Unleash your wild side with style safari

Leopard print, beige, wallpaper, �20 a roll, available from Graham and Brown. Picture credit: PA Photo/Handout.
Leopard print, beige, wallpaper, �20 a roll, available from Graham and Brown. Picture credit: PA Photo/Handout.

It’s time to be brave and unleash your wild side, and let lions, tigers and even bears loose in your home.

Designers have gone ‘on safari’ for inspiration and the big beasts of the jungle are now stalking through decor (and you’ll just look tame if you ignore them). Animal print designs, particularly leopard prints, rule, and those stag heads are starting to give way to new style ‘trophies’, from lions to rhinos and zebras.

“This is all part of a desire for maximalism in decor, and the animal trend is all about going over the top and demonstrating personality,” says Jenny Hurren, founder of Out There Interiors, whose collection includes a neon bright Byanne Wall Decoration Ox Head, £124, and a Dawsyn Printed Paper Horse Head, £85.

“Whether it’s exotic, wild animals or perhaps something more familiar, such as foxes and deer, animal interiors are a fun, bold statement and, as with fashion, it’s perfectly possible to be chic and stylish with it.”

If you’re exploring the style be prepared to mix species, says Hurren, as clashing patterns and colour ways will create interest. “Pair a zebra print rug with a leopard print cushion and then add a mounted animal head or accessory, which will make this look modern rather than museum.”

So embrace creatures great and small. No cages or house-training required...

“The animal trend gets a lot of people worked up - perhaps it’s a Marmite ‘love it or hate it’ kind of thing,” says designer Abigail Ahern, who has a bestselling collection of animal accessories at Debenhams.

“Some people think it’s cute and fun, others feel it’s too kitsch, and there’s those who think it’s just a bit loopy! I personally think it’s more than a trend - I think there is a deeper meaning to this passion for animal-inspired pieces. For me, it’s all part and parcel of a return to nature in design - there’s a nostalgia for the wilderness - and also a yearning for more lavish, richly decorated rooms.

“That said, animals have long featured in interiors - since the days of stately homes and hunting trophies - nowadays though, it’s just much cooler, and generally more palatable, to go for the faux taxidermy versions.”

“With my designs for Debenhams and my own range, I like to twist things up a bit. I gravitate towards animals that are rocking a bit of attitude - butterflies and bees and anything overtly girly and sweet are not so much my thing. I want character in my animals so that they read as a little bit ballsy.”

“Animal prints have been in the fashion spotlight for some time, and we’re seeing the trend being mirrored in people’s homes once again this winter. Cute woodland creatures, such as stags, rabbits, foxes and owl motifs are perfect for creating a cosy, rustic feel within a living room or bedroom,” says David Roebuck, managing director at online blinds specialists, Direct Blinds.

“Choose a curtain or blind fabric with an animal print or design for an easy way to give a subtle nod to this trend, and complement it with accessories in creams, mossy green shades and browns to complete the look.”