Beast on show: Animal prints make a comeback

From the domestic to the exotic and the wild, animal prints are proving a popular choice, appearing on everything from fabrics to furniture
The Community By Shayantani Sinha
Published on September 1, 2014
Animal print

The trend for featuring animals is gathering pace, with dogs leading the pack, closely followed by owls, with foxes, squirrels and rabbits bringing up the rear. And if you want something really wild, allow lions, elephants, tigers, zebra and even wolves freedom to roam on your wallpapers, fabrics and accessories.

Having played a supporting role in a series of micro-trends earlier this year, animal motifs have evolved into a trend of their own. From the domestic to the exotic, animal prints are proving a popular choice, appearing on everything from fabrics to furniture.

Safari-style prints, such as leopard or zebra, are one of the favourite variations on the theme. The trend works best in patterned cushions, rugs or smaller pieces of upholstered furniture.

Of course, celebrating animals in interiors isn’t really new. It’s been a tradition since the days of stately homes and hunting trophies, but the emergence of faux taxidermy has made it acceptable and hugely fashionable. One of the boldest statements is the re-emergence of the fashion for mounted animal heads. Modern techniques mean animal heads can be realistically crafted in cardboard, metal, acrylic and wood. These can be true-to-life, or funky if they’re in bright colours.

With so much creature chic on offer, it’s all too easy to have the patter of paws throughout your interior, but do not overindulge your animal instincts. You don’t want to turn your home into the equivalent of a visual safari park or, worse, something resembling a grown-up nursery. A little goes a long way with this look, so balance bold animal prints with plenty of neutral space. This will prevent them overwhelming a room, but still allow them to make a statement.


Animal interiors continue to be popular, especially with the presence of avid animal lovers in Dubai. You can really push the boundaries by incorporating animal references in the home. Ornamental busts, lighting, candlesticks or vases are the perfect platform for featuring animal forms. With an injection of rich colour, or fabulous texture, you can actually bring a piece alive.


Choose wildlife motifs in a more neutral, pared-back palette for a sophisticated look that still retains an element of fun and intrigue. Bird designs will span the seasons and provide a wonderfully wild twist to an occasional chair. If a fabric features an animal, choose repeated single-lined silhouettes for an elegant feel that will suit large furniture. Bolder motifs filled with block colour will give this trend an amazing modern twist.


If pets and wildlife are too tame, there’s a zoo full of big beasts who could put the ‘grrr’ into your decor, and have you walking around your lounge whispering David Attenborough-style, as you point out different species — a tiger (cushion) lurking on the sofa, a lion (duvet cover) on a bed. This year, animal print has taken on a more literal slant, with gorgeous photographic images and animal motifs. Look in to wintry animals like wolves, deer and bears. Texture is also a major trend, so subtle animal prints are popular and we will be incorporating fur and feather prints.

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