living inproducts

Living In Nature: Turkey Tail Mushrooms

by Erin Austen Abbott

Back in February, we went on our very first Design*Sponge team retreat. It was a wonderful few days full of ideas and getting to know everyone in person (since we work remotely with each other). We all live scattered around the country, and a couple out of the country, so it was a really great weekend together to say the least. We stayed at the beautiful Hasbrouck House in upstate New York which is so cozy, none of us wanted to leave. One afternoon, we all went on a walk through their nature trails and I noticed some mushrooms growing on a tree that had colors I had never seen in nature before. It had rings of light and dark grey, a thin line of gold or brass, a little ochre on a few pieces and was velvet to the touch. I took a small piece off of the fallen tree and brought it back to our next brainstorming session. I quickly identified it, with the help of a friend back home, as the Turkey Tail Mushroom. I was so drawn to the colors of its rings that it made me want to create a whole room around it. I found some great information on Turkey Tail mushrooms here, if you would like to learn more about their uses.

I still have the mushroom and look at it daily. My son and I collect a lot of found nature (leaves, rocks, bugs), so this is a nice addition to that collection. Follow below to see how I’d recreate the turkey tail mushroom into a room and check out some rooms that are already achieving this look. Enjoy! —Erin 

Image above: Taken on a walk through the woods of Upstate New York, at the Hashbrouck House. Photo by Erin Austen Abbott

Living In Nature on Design*Sponge

A beautiful room with light greyish-blue walls, with tones of light wood make it similar to the turkey tail mushroom. Found on Alvhem.

Living In Nature on Design*Sponge

A mix of rooms and products that makes us feel like we are living in turkey tail mushrooms. Clockwise from left to right: Tabarka Studio tiles, a dark and moody room with touches of ochre found on French By Design, Blu Dot’s bench in grey/green and puddy, light gray kitchen with brass fixtures on Alvhem.


Turkey tails in the wild, found on Totally Wild UK.

Living In Nature on Design*Sponge

More inspiration, clockwise from left to right: Nicole Franzen’s image of Jersey Ice Cream Co.’s design work, beautiful earrings by Hello Zephyr, a dark kitchen with bronze and wood features found on Heart Home Magazine and a grey linen hand painted notebook from Moglea.


Living In Nature on Design*Sponge

Blending all the colors of turkey tail mushrooms, Seattle architects  First Lamp built a beautiful home with serious curb appeal.

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    • I agree!! I just love the simple tones of the grays and blues, mixed with that gold. Glad you like it.

  • Yeah, just gonna echo the earlier comments – this is a beauuuuutiful and soul satisfying post. Love the natural inspiration point and that you pulled in texture within the color pallet (the wallpaper in image 4/5)!!

  • Turkey Tail can be an absolutely beautiful shelf fungi with admirable medicinal properties (you can make a very healthy tea from it). HOWEVER, there are other shelf fungi out there that look quite similar but aren’t edible/nutritious. Just thought I’d throw that out there in case anyone was wandering in the woods and looking for Turkey Tail specifically.

  • I love the concept of this post. The colors are gorgeous. I hope there are more “Living In Nature” style posts!