The Owl Trend
With its piercing eyes, the owl has long been a symbol of wisdom. Now, it’s conquering the domain of home décor. These days, owls can be found on an array of home accessories, from pillows to salt-and-pepper shakers.
While the owl trend emerged in late 2008, it has peaked in the past year, according to Laura Kellner, the product development, marketing and sales director at New York-based Kikkerland Design Inc. The company sells utilitarian gadgets with fun design, like the popular owl kitchen timer.
Kellner attributes the owl’s popularity to the feelings of nostalgia that the feathered friend summons, as well as its retro feel.
“I’ve always liked owls, but with the emergence of this trend, I have more options that feed my desire,” says Mackenzi Farquer, an interior designer. She owns SITE NYC, a store that sells what she calls “kitschy” but well-designed housewares in New York.
According to Farquer, the owl trend is the manifestation of the back-to-nature trend that has become increasingly prevalent in home décor. Birds, nature and woodland scenes started the trend, and the owl is a natural evolution of this movement.
“Owls can be dark, sinister and serious, all the way to being sweet, fluffy and cuddly. This diversity is why it appeals to people at any age,” Michelle Matsui says. Her Toronto, Ontario, company Kempton Jones, sells a line of plush art owls.
Laura Kainsinger is one of three owners of Mod Clay, Redondo Beach, Calif., which creates vintage ceramics. When her family started Mod Clay in November 2010, the first product they sold was an owl coin bank. Now, owl items make up 75 percent of their sales.
Kainsinger recommends adding only a few sprinklings of owl décor items to any particular room, because overloading the theme can make a room look too kitschy. The best way to introduce the versatile animal into a home is to incorporate functionality, she says. A few accents, such as an owl-shaped vase and a cookie jar, are enough.
Because they are often described as cute, Farquer says that they work especially well in children’s rooms and nurseries, where they can be introduced in a way that is gender-neutral.
The owl suits various aesthetics, such as cozy contemporary and mid-century styles. Farquer warns that owls may not work well for an ultra-modern home, but they mesh well with the current mix-and-match, color pop trend.
While the owl trend will inevitably wane in the next few years, people always have and will continue to love them.
“I’m sure this recent resurgence has cultivated a few more devotees, myself included,” Matsui says.