. Or add a new piece of bird artwork to an existing display.

Feature Dishes the Feature Birds

Freshen the look of your everyday dining table by picking up a set of salad plates that feature birds. Set your table as usual, then top the dinner plates with the new bird plates and you’ve re-invented your dishes for a small investment. Or, just pick up one bird-themed plate and use it as artwork in a display. Prop it up on an easel and make it a backdrop for a small tableau.

Looking for something to spice up your coffee table or mantel? Try this idea. Prop a tray featuring a bird onto an easel, then pair it with a few catchy accessories. Simple and powerful.

I adore English footbaths because they can be used in myriad ways in your decorating. This lovely piece, with its delicate bird image, could be filled with moss balls or ferns for a quick centerpiece. I especially like the display above, with the footbath filled with rolled up pages from vintage books and magazines.

Make a Statement with an Aviary

I was thrilled when Victorian aviaries made a comeback a few years ago. These statement pieces turn heads when displayed on top of hutches, low bookcases and even in high places, like atop an armoire or on a ledge in a two-story entryway.

Feather Your Bed in Birds

This year at market, the designers showed lots of fabrics featuring birds. My favorites sported the classic look of toile.

The amazing team of bedding designers at Nell Hill’s Briarcliff got to work creating custom bedding ensembles that combined these new bird-themed fabrics with some of the other hot looks in textiles today, like ticking, plaid and paisley.

If you’d like to invite some birds to brighten up your bedding, add a few custom pillow shams made out of a fabric that features birds. Or, try a two-sided duvet cover, one side featuring a bird print and the other a complementary fabric in plaid or stripe.

Brighten Furniture with a Bird Pillow

Every season, I change out the accent pillows on my living room sofas and chairs. These bold and bright bird pillows would be a perfect addition to my spring pillow lineup. I was drawn to these fun pillows at market because they work well in just about any style home. Hunt for a fun accent pillow or two depicting birds, then toss them on your sofa or side chair this spring. I guarantee, it will make you smile every time you walk by.

Next Week … Ready to create an arresting spring display on your fireplace mantel? Come back next week, when I’ll show you how!

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26 Responses to “Flights of Fancy: Celebrating Birds in Your Decor”

  1. Peggy Dowdy Says:

    So love the bird things!

  2. Pinky Says:

    OH, I am SO ready for Spring!!!! I. too, adore birds and do use lots of them in my spring decorating! I ahve nests and eggs and votive holders etc., etc. I can’t wait to change my displays but WINTER is hanging on tight here in Pa. SOON…..I hope!!! Thanks for all the wonderful ideas. XO, Pinky

  3. Camille Overmeer Says:

    Thank you for your inspiring post on Birds! Having grown up in the Tropics, with many varieties of Birds, I really miss their chirpings and goings-on and nest building activities , as I now live in the cold of winter. Your post reminds us that we can decorate with Bird themed products, Thanks!

  4. Peg Says:

    I’ve never been to any of your stores but have read all your books. I think it needs to be a weekend getaway soon! Love the bird nests and eggs. Have you ever thought about opening a store in Wyoming?

  5. judi smith Says:

    Great job!

  6. Patti G Says:

    When I see bird’s nest, I think of you.
    And that, my friend, is a favorite past time -
    attmpting to be a MCG design copycat.
    Your blog – my heart’s delight.
    Happy (nearly) Spring!

  7. bonnief Says:

    Mary Carol,
    looking at your bird ideas, I just felt that I saw my first
    robin in the spring.
    Thanks so much

  8. Mary Syron Says:

    Mary Carol
    Is the white planter w/birds and gold feet available for purchase and if so, can you please provide me the price? Thanks very much.

  9. Heather Says:

    Have you seen “Put a Bird on It” from Portlandia? You can’t decorate with birds and not laugh a little at yourself while watching it. You can find it on YouTube, just search for “put a bird on it portlandia.”

