From corn-on-the-cob themed stools, baguette lamps, and tabletop frosted cakes, faux food decor has taken the design world by storm. Read below to learn how to incorporate the yummy trend into your own space.
I first realized that faux food decor was a “thing” when I saw a post online of a living room featuring a fake pineapple upside-down cake on the coffee table. The living room belonged to Zoe Cohen, a creative brand strategist and the co-founder of Wiggle Room. So it may come as no surprise that the fake cake was just one of the many playful accents in her space. When revisiting these photos recently, I noticed the baguette lamp on her wall for the first time. But why was it that in this amazing space, I couldn’t stop looking at that cake? It was so realistic, and something about it just made me smile.
I’m no stranger to faux food decor. On the wall next to me as I write this are two very realistic fried eggs by artist Chris Chiappa that look like they’ll surrender to gravity and fall off the wall at any moment. Sitting on a shelf in my living room is a lamp made out of an actual croissant. It came with a warning about making sure it doesn’t get too hot in case the butter melts! Oh, and how could I forget the bagel light my friend made for me out of a genuine NYC everything bagel (this one makes me homesick in the best way).
There’s something so absolutely ridiculous about these items, especially when you stop to consider how fake food is objectively pretty tacky. To me, it feels like something of a bygone era. It makes me think of a bowl of dusty grapes you may encounter in a grandma’s kitchen or a realistic pear you made the mistake of biting into as a kid. If everything is too perfect, it begins to feel like inauthentic trickery. This new trend isn’t trying to trick anyone or create a false sense of perfection; it’s something different.
I know I’m not the only one drawn to this trend. My fake food items are the most talked-about thing people notice when they come over (besides George, my cute neurotic dog). These items are a bit absurd, and their presence is a reminder not to take things too seriously. It’s these whimsical elements that draw me to an interior design space. So much of what we see online and in magazines is picture-perfect. It makes sense, but just as many people want to see real life—a messy, unstyled space doesn’t capture our attention in the same way. We may want to see reality, but it’s also nice to have some aspirational imagery to admire. I need a space to have something that makes it feel lived-in or something unusual and maybe even weird. An oversized lamp, an unexpected color, something fun. When a beautifully styled space includes one or two of these playful elements, it puts the personality back in the space and brings it to life.
The trick to getting this right is all about placement. A very convincing cocktail on your bookshelf will look like someone forgot to clean up after a party, whereas no one actually thinks the fried eggs on my wall result from breakfast gone wrong. It’s supposed to be a bit tongue-in-cheek, so have fun with it, but not too much fun.
As tough as 2020 was (and 2021 + 2022…), one of the upsides is that people seemed to let loose when it came to their decor. They focused on how their home functioned, and without anyone coming over for the foreseeable future, they leaned into their bizarre decorative preferences. Maybe this would have happened without a global pandemic, but the timing makes sense. People needed to have fun; they needed to find little things that make them smile, even if it was just a plastic pineapple-upside-down cake.
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