The Elephant In The Room: Taxidermy, Hides, and Ethics in Decorating

The Elephant In The Room: Taxidermy, Hides, and Ethics in Decorating

Keehnan Konyha
Oct 15, 2008

There's a quiet debate going on over at Mrs. Blandings and The House of Beauty and Culture: that of the presence of taxidermy and skins in decorating. A few months back, Grace brought up the issue of taxidermy specifically, and Mary's tiger on the wall in DC elicited some strong opinions in the comments.

We're curious about an item in particular; over the past several years we've noticed a resurgence in the use of animal skins in interior design, particularly the ubiquitous zebra-hide-under-the-coffee-table, and are curious to know how you feel about the practice.

Reading through the comments on Mrs. Blandings and HoBC, we were reminded of an afterward in David Snyder's book Epoustouflant: "A few of the interiors in this book display skins of wild animals. I use only old skins, found by me in antique stores. I find the current illegal hunting of endangered species unconscionable, and I will not use any new skins in my collections."

As meat-eaters, we're conflicted, and realize this is a sensitive issue. Does using vintage or faux skins justify the look? What if this isn't made clear to the intended audience? Are taste-makers setting a detrimental standard, or are hides and stuffed animals simply a classic decorating tool? What do you think?

All images via reader submissions to Domino Magazine

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