Charming Woodland Decor
Let cuddly and strong forest creatures wander into your home with whimsical and sophisticated style by taking cues from these well-designed spaces.
Bunnies, deer and other forest creatures elicit oohs and comments like “So cute!” when you see them in natural settings.
But they also can bring a playful presence inside. Woodland-themed pieces can be youthful, without being gender-specific, and can add hints of childlike innocence, edgy adolescence, rustic modern or traditional farmhouse style to your home.
“Woodland themes can span into different genres of design because they have a classic element to them that can fit into any space,” says interior stylist Holly Conlan, who along with Gabriela Eisenhart owns design firm Wake + Loom.
Adorable animals like bunnies can bound into homes in a big way, by using wallpaper and art.
Designer Janie Wilburn introduced rabbits and other creatures to the decor of a renovated North Carolina farmhouse built in the 1880s, after she was inspired by the mountain setting and a bunny that crossed her path as she entered the property.
“It really inspired me to stay true to the woodland nature of the property in my design,” she says.
She covered the bathroom walls in a black-and-white wallpaper, from Lee Jofa, that was inspired by Hunt Slonem’s rabbit paintings. While the print is a bit edgy, other details, like painting the 8-foot ceiling pink, keep the room from skewing too modern in the traditional mountain house.
Wallpaper is one way to wow with a woodland theme; using fabric to connect to the outdoors or even the past is another. Wilburn was already looking for a woodland print in another bathroom when she saw ‘60s-era wallpaper featuring raccoons, rabbits and foxes being ripped out of a closet down the hall. She loved the retro look and wanted to find a way to connect to the home’s history, so she designed a custom-printed fabric based on the old wallpaper for the Roman shade and shower curtain.
“I use things that have meaning and have relevance,” says Wilburn, owner of The Jane Group. “I want things to feel special.”
Wilburn printed the shade fabric so that the fox could be centered on the design. The two shower curtain panels are mirror images, so that it looks like the foxes are coming together.
In nurseries and kids’ rooms, you can go beyond stuffed animals and use accessories and art representing cute creatures.
“It brings an innocence to spaces in a fun way,” Conlan says.
For example, Conlan situated a metal Jeff Koons balloon bunny figurine among other items on a child’s bedroom shelf. It is cute and quirky, but also has touches of sophistication.
“We loved this project, because we were able to let our whimsical side out,” Conlan says.
Beyond bathrooms and bedrooms, living spaces and even hallways can be just-right settings for woodland style. For a second-floor landing in the 2016 Cashiers Designer Showhouse, Wilburn arranged a deer head painting on the white paneled walls to engage people as they walked up the stairs. It wasn’t your traditional oil painting, but the style was more youthful and graphic, like the bunny wallpaper in the nearby bathroom.
She accessorized with an antique framed butterfly and wooden eggs in a basket underneath an antique console.
Wilburn was honoring the house’s pastoral farm setting, but wallpaper, fabric, art and accessories could bring a bit of woodland wonder into any home, no matter the location.