In Asian culture, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit. You wouldn’t know it given current events, but traditionally, years hallmarked by the animal are quiet and serene.
You’ll see lots of items commemorating the year in Asian markets.
In Western culture, the bunny has found a home in the Easter basket, but it’s also a token of spring’s arrival — of renewal, and of nature at its most benevolent.
Decorator and design blogger Lindsay Ballard of Austin, Texas, is a big fan of bunnies.
“They evoke a happy feeling, regardless of the time of year,” she says. Just don’t overuse the motif — letting them multiply, so to speak, can look overdone.
“I’ll use a rabbit in a tabletop vignette along with found objects and other vintage elements,” she says.
Ballard hits the after-Easter sales for new finds. “The key is to find pieces that will work year-round. You don’t want to use a rabbit carrying a pink and blue Easter egg in your everyday decor.”
She suggests hunting for neutral-colored examples and spray painting if necessary.
At its most charming, rabbit imagery is sweet and whimsical. But it also can look sophisticated and modern, and that versatility makes it a great trend to hop on if you’re looking for a few fresh spring updates.
Find white ceramic rabbits at Pottery Barn to use as display pieces or clever serveware, such as candy dishes, snack trays and similar items. There’s also a folk arty metal running rabbit mounted on a wood block. Carved wooden rabbits are popping up at several retailers, too.
Uttermost’s Leverette rabbit lamp, designed by Carolyn Kinder, adds some French Country flavor to the motif. Thomas Paul’s new bunny graphic, in lilac, rose or aqua, graces smart linen pillows and alpaca throws.
If you’re interested in more of a commitment, New York studio Grow House Grow offers the pretty Cottontail wallpaper. Designer Katie Deedy remembered a childhood road trip through south Georgia when she decided that fluffy-tailed bunnies must have sprung from the fields of white cotton. Her charming paper, offered in Powder, Sweet Pea and Tapioca colors, depicts bunnies popping out of the cotton sprigs.
For a spring tea party, consider Williams Sonoma’s wee, colored-glass bunny taper holders, and Lenox’s Butterfly Meadow bunny creamer and sugar bowl, both in dishwasher-safe porcelain. At Pottery Barn Kids, you’ll find tumblers printed with Beatrix Potter’s famous rabbits. While part of the retailer’s Easter collection, the glassware would be fun to use all year.
At Fawn & Forest, find Decoylab designer Maiko Kuzuniski’s playfully romping laser-cut rabbit bamboo wall clock, and Ross Menuez’s rabbit pillow for Fauna. The online store also carries several evocative works by Portland-based photographer Elizabeth Soule. Soule shoots tiny animal toys with a Polaroid camera that lends itself to unique colors and a vintage feel.
Of her little rabbit portrait, she says, “I found him in a toy store on a rainy afternoon; the paper behind him is vintage wallpaper. I love shopping antique stores on the hunt for old toys, trinkets, papers and fabrics.”
Sounds like a mellow, laid-back way to spend a day; perfect for the Year of the Rabbit.
www.potterybarn.com – ceramic bunnies, $29; running metal rabbit, $39; rabbit serveware, $9.50-$39;
www.livingwithlindsay.com – Lindsay Ballard’s decor blog;
www.fawnandforest.com – Decoylab laser-cut rabbit clock, $58; Ross Menuez Fauna rabbit pillow, $28-$104; Elizabeth Soule rabbit art, $58;
www.lenox.com – Butterfly Meadow bunny creamer, $19.95; sugar bowl, $24.95;
www.designpublic.com – Grow House Grow Cottontail wallpaper, $180 roll; Thomas Paul linen pillow, $80; alpaca blanket, $200;
www.williams-sonoma.com – glass bunny tapers, 4 for $19;
www.csnstores.com – Uttermost Leverette French Country rabbit lamp, $177;
www.pbkids.com – Beatrix Potter tumblers, 4 for $18.