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November 26, 2013 at 8:41 PM

Home décor hears call of the wild


By Vern Yip / Special to The Washington Post 

If you poke your head into a home décor store these days, you’ll probably notice that it’s a jungle out there.

One of the most popular design trends right now is all things animal. The zebra-patterned throw pillows, leopard-spotted ottomans and tortoise-inspired frames are just the beginning of what’s being unleashed on the world of home design.

The animal trend also means a return to “taxidermy chic” in its most controversial and traditional form (think once-living heads hanging from walls), as well as in much less controversial and more interpretative forms involving papier-mâché, resin, ceramic and wood molded, formed and carved to resemble the real thing.

These artistically interpreted mounts range from the exotic — rhinoceros, giraffe and elephant — to the more ordinary — cow and horse — all crafted without a single hair sacrificed.

Create a focal wall by hanging one above your fireplace, or give your powder room an adventurous lift by hanging a white ceramic elephant head above your toilet.

As big as taxidermy chic is at the moment, the animal-décor trend still has its foundation in textiles. Partially inspired by the parade of leopard- and zebra-printed frocks on recent fashion runways, animal prints are bigger than ever.

Traditional motifs, such as zebra and leopard, are dominant, but prints featuring ordinary house dogs or exotic peacock features are growing in popularity, according to Fabricut, one of the largest home-décor fabric companies in the world.

The trend encompasses such a wide territory that almost anyone can find a way to affordably layer in a combination of exotic and unusual prints.

A word of caution: Unless you are trying to win a contest for most safari-themed on your block, pick just one or two ways to introduce the trend into a room. A single piece of taxidermy, real or artistically interpreted, is a powerful statement without adding a leopard-print rug or cheetah-spotted throw pillows.

But do have fun. A lot of excitement can be added to a room full of solid upholstery and neutral walls with a zebra-patterned rug or oversized animal sculpture. This trend is huge because animals (in so many forms) have a way of enlivening any space.

Photos: Cost Plus World Market Leopard Faux Fur Throw, $60; Cardboard Safari Fred Sr. Cardboard Moose Head, $51 at; H&M Cushion Cover, $10; Deer Trophy Wall Sculpture, $89 at Urban Outfitters; West Elm Peacock Silk Pillow Cover, $39; Jonathan Adler Whale Pitcher, $95 at Click! Design That Fits, West Seattle; Xhilaration Zebra Stripe Window Panel, $25 per panel at Target;




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