  10. Alice J Molisani Says:

    I am in love with the Victorian avairie……why can’t I think of something as clever as this gathering of “wonderous finds”. Incidentally, instead of opening a store in the state of Wyoming, why not talk one of your associates into moving and open a store here in SE Michigan. I will be one of your best clients. Until that time, I will continue to read your wonderful Blogs.

  11. gretchen roberson Says:

    I love your blogs, so many great ideas! I have never been to your store but I have purchased many of your things at other stores in Overland Park. I love all of your things, I think that means I have great taste! My first purchase from you online was your pair of gold birds, I love the bird craze as well!!

  12. Ruxana Oosman Says:

    Fabulous ideas, as always! Thanks, Mary Carol.

  13. Charlotte Holt Says:

    To those ladies from other states:
    It would be well worth your time to gather several friends and drive down. Plan on spending an afternoon.There are several restaurants close by. There is so much to see. I go through each floor one direction and then turn around and go the other direction. If I didn’t I’d miss something.. Most of the furniture is in room settings. Accessories are everywhere.
    I always manage to find a vase, sofa pillow or a floral arrangement for my home.
    I’m one of the lucky ones. I live in south Kansas City, about 30 miles away.

  14. Carole Says:

    Better yet, just put these items on your online catalog, or, open a store in AL.
    Thanks!

  15. Carol Says:

    Is the black oval tray that features the bird scene available from your on line store? Or can I purchase it directly from your shop?

  16. Rosalie Says:

    Mary Carol,
    Can you PLEASE add your gorgeous bed linens to your on-line shop?! The duvets and pillow cases you’ve just shown here are incredible.

  17. JoAnn Says:

    Mary Carol,
    Love your weekly blog and the wonderful up-dates. Please do put some of the items on your on-line shop. The duvets and pillow cases are stunning.

  18. Donna Says:

    I, too, love the birds and all they are about. I collect old birdhouses.
    One of my favorite things to do is to make a nest of Easter grass (a bright color) outside and place wooden eggs in it. I then watch the birds carry the grass off to make nests. It is always fun to find a nest, when birds have left for the season, where they have used the colorful grass.

  19. Joan Roberts Says:

    Going to your shops, both in Atchison and Briar Cliff, is one of my favorite pastimes so I try to include some of my friends on each trip. Late last fall, I forwarded your blog to one of my friends in the Chicago area. She was planning a trip to Kansas before Christmas. She had a long list of wants to pick up at Nell
    Hill’s when she arrived. I would have loved to have taken her to your open house but the date didn’t fit into her schedule. Thanks for a great shopping trip, she found almost everything on her list.

  20. Grass Moss Pillow Says:

    [...] Flights of Fancy: Celebrating Birds in Your Decor This lovely piece, with its delicate bird image, could be filled with moss balls or ferns for a quick centerpiece. I especially like the display above, with the footbath filled with rolled up pages from vintage books and magazines. The duvets and pillow cases are stunning. Donna Says: February 24th, 2011 at 22:06 pm. I, too, love the birds and all they are about. I collect old birdhouses. One of my favorite things to do is to make a nest of Easter grass (a bright . [...]

  21. Mary Carol Says:

    The bird footbath is available for purchase Mary—$89.75. Call 877-746-4320 for more details.

  22. Jean Driskell Says:

    Mary Carol,

    Several of my friends and myself want to come to one of your stores and wondered if you could let me know when you are having special days! I think we are all more than ready for Spring.

    Jean Driskell

  23. Elli Davis Says:

    Lovely, I never thought birds exactly would help to create the ideal decor for this time of the year but well, I was wrong. This just screams spring! Thanks for the ideas, I think I will use some of them. Oh, and I love the pillows (in the first and third picture of beds), too.

  24. debbie Says:

    Are the bed linens all custom? I would love to make a trip to pick out something.

  25. Margie Says:

    I have been using birds in decorating for a few years but you have given me even more great ideas. I love your website and wish I could visit your stores but I’m not ready for a drive from the Chicago area. Thanks for all your creativity!

  26. Monserrate Rallis Says:

    I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you design this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz answer back as I’m looking to design my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. appreciate it

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