It was the stuff of chess pieces, billiard balls, piano keys, and sculptures—smooth, creamy ivory was enthroned in the most fashionable households. But since 1990 international trade in ivory has been outlawed, and recent efforts to stem illegal trade have led to a near-total ban on sales in the United States. As well, public awareness of the ravages of elephant poaching has dampened enthusiasm for this luxe material. If you simply must have a touch of ivory in your home, you'll find plenty of faux ivory jewelry, carvings, and other accessories.
These Questionable Home Trends Used to Represent Wealth and Luxury
They used to be the trappings of wealth, but today these ostentatious, at times unethical, luxury goods have fallen from grace. Here are 9 home trends that used to be posh, but now seem tired or truly nauseating.
The British aristocracy enjoyed their hunts, as evidenced by the stag heads that dotted the walls of their estates. These days, in deference to modern mores, faux stag heads made of materials like resin or bronze are replacing their taxidermied predecessors.
Tiger Skin Rugs3/9
Their distinctive orange-and-black fur helped spur such high demand for tiger pelts that by 2010 tiger populations had dipped to about 3,200 worldwide. Now, all tiger parts or products fall under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and will be confiscated.
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Remember when designer logos adorned everything from T-shirts to handbags? Well, what becomes passé in fashion also tends to lose popularity in home design. Data from consumer research firm Mintel shows that 56 percent of Americans won’t buy from companies they consider unethical, and prefer buying goods from smaller, local businesses.
While leather furnishings are widely available, given modern sensibilities you may want to rethink buying anything trimmed with alligator, crocodile, lizard, or snake skin. Alligators can live up to 60 years, but are often killed as babies for their meat and skin. Snakes are commonly skinned alive, according to PETA.
According to Business Insider, "The American McMansion is officially a dying breed of architectural design…” While these supersized houses are still commonplace in neighborhoods across the country, the economic downturn in 2008 left many foreclosed and abandoned. Perhaps recent interest in downsizing, decluttering, and small-space living will hasten their demise.
In 1953, First Lady Mamie Eisenhower redecorated the White House, bathing the living quarters—bathroom included—in her favorite shade of pink. Her style went viral, and by the next year, millions of American homes had pink bathrooms. Is this a trend to avoid or revisit? Your call.
Don’t panic if you happen to own a granite countertop. This mottled stone surface is as beautiful and functional as ever, but there was a time not long ago when granite was the "it" material for countertops, and the only one that signaled luxury. Now there are other options with the same cachet—for instance, monochrome, minimal surfaces like composite stone.
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We’re on the fence about this one. Silk flowers can be tacky, but they also can be remarkably lifelike and lend themselves to dazzling high-end displays. It's worth noting that silkworms are killed in the production of commercial silk, and this has led some people to opt for wild silk and fair-trade fabrics. If you do decide to fake your flowers, explore alternatives like crepe-paper blossoms.
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