The Mushroom Home Decor Craze is Delightfully Terrifying

Austin Interior Designer Amity Worrel Forages Through the Mushroom Decor Craze

Mushroom Woodlawn

I noticed the first mushroom sprouting up in the home decor garden about three years ago. Now, the interior design world has found itself in the center of a fairy ring. The mushroom home decor trend is both delightful and terrifying. And this dichotomy is probably why we’re all so enamored with the charming and mysterious fungus. While I am not the biggest fan of interior design trends, the mushrooms have caught my attention. So, let’s go foraging. 


Fairytale Toadstools, Microdosing Psychedelics, and Killer Spores 

Our human attraction to mushrooms is nothing new. However, it’s hard to tell if we are enchanted by them or absolutely terrified. After all, mushrooms could be used to whip up a culinary delight or a deadly poison. But the symbolism of this fungus seems to go further for us. 

Alice & Wonderland Mushroom

Mushrooms take on a restorative property in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. After being shrunk down in the rabbit hole, Alice takes a bite of a toadstool to return to her full-grown size. However, we know these little toadstools can’t be fully trusted. In The Last of Us, a fungus kicks off the start of a full-blown apocalypse. Recent mushroom movie adaptations like The Last of Us and The Spore are nothing new. Fungus was cast as the villain as early as 1963 in the Japanese horror film Matango or Attack of the Mushroom People. We’re absolutely captivated by the fungus around us, but we don’t quite know which side to take. Are these mushroom heroes here to save us or villains to watch out for? 

We use mushrooms for everything from pizza toppings to children’s book illustrations to microdosing and psychedelic trips. The largest living thing on earth is even a fungus, which I find very scary but also super interesting. Mushrooms have the power to sustain us or even enlighten us, but they’re more than ready to feast on us, too. To say the least, we have a complicated relationship with mushrooms. So, why are we inviting them into our homes? 


Mushrooms Have Taken Over: From 70s Kitchens to Gen Z Bedrooms 

Mushrooms are sprouting up everywhere in 2020s home decor. However, this obsession is nothing new. Mushrooms dominated 70s decor as well. They were featured on everything from canisters, placemats, and macrame wall hangings that felt as wholesome as the Brady Bunch to funky furnishings and psychedelic band posters with a rebellious edge. Mushrooms also seem to span the spectrum of styles today. They fit in with almost every Gen Z aesthetic, from the traditional-leaning Cottagecore to the more “out there” Weirdcore, where anything goes. 

Mushrooms in Gen Z

Mushrooms can be whimsical or weird, cute or scary, benign or deadly. Maybe their duplicity has something to do with when they sprout up in our media and home aesthetics. The first big influx of mushrooms came in during the 70s, following the Vietnam War and the start of a recession. Similarly, they made their return in 2020 after a global pandemic and economic slowdown. Decades that saw upticks in the economy, like the 2010s, featured fresher flora and fauna, like the Millennial embrace of monstera leaf patterns that were also popular in the prosperous 50s.  

Schumacher Tropical Leaf Fabric Pattern
Monstera Leaf Pattern by Schumacher

The 70s and 2020s both left folks with uncertainty about the future. Is the mushroom safe to eat, or will this one be poisonous? In the end, it doesn’t matter because it just wants to decompose us. Whether we find comfort or fear in mushroom patterns, there’s no arguing that they reflect the culture of the day. 


I’m Even Jumping on the Mushroom Home Decor Bandwagon

I’ve said before that I don’t follow trends. But these little mushrooms have caught my eye, and who am I to ignore our deeply rooted human connection to fungus? That, and I am actually a fan of mushroom decor

Mushroom Sculptures
Thrifted 70s Mushroom Canisters

I’ve added two mushroom sculptures to my Austin interior design studio that I purchased from a catalog. They’re made of metal, and the funky retro design brings me so much joy. We also recently imported some cement garden mushrooms from Antwerp for our Woodlawn clients. Their style had a funky edge, which you can also see come alive inside their full arcade room, complete with a disco ball! And my mushroom kick continues, as I just found an upholstered mushroom stool that oozes 70s style which I am planning to propose for a client’s new living room design. It’s a fun and compelling decor moment. Who doesn’t want to sit atop a toadstool? 

Mushroom Woodlawn
Mushroom Sculptures

Just like any trend, I would encourage you to proceed with caution. You wouldn’t just pick a mushroom in the forest and cook it, right? You need to do your foraging research. Trends can easily be taken too far and leave you tired and ready for another update. Or worse, they could make your house look just like everyone else’s. Add popular decor items sparingly and ensure they have a purpose, even if that’s just to add a bit of whimsy and delight. 


A Mushroom Medley 

Mushrooms are all at once fascinating, beautiful, and terrifying. By adding mushroom decor to your home, you open the door to charm and intrigue. Will you lean into the charming fairytale or explore the dark and weird side of the fungus? 


Happy foraging!

Amity Worrel

Amity Worrel is an award-winning interior designer based in Austin, Texas. She has worked on high-end interior design projects for celebrities and tastemakers in NYC, LA, and the Bahamas. In 2008, Amity decided to bring her passion for diverse design back to her hometown of Austin. Her spaces pull from timeless design concepts ranging from coastal contemporary to cozy cottage to Austin eclectic. Emotional connections, functional flow, and a touch of humor remain central to every interior design scheme. Her work has been published in national and local publications, including The Wall Street Journal, House Beautiful, HGTV Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Austin Home. In her free time, she loves perusing estate sales and diving into design history. Learn more about Amity.