Taxidermy decor, does it have a place in contemporary design? Yes of course or no way! Di and I tackled this question…
Yuck. Bleh. No thanks. I don’t even like the word. Maybe because it starts with tax, but…yea a dead animal hanging on a wall is so not my thing. I understand this decor style has been around for basically ever, but I just can’t get into it. I can’t look past what it is – a dead animal…over a couch…who thought that looked good?
I have a very dear friend who owns a hunting lodge outside of DC in central Maryland. It’s charming with all of it’s wood beams, enormous windows, sprawling decks, beautiful stone fireplaces…and roadkill on the walls. Even in this most perfect setting, a hunting lodge, I can’t handle stuffed game all over the place.
Trophy kills or not I think they are ‘too much.’ The unapologetic and in-your-face aggressive manliness is overwhelming and I think it negatively detracts from any space. No matter where I see one, I find taxidermy decor distracting. I know that pretty much any person of the opposite gender is going to disagree with me and because of that I accept their inclusion into a man cave, garage, men’s lounge or any other predominantly ‘man space.’ But, honestly, that’s it.
I feel like there are other ways to include the great outdoors, even wildlife, into your decor without propping up a permanently wide-eyed, once-living creature above your mantle. Animal prints, artistic white plaster animal heads, and even photographs or paintings of these beautiful creatures is a much more humane and casual way to include the look.
I can already imagine Amy’s adversity to hanging animal heads on a wall, but hear me out. First, let me say, I’m absolutely not about decorating with any animals that could become extinct or could possibly become extinct or endangered in any way. Read that sentence again before you judge me. I do not support trophy rooms filled with exotic animals that have been killed for their rarity.
I have a few samples of taxidermy decor in my own home, and all of them have a story and contribute to our family memories. By preserving them and bringing them into our house, we have, in a way, extended their life.
Our entry hall is a two story space that has spawned way too many decorating dilemmas in the 25+ years we’ve lived at 2028. Hanging Bucko on the wall helped corral the room in a natural and whimsical way. He was given to us by a friend of Jim’s who was closing his hunting camp where Jim spent time in his childhood. We “adopted” Bucko, had a family meeting concerning his name and decorated him for every holiday (including Easter where he sported bunny ears!)
Deer are prolific in our northern part of the world, and what would any house be with naturally shed horns lending their organic and sculptural shape to bookshelves, mantles and tablescapes. One of my favorite keepsakes was given to me by a wonderful friend from Key West. A brilliant blue butterfly encased in an acrylic cube perfectly captures the island and its history. We also have a 9’ marlin that our son caught on Christmas Eve in Cabo San Lucas when he was 16 years old.
There’s a few other examples around our house that lend their stories and help us remember that nature is beautiful and changing, but also ongoing and that it can be a cherished part of indoor life as well.
I actually almost wrote about Bucko! And despite my general dislike of taxidermy, I did really enjoy decorating him for every season (even hunting season, haha!) when I was growing up. So I see my mom’s point, this decor can be sentimental. And I’m sure for many it is. But I am standing by my argument – I just don’t like dead animals on walls, that’s all they will ever be to me. And I especially don’t like the marlin my brother caught in Cabo, oh good lord that thing is ugly!
Uhoh. I knew Amy would have strong opinions about this decorating possibility, and I completely get that not everyone wants a deer head hanging in their entry hall. Honestly, before we adopted Bucko, I would’ve agreed with her. Maybe it’s my love of animal prints (I consider them a neutral!) to warm up a room, but over the years I like to change things up with the unexpected. A cabinet of curiosities is not only intriguing, but brings so many layers and plenty of personality to a room. For some already-existing taxidermy finds — check out 1stdibs.com — I love that website! #notjustformancaves
So what are your thoughts on including taxidermy decor in your home? Yay or nay?