Ask a group of people what they think of taxidermy as home decor and you‚Äôll get a lot of opinions. Some folks might say it‚Äôs morbid, grotesque, and outdated to display dead animals on the walls of your home. Others will point out that stuffed specimens and trophies like heads, skulls, and horns are a way to show an appreciation for the beauty of nature and that they impart that ‚Äúrustic lodge‚ÄĚ feel that so many are fond of.
But is it time for the stuffed animal look to die off? Some interior designers seem to think so. Jonathan Adler calls it the one design trend he wishes would go away for good. ‚ÄúNot a fan,‚ÄĚ he told Popsugar. ‚ÄúIt makes me so sad. I think it makes people feel edgy, which I don‚Äôt understand. It‚Äôs just sad.‚ÄĚ
The design team at Havenly, an online interior design service agrees: ‚ÄúWe think taxidermy in interior design is a dying trend (pun intended?),‚ÄĚ a spokesperson tells CountryLiving.com. ‚ÄúThe idea of showing off dead, stuffed animals as trophies is a little unsettling in most interiors, and after a few years of over-saturation in dark bars and hipster apartments, we‚Äôre officially over this trend.‚ÄĚ
But as Kevin Kemper and Howard Hawkes, founders of the Palm Springs firm H3K Design, point out, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs possible to use taxidermy while still protecting the environment. Because of this‚ÄĒand because the appeal of taxidermy is so rustic‚ÄĒwe try to select antique pieces whenever possible instead of more recent ‚Äėtrophy kills.'‚ÄĚ
But if you‚Äôre a fan of the trend, there are a few factors to consider when purchasing taxidermy, most importantly the law. ‚ÄúBe sure it‚Äôs an established business that is well informed of the laws pertaining to buying and selling wildlife,‚ÄĚ George Dante, founder of Wildlife Preservations, told Fox News. ‚ÄúMany laws are very complicated and vary from state to state as well as federal. Breaking them can come with extremely high penalties.‚ÄĚ Plus, the news outlet reports, the really old stuffed animals (pre-1930s) could contain arsenic and mercury, as the toxic substances were once used for preservation and insecticides.
An environmentally friendly alternative that has been trending in recent years? Faux taxidermy‚ÄĒin a range of materials including wood, paper, and ceramics. Havenly likes adding faux busts to kids‚Äô rooms and nurseries for a playful (and perhaps less depressing) touch.
As for Kemper and Hawkes, they say the stuffed animal trend is moving away from deer and moose heads and toward winged creatures. ‚ÄúFeathers over fur,‚ÄĚ is how they describe the new look. ‚ÄúStuffed birds bring a touch of rustic grace and elegance to any space. But like a lot of decor, and especially with animals, less is more. We‚Äôre seeing more and more walls filled with birds; there‚Äôs a fine line between being inspired by nature, and feeling trapped in a Hitchcock movie.‚ÄĚ
Also on the horizon? Insect taxidermy. We‚Äôre talking butterflies, beetles, praying mantises, even moths. ‚ÄúAll can be used beautifully and, when displayed correctly, add a singular appeal to a space,‚ÄĚ Kemper and Hawkes explain. ‚ÄúLike most taxidermy, this is very client-specific‚ÄĒnot for those with an aversion to creepy crawlies!‚ÄĚ
What do you think? Should taxidermy go away for good, or is there still a place for stuffed animals and antlers in interior design?