Call of the wild heard in home decor

11/22/2013 2:05 PM

11/22/2013 2:06 PM

If you poke your head into a home decor store these days, you’ll probably notice that it’s a jungle out there – in more ways than one.

Among popular design trends, one of the most widespread revolves around all things animal – and all indications are that it is only growing. Many of you will naturally think of zebra-patterned throw pillows, leopard-spotted ottomans and tortoise-inspired mirror frames (and it is true that those elements have been around for some time and seem to be staying put), but those are just the foundation of what we’re seeing unleashed on the world of home interior design.

The animal trend today also means an unlikely return to taxidermy chic in its traditional form (once-living heads hanging from walls), as well as in much more interpretative forms involving papier-mache-resin, ceramic, and wood molded, formed and carved to look like a more abstract version of the real thing.

Many mass retailers are stocked with options. Perusing almost any home decor website reveals a plethora of artistically interpreted mounts that range from the exotic — rhinoceros, giraffe and elephant — to the more ordinary cow and horse at surprisingly affordable prices.

Choose to create a real focal wall by hanging one above your fireplace or (if you like the trend but don’t want to stare it in the face all the time) give your powder room a visual lift by injecting the adventure that a white ceramic elephant head hanging above your toilet uniquely provides.

As big as taxidermy chic happens to be at the moment, the animal home-decor trend still has its foundation in all of the incredible textiles in the marketplace. Partially inspired by the endless parade of leopard- and zebra-printed frocks that parade down fashion runways every year, animal prints are bigger than ever.

Zebra and leopard rule this textile jungle, but even prints featuring ordinary house dogs are big sellers, indicating that animals in all forms can make our rooms feel more interesting and alive.

A word of caution: Unless you are trying to win a contest for most Safari-themed on your block, pick one or two key ways to introduce this trend into any single room. A single piece of taxidermy, real or artistically interpreted, can be a big and powerful statement in and of itself without adding a leopard print rug or cheetah-spotted throw pillows.

But have fun with this powerful design tool. A room full of solid upholstery and neutral walls can avoid a serious case of the blahs with the excitement and unique life only a zebra patterned rug or oversize animal sculpture can lend.

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