Whimsical decor is not your average design style. This quaint and charming style has a playful quality to it, with delightful decor that makes you smile! Many whimsical spaces feel imaginative and youthful—whimsy at its very finest. And it’s one of those trending decor ideas that we’re anticipating will grow in popularity in the next year.
Is whimsical style a look you’re going for? We’re answering the top questions about whimsical decor and rounding up our favorite whimsical furniture and decor that you can shop!
What is whimsical decor?
Whimsical decor actually isn’t any one design style. Rather, it encompasses decor that is lighthearted, playful, and full of color and pattern. Creating a very charming look, it’s often associated with fairytales, as animals and woodland creatures are prominent motifs in whimsical decor. (In fact, you can see a lot of whimsical decor elements in our Disney Princess home designs!)
Whimsical decor often features carved elements or hand-painted finishes, which give furniture and decor a unique look. You’ll find ornate details, softer color palettes, and plenty of patterns in whimsical spaces. Overall, whimsical decor is playful and charming, with elements of amusement and curiosity that evoke a sense of delight.
Which interior design styles have whimsical elements?
Whimsical decor can be incorporated into just about any design scheme—whether through a small piece of art or a sculptural object, or in larger ways through statement furniture and light fixtures.
Whimsical decor is most often found in kid’s rooms, and is a great style for little ones who love animals, nature, or fairy tales! However, there are most certainly ways to give whimsical decor a more grown-up and mature spin.
In fact, there are a few specific styles that are more closely associated with whimsy, so if you’re looking to create a whimsical look, these are good styles to consider. Eclectic and bohemian styles are playful by nature—and as more relaxed styles, they naturally align with whimsical elements. Rustic and farmhouse styles also lend themselves quite well to whimsical decor, which often has a vintage feel. Specifically, shabby chic and cottagecore styles, with their rural, countryside inspiration, are great styles to embrace if you want to tap into a more whimsical look!
Where can I shop for whimsical furniture and decor?
You might be able to recognize whimsical decor when you see it—but where exactly can you shop for it? After all, not all brands offer whimsical decor, since it’s a more specialized decor style.
Your best bet for finding unique pieces of whimsical decor are flea markets, vintage stores, and antique shops. Vintage and antique furniture and decor tend to be more ornate, which fits in well with a whimsical vibe. However, there are also a few retailers and Modsy-curated brands that are great places to shop whimsical decor! Anthropologie, Pottery Barn Kids, Rifle Paper Co., Precita Home, and Antique Curiosities all have amazing whimsical pieces. Serena & Lily also has some good options if you want your whimsical space to lean a bit more formal.
How to Create a Whimsical Look
Want to bring some whimsical decor into your home’s design? Scroll down for 9 tips on adding a dash of whimsy to your home!
1. Incorporate Nature-Inspired Motifs
Prints, patterns, and sculptural elements involving trees, plants, and florals are all part of a whimsical space. Look for furniture and decor that incorporates nature into its form, like this tree wallpaper or a lamp with a base that’s shaped like a tree. Even the carved armoire, above, features a pattern that’s reminiscent of vines and flowers—quite a charming piece!
2. Add Animal Forms
Animal forms are often seen as youthful and unrefined—which makes them a great choice for a whimsical space. So, bring animal elements into your space—whether it’s a sculptural animal head hanging on the wall, framed animal art, or animals in playful settings, like as the base of a table or lamp! This is a great way to try out the animal art trend!
3. Use Carved Wood Furniture
Carved wood elements add an intricate touch to your space. Carved furniture tends to be more classic or traditional in style which can help ground your space in a more timeless look. But interesting carvings, like the deer armchairs pictured above, have both an intricate and totally whimsical look!
4. Layer in Vintage Decor
Vintage items like fine China, figurines, and other delicate antiques can add a sense of whimsy to your space. We love the look of a “gallery wall” full of mismatched vintage floral plates hung on the wall, a stack of antique books, or a vintage woven tapestry.
5. Look for Playful Forms
Unexpected furniture shapes bring a whimsical element to a space. The curved, rounded arms on these sofas are a great example, as are the two lamps in this space with their unique forms! They can add a lighthearted touch to a more serious space.
6. Incorporate Plenty of Patterns
Patterns in upholstery and rugs are a big part of whimsical decor. Floral patterns are a perfect choice, but other nature-inspired patterns (like the cloud wallpaper, above) add the perfect touch to a whimsical space. Many vintage-inspired rugs have a floral or folk-inspired patterning and are colorful, which adds a bit of playfulness to a room.
7. Embrace Natural Materials
Natural materials—like jute, rattan, wicker, and seagrass—are a great way to add a bit of an eclectic and layered touch to your space. Bonus points if these pieces also have poms or tassels as added ornament!
8. Add Delicate Details
Whimsical spaces tend to lean more feminine, so having furniture and decor with soft details is an important aspect to creating a whimsical design. We love sweet details like scalloped edges, Jenny Lind-style beds, bedroom canopies, and florals.
9. Get a Little Quirky
Whimsical design shouldn’t feel serious or stuffy. Instead, it should evoke a lighthearted playfulness that has a touch of the eclectic. So, embrace quirky accents to bring a bit of extra playfulness to your room’s design!
Designer Picks: Shop Our Favorite Whimsical Decor
Ready to shop for some whimsical decor and furniture pieces? Here are our designers’ top picks from the Modsy catalog.
Ready to add some whimsy to your home?