Animal house: Decorative creatures big and small find a nest in your own home - The Buffalo News
print logo

Animal house: Decorative creatures big and small find a nest in your own home

This fall, people can shop for animal decor till the cows come home. And they will. Cows are just some of the creatures moving in to liven up our living spaces.

Cardboard moose head for your den? Billy goat accent pillow for your bedroom? Roll over, sweet pups. You’ve got company.

“We’re used to seeing dogs all the time. Now it’s all kinds of animals,” said Maria Jacobi, owner of Homeward Bound, 927 Elmwood Ave. “One line of pillows and rugs has elephants wearing Christmas hats and moose wearing duck boots.”

While animal-themed accessories can indeed be whimsical, they also can be quite statuesque and, especially this season, remarkably realistic.

Reflecting the current trend in fashion of wildlife portraits covering the fronts of T-shirts and sweaters, close-ups of barnyard, jungle and other animals can be found on decorative pillows, their likenesses often based on original photographs or paintings.

Wall-coverings from York and other manufacturers keep favorite animals nearby, while murals and wall accents offer other possibilities for decorative pet projects.

Some furniture legs even are modeled after the legs of animals. And one German company offers scenic photo covers for garage doors that look so real, passing cars will come to a halt. One design creates the illusion of an elephant sitting inside your garage. What will the Joneses say? This image and others can be found at

Of course, people have decorated with animal paintings, statuary and prints such as leopard spots and zebra stripes for a long time. And taxidermy as an art form dates way back.

But as interior designer Vern Yip, star of HGTV’s “Design Star” and “Bang for Your Buck,” further pointed out in a recent story for the Washington Post, there are just so many other options today. These include artistically interpreted wall mounts of rhinos, giraffes and other animals made of papier-mâché, resin, ceramic and wood – “molded, formed and carved to look like a more abstract version of the real thing.”

We’ve seen plenty of them. Pottery Barn Kids sells a stuffed ram head in polyester sherpa with corduroy horns to add a friendly touch of the wild to your child’s bedroom, for example. And laser-cut cardboard rhino, deer, bison and moose heads in white or brown from Cardboard Safari are popular – especially during the holidays, Jacobi said. Really now, who can resist hanging an ornament from a faux antler?

One of Yip’s tips for such wall art: “Choose to create a real focal wall by hanging one above your fireplace. Or, if you like the trend but don’t want to stare it in the face all the time, give your powder room a visual lift by injecting the adventure a white ceramic elephant head hanging above your toilet uniquely provides.”

People decorate with animals for many reasons. They may be drawn to the look or characteristics of a certain breed. A tropical bird or woodland creature may remind them of a favorite vacation getaway spot.

And, as Jacobi noted, it brings nature inside your home and enlivens a space in the same way decorating with plants and flowers can do.

Animal decor is widely available on websites and in the home accessories department at stores, but also in local shops including Zootique, the gift shop at the Buffalo Zoo. It’s right inside the main gate; you don’t need to go into the zoo and pay admission to come shop.

Here you’ll find home accents from around the world, such as hand-carved animals.

“They literally are one of a kind. They are all carved individually and people like the uniqueness – the fact they’re not mass produced,” said Jeff Blarr, Zootique general manager, noting that some of the items are hand-crafted in developing countries through programs that provide the artisans with a source of income.

People gravitate toward such items. “I think when people see an animal – whether it’s live or hand-carved – it brings comfort to a busy day. It adds warmth,” Blarr said.


There are no comments - be the first to comment