The Face-Print Decor Trend Is Still Going Strong—Here’s How to Bring It Home

updated Jun 17, 2019
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(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

Portraiture has always been big in interiors, probably because we’re all vain enough to want to see our faces in paint and photographs—and to put them on display. But these works used to be pretty much confined to the walls. Or maybe you’d find a piece on an easel or tabletop. And most of this “mugging” was photorealistic, that is, until, people like Picasso came in and totally changed the game with abstract, cubist likenesses in the early to mid-20th century.

Since then and especially as of late, designers and makers have been all about putting full faces on different types of decor, from vases and mugs to bedding and even bath mats. According to Etsy, on-site searches for “faces” are up 38 percent compared to 2017 (over the same period of time). So there you go. Most of the renderings I’m seeing are flat and linear, perhaps for their universality and nondescript qualities. Anyone can see themselves in a sketchy line drawing, right? But you can certainly find ceramics with facial features in relief and a creepy disembodied head or two serving as a planter.

(Image credit: Viv Yapp)

Why all the face time? Hard to say exactly. The popularity of emojis could have something to do with it. We’re so used to seeing facial expressions on our phones these days, maybe it was only a matter of time before they took over textiles, art prints, and more. There’s nothing really offensive about abstract face motifs, and most are rendered in a black-and-white color scheme, so they kind of go with everything. I guess all those eye motifs that were popular a year or two ago had to lead somewhere, right?

(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

Winky Embroidered Pillow, $39 from Urban Outfitters

I’m into the winky face pillow above. Or maybe I’m just obsessed with that tufted green velvet couch (from this Portland house tour) and would like anything that was put on top of it. But you have to admit: There’s something whimsical and lighthearted about a face throw pillow.

Credit: Wayfair

Jonathan Adler Muse Bowl, $38 from Wayfair

This porcelain votive is a Jonathan Adler classic. (And did you know you can find some of his things on Wayfair?) We love the somewhat trippy design, plus it can hold more than just candles—use it to keep your loose hair ties, makeup goodies, or rings in one place.

Hector Face Planter, $14 from Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters has all sorts of face and figure-themed pieces of decor. (Remember the boob decor trend?) This funky little planter is super playful and would look darling greeting guests on a front porch or back patio.

Credit: Etsy

Sometimes it’s the simple things that make us smile the most—like this cute handmade tray, which kids and adults alike will love. Set it on a vanity, desk top, bar cart, or wherever else you could use a bit of pep.

(Image credit: Minted)

Point of View Art Print by R Studio, starts at $31 from Minted

A simple print to hang on its own, maybe over a bar cart, or in a larger gallery wall arrangement.

(Image credit: Society6)

Wink/Pink Bath Mat by Summer Sun Home Art, starts at $28.99 from Society6

Why wouldn’t you want a pink winky face bath mat? It has a fuzzy microfiber feel and comes in two sizes.

Credit: Walmart

Your morning coffee just got legit. A more literal version of the face trend, this Apollo mug is a real one-of-a-kind find. When you spend your mornings with Apollo, you may just gain a little extra wisdom as you prep for the busy day ahead.

This post was originally published on September 26, 2018, and was last updated on June 17, 2019, to reflect current prices and offerings. Sarah Lyon also contributed to reporting.