Happy 2013, MNN readers!

So, while we still have a few weeks left until the Lunar New Year officially kicks off (Feb. 10), some of you Chinese Zodiac-minded decorators may already be conjuring up ways to incorporate this year’s elemental sign into your interior décor schemes. 2011, the Year of the Rabbit, was rather easy peasy when it came time to wrangle up cutesy accents for the home and garden while 2012, the Year of the Dragon, was a bit more tricky. I’m going to go out and a limb and say this coming Chinese New Year, the Year of the Snake, was tougher than the previous years combined.

Why? Ophidiophobia is rampant — and possibly genetic — so it’s safe to assume that many folks out there will want nothing to do with bringing slithering, carnivorous reptiles into their homes in any shape or form, Chinese Zodiac-themed throw pillows be damned (my advance apologies to Indiana Jones and Margaret Roach). Still, for those who won’t cringe at the sight of inanimate serpents and who are proud to be born under the sign (common traits include intelligence, astuteness, and intensity), there are a few snake-centric home décor options out there that are both decidedly non-terrifying and tasteful (unlike this gem).

Below, you’ll find a few of my picks geared toward snake sign-ers — all are handmade and/or made from recycled materials. Plus, in addition to decorative accents,  I’ve included a handy-dandy serpent-shaped garden tool. And while we're on the topic of handmade home decor and reptiles, there's never been a better time to craft your own or invest in a store-bought draft snake to help curb air leakage and save on energy bills in the new year.

2013 Snake Useful Calendar by ArtyDidact @ Etsy ($12)

Recycled Magazine Snake Sculpture by AMSkrafts @ Etsy ($14)

Snake Charmer Metal Art Bookends by KnobCreekMetalArts @ Etsy ($39.99)

Beaded Linen Snake Pillow @ Jonathan Adler ($165)

"Mexica Rattlesnake"by Angel Ceron @ Novica ($54.95)

John Derian Faience Snake Decorative Plate @ John Derian ($105)

Recycled Metal Rattlesnake Garden Accent @ Wind & Weather ($24.99)

Curly Snake Valet Try by Why Girls Go Astray @ Etsy ($20)

Mr. Snake Pillow by Ferm Living @ fawn & forest ($146)

Cobrahead Weeder @ UncommonGoods ($23)

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Snake in the grass ... and on the sofa: Chinese New Year decor
Get into the spirit of the Year of the Snake, by outfitting your abode with these serpent-themed accents that are more tasteful than terrifying.