Home Improvement: Animal print makes a roaring comeback in the world of interiors
16:12 01 October 2015
No longer simply the trademark of Bet Lynch, animal prints are now taking centre stage in some of the world’s most chic homes.
Here Ellen Widdup looks at how to tread the fine line between trendy and tacky when it comes to this modern look.
It’s a decorating staple that has dipped in and out of favour for many years.
But most designers are quite firm that this time, animal prints are here to stay.
The trouble is, that with an abundance of leopard spots and tiger stripes on the market, it can be tricky to apply animal print in a sophisticated way without your home ending up looking like a zoo gift shop.
Head to the jungle
There is nothing meek and mild about animal prints. They are bold and loud and attention seeking.
As such, how you apply them to your décor is key.
Jojo Humes Brown, an interior designer from Woodbridge, said the best solution was to combine animal prints with other, less “in your face” components.
“Any interiors scheme needs a combination of a few key components,” she said.
“Colour, texture, light and shade and fun and when it comes to that part I am all about a bit of animal print.
“But fill a room with zebra stripes offset with leopard print throws, tiger stripe cushions, a cowhide and a set of giraffe photographs and you could be heading towards a calamity.
“Pairing a single print with some simple accessories or creating a single focal point in your room with a splash f faux fur however, can be cutting edge.”
Animal prints can provide you with the opportunity to have a bit of fun with your room so don’t necessarily be constrained by classic colours.
Jojo added: “There are some really zany zebra prints out at the moment in green and blue which are fabulous.
“And don’t overlook the less obvious prints - giraffe, tiger or Dalmatian even. There are also some beautiful recoloured animal prints available and something like a beautiful navy leopard print velvet will really up the ante and give you style, with class.”
Animal prints in electric blues, muted greens and bright reds will add a modern feel to your home, she added.
A roaring success
Animal prints are highly versatile.
The prints can be blended with any type of furniture starting from traditional settings to the latest contemporary ones.
Jojo said: “The most remarkable feature of animal prints is that they are actually neutral accents and compliment most colour schemes.”
They are also not limited to the fur like texture and color scheme of black and white.
Accent pieces in earthy tones such as gold or brown can easily be found in different textured fabrics such as suede, cord and more.
Too much of a good thing
You can’t have too much of a good thing, right? Wrong.
The main decorating disaster pertaining to animal print is over use.
And the trick to getting the balance right is to not go, well, wild.
Jojo said: “Really you should try to balance your room using 60% colour, 30% contrasting and 10% pattern.
“Those who are very confident in the outcome could stretch to 30% pattern but the effect might be overwhelming for others.”
If you are new to the animal print, try starting out with a few light accessories such as a throw, pillows, towels or shower curtains.
Begin with a small leopard or zebra pillow for your sofa or bed. Sample animal print placemats or napkins to zip up your dining table.
Jojo said: “Dip your toe in the water with a faux fur animal throw or a couple of cushions, adding a little luxe for less loot.”
If you want more of an immediate impact however, floor coverings – such as large rugs – are a wonderful way to liven up a plain and boring room.
And particularly popular this season is the zebra print.
The simple black and white lines look great matched with most colour schemes and also look good with leather sofas well.
You could also try introducing an animal printed ottoman or experiment with a pair of chairs in the corner of a living room to attract attention.
Dining or family room chairs done in animal prints would be fun as well as elegant.
You can also warm up a bedroom with a faux fur throw to add a level of comfort and warmth.
Animal prints also blend well with floral patterns.
Jojo said: “Just remember there are no hard and fast rules. “Decorating is all about having fun and if you make a mistake, so what? You can play around with a room until it works for you.”