Allen Norwood

Moment for fake animal heads has passed

Interior designers say those fake animal heads are so last year. You know, those deer and antelope heads cast of white resin, that seem to be the default wall decoration in our homes and on our favorite TV shows. That décor trend has been way overdone, lots of them say, and needs to disappear.

Anna Stowe, president of the Charlotte chapter of the Interior Design Society, agrees.

“I even saw a fake unicorn head on a wall,” she said. “That was interesting.” (And the way she pronounced “interesting,” drawing out every syllable, made clear that interesting wasn’t a good thing.)

I’ve been reading stories about trends that interior designers across the country say they’re tired of as we move into the new year. The lists aren’t all the same, of course, but there’s remarkable agreement. I called Stowe to get her take on some of the looks.

The chevron pattern, the bold, jagged geometric that shows up on things like rugs and throw pillows, is one of the trends that’s drawing scorn.

“That’s on my list, too!” she said.

Then there’s furniture made of rough-sawn lumber from shipping pallets. It’s time to move on from that rustic look, the stories say. Maybe try something a little more refined.

“That was another one on my list,” Stowe said.

Designers, thank goodness, don’t agree on everything. That would be boring.

Some hate furnishings and accessories displaying two different metallic colors, both gold and silver. Don’t be lazy, they say, choose one or the other. Don’t mix them. (My wife is solidly in that camp.)

Stowe ( disagrees.

“I don’t have a problem mixing metals,” she said. “You can do it.... And I have one go-to (metal) color, champagne. It looks gold in some light, silver in other light.”

On the other hand, she has strong opinions about another metal finish that most of us are guilty of overusing. “I’m over the whole brushed nickel thing. In the next 20 years, brushed nickel is going to be what brass is now.”


Stowe said that one reason we follow trends like these, to the point that we’re all tired of them, is that we’re intimidated by design decisions. It’s easy and safe to hang a white resin animal head that you saw on HGTV. And that allows you to avoid choosing vivid, dramatic artwork.

Choose simple blinds or plantation shutters for your windows, and you don’t have to select fabric for window treatments. Drapes can be expensive but, then, plantation shutters can be, too.

Lots of us are so scared of wall color that we choose a drab neutral, then try to add a pop of color with a throw pillow. We shouldn’t do that, Stowe said.

“I’m so over kilim beige,” she said. (That would be the Sherwin Williams wall color that is the default neutral for lots of us, including designers. To understand how widely it’s used, Google kilim beige and count how many times Houzz and Pinterest pop up.)

Choose another neutral color, she said, perhaps one that pairs better with today’s deeper grays. If you’re feeling adventurous, consider something like mauve. It’s poised to make a bit of a comeback, although by another name: dusty rose.

Any other design trend that Stowe would like to see disappear in 2016?

Well, she really doesn’t like it when folks say “pop” of color. Its something lots of us picked up from TV. It’s overdone. It would be better to talk about exciting or complementary colors, she said.

I see that I let “pop” sneak into this column, but I’ll try do better this year.