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I grew up in a suburb of Memphis, Tenn., — not necessarily in the country, but nowhere near the city. And both of my parents were born and raised in Kentucky out near bales of hay and chickens. The decor of my house growing up could best be defined as A Product of The Eighties, meaning tons of teal and pink and decorative borders everywhere. And my mom liked to hang baskets and farm equipment from the ceiling in the kitchen:


I’m sorry you had to be exposed to that photograph. If it makes you feel any better, I had to LIVE IN that photograph. You’ll be happy to know I’ve discovered hair product since then. And no longer hike my shorts up to my armpits.

One of my mother’s favorite things to add to a shelf or tabletop was a ceramic rooster. Or maybe a pig made out of solid iron. Even now her kitchen and living room are teeming with them, and to poke fun I will occasionally pretend that one has jumped off the mantel and is strangling me. She won’t admit to finding this funny. She also won’t admit how many times she has flashed an inappropriate hand gesture my way.

Sometimes her animal-themed decor will branch out beyond farm animals, but only rarely. As in the case of this brown bear toilet paper holder:


The tone of this may have you thinking that I don’t like decorating with anything animal-related. And that is not at all what I’m saying. I happen to think farm animals ring a bit country, and if that is your taste, then you go right ahead and break out your favorite cross stitch of bow-tie wearing chickens. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a festive farm animal dressed like a tap dancer.

I’m kidding, country designers! Sort of.

I have personally tried to mix it up a bit, and in just about every corner of my house you’ll see some sort of animal figurine or print of an exotic bird. In fact, I think designers have really stepped it up in recent years in terms of animal-themed decor to the point that you could fill a room with everything “animal” and not look like someone’s crazy Aunt Maureen who got a little carried away in the gift shop at the Miami airport.

I did a little looking around and collected examples of things I’d use if redesigning a room in my own home. Some of it is eclectic, some a bit whimsical, some really elegant. Some of it is even traditional. But sorry, Mom, the ceramic rooster didn’t make the cut.

See the slide show here.
See a list of individual items here.


Design Inspiration

69 Responses

  1. ShutUpButton says:

    What? This isn't What Not to Wear. This is Gil should stop reading and move on.

  2. ShutUpButton says:

    I actually find that Bear TP holder cute. It wouldn't live in my house, but it's cute. Jus' sayin'.
    The wallpaper though? Ye Gods! That is one hell of a pattern.

  3. ShutUpButton says:

    I suspect it's something like, if you love animals and want to include them in your decor, without your home looking like Heather's house, circa 1980s, here is another option of aesthetically pleasing decor that doesn't include Bear Jamboree or taxidermy.

    The article reads like friends sharing design ideas, rather than a professional delivering the Word of Design Gods. I suppose everyone has their own way of deciphering context – which makes Design Happens so great, since there are other bloggers that may appeal to your own writing style/aesthetic.


  4. LynnCoggin says:

    As I was reading this blog yesterday, I started to look around my kitchen…yikes! I wrote about it in my blog. Look at my kitchen pictures… <a href="http://www.cocobunga.com” target=”_blank”>www.cocobunga.com …thanks for the inspiration HGTV and dooce…it's time to have a yard sale.

    Living the Dream!

  5. LynnCoggin says:

    As I was reading this blog yesterday, I started to look around my kitchen…yikes! I wrote about it in my blog. Look at my kitchen pictures… <a href="http://www.cocobunga.com” target=”_blank”>www.cocobunga.com …thanks for the inspiration HGTV and dooce…it's time to have a yard sale.

    Living the Dream!

  6. Amanda says:

    Did you seriously just say that calling someone foul mouthed (although true) is degrading? That is a really, really poor choice of words. Heather Y.. you seem to have SOME good intention, but its sorta lost in your hero worship of a woman who has made a hefty living off of you.

    I have filled in my contact information because I do not hide behind an anonymous internet persona. (like you) You can see that for the last four years I have backed up what I say and believe. You may all pull out all the stops in your bullying and harassment, but dont think that you are making a difference in my life. You just reinforce my opinion of her followers!

    Maybe you should take your own advice… "Some truths are best left unspoken." What does that mean anyway? Wouldnt a statement apply to something.. oh, I dont know… serious? My opinion of Heather writing a 'decorating' blog is hardly one of those truths. Seems to me that you are another of her over the top fans who will defend her to the end, no matter what she does. EVEN when she is wrong. And guess what? I think she is wrong A LOT.

    Ok Go! Your turn to get all defensive and rude!

    Oh… and I just went back and re-read your comment, and it sorta made me sad. You seem a little obsessed with her!! So, please, dont contact me! I dont need a stalker. I am a busy Stay at Home Mom! (like you figured out when you stalked my blog)

    • HeatherY says:

      I was going to post the definition of degrade, but why argue semantics? I’m not obsessed with Heather, I don’t even know her. I was impressed by the civility on her community forum. I know she gets paid by my clicking around and reading her site – but I’d hardly call that making a hefty living off of me personally – and it’s free content for me.

      I’m not anonymous, I’m HeatherY. I used to have a blog, but I’m not currently blogging. I have no interest in bullying or harassing you, it’s a shame that I couldn’t make any difference in your life by pointing out how you come across to others. An example of a truth best left unspoken? You really can’t think of any? I suppose applying it to something serious may be more appropriate, though. How about “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”

      Whatever. I tried to be helpful. I believe you were being facetious when you said reading my comment made you sad. You come across as pretentious and condescending (notice I typed “come across” – I’m NOT calling you names). You see bullying and harassment where none applies. Then, when someone wonders what kind of person leaves these kinds of comments; they click over to your blog, they see your faith and think, “it figures”. It’s Christians like you that are giving us a bad rap.

      P.S. How does one “stalk” a public, linked-to blog? YOU linked, I clicked. I’m not contacting you – I’m responding here, not your place. If you read my comment, you would’ve realized I was suggesting PROTECTING yourself by NOT linking your blog to NEGATIVE comments – in ANY comment section, anywhere.

      Easter is coming. Lighten up.

  7. C&E says:

    I try to confine my animal collections to certain less public rooms, but I have to say it looks as if there is a Dalmatian population explosion going on in my office right now!

  8. We stayed in a condo last September to attend a festival… Essentially someone else's condo that they allowed the management to rent out when they weren't using it… At one point we went for a walk and passed by an interior designer's shop and that's when we coined the word "Moosify" — as in THAT was where you went when you needed to moosify your condo. Moose, bears, pine trees, cast iron — and presto! You've been MOOSIFIED!

  9. AidelK says:

    Hey Heather–great picks on the slide show, but nothing as fabulous as that bear toilet paper holder! Come on!

  10. notahater says:

    After seeing that wallpaper in photo it explains why your own home and the one you are doing of your sisters is so sterile looking, not that there is anything wrong with that

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