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Interiors: Creating a menagerie in your home

PUBLISHED: 10:30 31 August 2014

Digital print cushion covers, £55, Graham & Green. Available from September. PA Photo/Handout.

Digital print cushion covers, £55, Graham & Green. Available from September. PA Photo/Handout.

Mel Yates

The trend for featuring creatures - great and small - is gathering pace, with dogs leading the pack, closely followed by owls, with foxes, squirrels and rabbits bringing up the rear.

Quail Ceramics Fox toast rack, £22.50, Cotswold Trading. PA Photo/Handout.Quail Ceramics Fox toast rack, £22.50, Cotswold Trading. PA Photo/Handout.

Want something really wild? Designers have also given lions, elephants, tigers, zebra and even wolves freedom to roam on wallpapers, fabrics and accessories.

“Having played a supporting role in a series of micro-trends earlier this year, animal motifs have evolved into a trend of their own,” says Katie Watson, interior designer at furniture group, Fishpools. “From the domestic to the exotic, animal prints are proving a popular choice, appearing on everything from fabrics to furniture.

“Safari-style prints, such as leopard or zebra, are one of our favourite variations on the theme. The trend works best in patterned cushions, rugs or smaller pieces of upholstered furniture.”

Photo of Dog prints, £55 each; Typography cushions, GBP55; Ella sofa, GBP1,595, Graham & Green. PA Photo/HandoutPhoto of Dog prints, £55 each; Typography cushions, GBP55; Ella sofa, GBP1,595, Graham & Green. PA Photo/Handout

Of course, celebrating animals in interiors isn’t really new. It’s been a tradition since the days of stately homes and hunting trophies, but the emergence of faux taxidermy has made it acceptable and hugely fashionable, points out Claire Hornby, creative stylist at Barker & Stonehouse.

“One of the boldest statements is the re-emergence of the fashion for mounted animal heads,” she says. “Modern techniques mean animal heads can be realistically crafted in cardboard, metal, acrylic and wood. These can be true-to-life, or funky if they’re in bright colours or patterns .”

Animals, in all shapes and sizes, which have featured in fashion collections over the last few seasons, could be regarded as the décor equivalent of comfort food; what’s not to like about beautiful beasts? And pet images appeal to our nurturing instincts and desire for protective sanctuaries.

Magpie Forest Friends, set of four plates,£19.99, Mollie & Fred. PA Photo/HandoutMagpie Forest Friends, set of four plates,£19.99, Mollie & Fred. PA Photo/Handout

With so much creature chic on offer, it’s all too easy to have the patter of paws throughout your interior, but, Hornby advises against overindulging animal instincts. “You don’t want to turn your home into the equivalent of a visual safari park or, worse, something resembling a grown-up nursery. A little goes a long way with this look, so balance bold animal prints with plenty of neutral space,” she says. “This will

prevent them overwhelming a room, but still allow them to make a statement.”

So approach carefully. Animals on homeware won’t bite, but this style can be highly addictive. Simply pick one or two, and rest assured – no animals have been harmed in the making of these items!

Dark Horse head bookends, £30, Swanky Maison. PA Photo/Handout.Dark Horse head bookends, £30, Swanky Maison. PA Photo/Handout.

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