Your Wild Domicile | Transform Your Home into a Natural Habitat

Adding animal prints and textures to our homes can feel intimidating; they can seem like bold statements for ordinary, everyday spaces. But when we think of them as Mother Nature’s own brand of neutrals, they become much easier to blend into any room in your home.

“Animal print” often evokes looks of classic leopard spots and zebra stripes, definitive patterns that have never gone out of style. However, the possibilities for prints are much broader—giraffe, crocodile, antelope, peacock, or even dalmatian if you’re feeling a little Cruella de Ville. Animal print is meant to be wild and unique; all you have to do is find one to suit your vibe. It doesn’t matter if your style is domesticated or not, you’ll certainly find an animal print you love for your space.

As a starter, using an animal-print area rug is a high-impact statement in any room without being overwhelming. This works well with less complex patterns, such as contrasting zebra stripes or antelope spots, to retain overall cohesiveness. Alternatively (or additionally!), a stair or hall runner in a more vibrant tiger or cheetah print is a fun touch to an entry or hallway, drawing the eye forward and adding interest to a transitional space. And, if you are more whimsical, using a faux pelt rug depicting almost any animal you can imagine helps you makes a big statement without taking yourself too seriously.

Other options include cowhide and sheepskin rugs to add luxe texture to any room. Whether your style is rich and traditional, minimalist and modern, or even light and beachy, a cowhide or sheepskin brings interest to your floors.

Exceptionally versatile, both can be used alone or layered over a neutral or sisal rug for an instant update.

Cowhides are available in virtually endless options (you are not limited to a Holstein pattern), and natural cowhides are all unique with their own marks and coloration, adding a layer of authenticity to each piece. Natural hides are also easy to maintain. Absent any extreme spills, regular vacuuming and a little soap and water are all that’s necessary. Some experts recommend using a brush for regular cleaning as well. Alternatively, faux cowhides made of polyester or suede are an animal-friendly option, and not just in cow patterns. Zebra, leopard and antelope, as well as metallic and even brightly colored patterns, are available to anchor your unique space. As an added bonus, faux hides are guaranteed hypoallergenic and are often easier to clean.

Sheepskin rugs are another, softer option for adding texture to your space. Unlike cowhide, sheepskin “rugs” can be placed over the back of an armchair or atop an ottoman to add an extra-cozy layer to your favorite spot. A sheepskin is essentially a piece of soft leather covered in plush wool, allowing it to both drape beautifully as an accent over furniture and retain its shape when used as a rug. Also unlike cowhides, sheepskins are machine washable depending on their size. Of course you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but most sheepskins can be cleaned using a specialized wool shampoo followed by airdrying and gently brushing out any knots between washes. Along with occasional handwashing and spot-cleaning, your sheepskin will look beautiful for years to come.

In any room, using animal print fabric is a simple way to add interest. One option is using the print as a neutral by repeating the same print and then adding other patterns and colors with it, such as pairing a large-scale leopard print on two king shams and a bed skirt with more subdued bedding, then adding a pop of color on a bolster pillow or duvet cover. Another option is to seek out animal prints that fit into your color scheme. Selecting a vivid green and teal zebra fabric for an upholstered chair makes an impressive statement piece, or using a more subdued beige and ivory cheetah pattern for dining chair seat cushions adds interest without overwhelming the eye. In both scenarios, blending your own color scheme and preferences with an animal print accomplishes the best of both goals: cohesive design and eye-catching colors and patterns.

Additionally, using animal textures on furniture is perhaps a more subdued way to walk on the wild side. Of course, smooth leather furniture remains a classic way to incorporate natural textures into studies and living rooms. Whether the top of an antique desk or an overstuffed armchair, smooth leather furniture is always on point. However, other possibilities, like snakeskin or ostrich leather, offer more modern and unique textures. An embossed snakeskin side table can add an unexpected twist to understated living room decor. Ostrich leather can turn an otherwise uninspiring ottoman into a statement piece. Additionally, choosing a different color such as muted pink or blue will tie the texture in with the rest of your space while still giving the room an undomesticated edge.

When you decide to use animal prints and textures in your home, there is no such thing as too much or too little; as long as your space is cohesive, functional and yours, you can be as wild (or tame) as you please.


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