Fuzzy chicks and cute bunnies are part of the pastel pantheon of Easter decor, and their charm helps define the look of the season.
But for those who prefer celebrating with a modern aesthetic, there are many attractive decor options that are a tad less cute and a tad more contemporary. Some reference Easter's traditional color palette in new ways, while others put a modern twist on the holiday's iconic elements.
Pottery Barn has realistic speckled and robin's eggs that would make pretty filler for tabletop bowls and vases. There are luster-finished glass eggs here, too, in soft yellow, pink and blue that would look smart on a gray or navy tablecloth or sleek lacquered console. Mercury-glass pillar candle holders are rendered in an interesting new shimmery pale blue. And there's an elegant silver-plated cake server embossed with a rabbit motif. (www.potterybarn.com )
Albany, Ore.-based designers Jason and Cara Hibbs hand draw, then screen print rabbit images on organic flour sack cotton tea towels. The charming result would make a great hostess gift. (www.etsy.com/shop/ohlittlerabbit )
Canadian textile artist Cristina Larsen crafts winsome stuffed felted bunnies and chicks in a rainbow of hues that have a terrific designer vibe.
"I use merino wool to make all my felt. I dye the colors and stitch every toy by hand," she says. While Larsen calls them "toys," they'd be equally at home as artsy Easter decor. (www.etsy.com/shop/textileplatypus )
The key to a modern Easter look is simple, according to Kevin Sharkey, executive creative director for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia: "It's about a controlled color palette."
Easter candies can be used to create a graphic tablescape. Fill plain glass cylinders or apothecary jars with single or multicolored jelly beans for a colorblock effect. Consider adding a pillar candle, or place a smaller plant or vase inside a bigger container and fill the spaces in between with confections.
"Buy a bunch of the same style chocolate rabbit in different sizes and arrange them going down the center of the table like a runner," Sharkey suggests.
Or fill a low tray with colorful Peeps, another classic Easter treat that happens to be one of Sharkey's favorites. Last year, he says, Stewart's daughter, Alexis, gave him "a gift box full of every color Peep they make. I brought it into the office and everyone was taking pictures of it because it was so cool to look at."
There are some other clever decorating ideas on Stewart's website for those with a slightly crafty hand, like studding wreaths and Styrofoam balls with dozens of pussy willow catkins.
Use eggs in interesting ways. You'll find instructions at marthastewart.com on how to make decorative eggs and wreaths that have a tailored look using muted paint and trims. Metallic paint and glitter-coated eggs amp up the wow factor. There are tips, too, on using eggshells and egg cups as vases for diminutive bouquets of Lily of the Valley or pansies.
At allyou.com, you can find instructions on turning eggshells into tiny votive holders, nestled in silver egg cups -- an elegant Easter dinner idea.
A range of fresh spring hues and clean, simple style elements will take your Easter decor from sweet to sublime.