How To Decorate With Trophy Animals

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Taxidermy is the practice of using the skin to reproduce a dead animal. The process requires the animal to first be skinned and then have that skin treated. Once this is done, a mold of the animal is constructed to lay the skin on. This process makes the animal look life like. There are various animals that are used in this art form including tigers, bears, fish, deer, moose, squirrels, birds, and reptiles. When talking about Taxidermy in the home, it is often unlikely that there will be a replication of a six foot bear hanging out in your living room. The more common type of animal decoration would be a mounted animal head, rug, or animal themed furniture. 

Is it acceptable?

The thought that comes to mind for many people when they think about taxidermy as a design option is the idea of a tasteless amount of stuffed animals and rugs overwhelming a space. The space you choose to decorate with taxidermy doesn't have to be tacky, and this design option can be tastefully done. The point is to use proper judgment with any design style and by doing so, a great look can be accomplished, even with taxidermy. 

For a Lodge or Cabin Style Home

A property in the mountains or wilderness is a perfect location to add some taxidermy designs. This is a space where you can be reminded of a hunting expedition or fishing trip by turning that prized fish or buck into art.   The other advantage is that most people expect this property to be decorated with an outdoor feel. Items like animal rugs and lamps are usually encouraged and also easily accessible.   

Ready for Planting


Finished Product


For the Average Home

This needs to be tackled a little differently than the vacation home. The idea with this living space is to be subtle and tasteful. Taxidermy is acceptable to have in the home, but it has to match the correct theme. A bird is a nice addition to a dark wood cabinet. Animal skin rugs are also very nice and can really tie a room together, but if a real animal skin rug is too much then there are many prints available. Another option is to have a taxidermy throw pillow for your couch. These are very common and easy to find, adding some much needed flair to a living space. The key with decorating with taxidermy is to not let it take over the space. 


  • Antler chandeliers can be a nice focal point to have in a living room. These types of chandeliers come in many different designs as well as sizes. There are also some smaller chandeliers that can be placed in smaller rooms.
  • There are different types of lamps that can be created with any animal you desire. Smaller animals' sometimes are a better fit for lamps, but it's just up to the homeowner and their taste.
  • Another idea is to cover your ordinary lamp with a lamp shade made out of animal hide. This gives a different feel and light to a room. 


  • Couches upholstered in animal skin can be nice, but if that is too much, there are other options to add to this style. Pillows can also be upholstered with animal skin in order to give a rugged accent to the room.
  • There are some very elaborate taxidermy chair designs that are out there. These should be used as a center piece of a living room or den. It will definitely be a talking point as well and set the mood for your space. Taxidermy dining chairs are typically hard to find, but there are regularly upholstered chairs that follow a similar theme.
  • A common coffee table design with taxidermy is to make a glass like aquarium table. Animals can be arranged inside the glass for viewing. A common scene that is found is birds mixed with grass and wood. Any piece of art can be placed in this table and there are very little rules when it comes to designing one.
  • Rugs seem to be the most acceptable taxidermy design choice and there are plenty to choose from. Bear prints and large feline prints are among the most popular.


  • Hanging or mounting animals on the wall is synonymous with taxidermy. If you are a hunter or fisherman, you can show what you caught by turning it into art. There are many places that will take the animal you caught and make it house ready.
  • Animals standing up right are quite common as well. The most common are birds, but there are also smaller animals that can give a flattering look to the room. You can place these pieces of art on shelves, mantels, and cabinets.

Designing with taxidermy does not have to remain solely in hunting lodges and mountain cabins. By choosing the right prints with the right pieces, even the average home can enjoy a bear skin rug or buck hung on the wall. 

Last Updated: July 23, 2012
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About Cooper Chavez Cooper Chavez is a contributing writer for where he draws from his extensive home improvement background. He is studying Communications at California State University, Northridge, and has taken an interest in do-it-yourself home and garden projects. He has spent many weekends installing appliances, renovating spaces, and landscaping gardens. allows Cooper to share his passion for home renovation with readers. Cooper grew up in Southern California with a love for every sport he could get his hands on. He tries to get outside every day and go for a lengthy run on roads or trails, and can often be found at the beach or the mountains on the weekends. Even though he's lived in a warm climate his entire life, one of Cooper's favorite seasons is the winter because of his love for skiing.    

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