6 Pieces Inspired by the Animal Kingdom

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Images: (Left) Melissa Mercier, (Right) Chic & Posh

In design, animal references are all around us, whether we realize it or not. From the historical egg and dart motif of the Egyptians to the mid-century Swan chair by Arne Jacobesen, the references never end. It goes to show that anything can be a source of inspiration if you just use a little imagination.

Here’s a look at some animal references found in interior design and how they came to be.

  1. Zebra rug. Zebra rugs have seen a resurgence of popularity in recent years. Originally a safari’s trophy, zebra rugs today tend to be stylized and abstracted—not an actual zebra. In the home, zebra rugs are a beautiful black and white graphic touch.
  2. Cheetah print. The cheetah print is a common motif in fashion and home décor. Typically, a faux version is used over the real McCoy. Historically, it has been seen as a symbol of wealth and status as only the wealthy could travel to the exotic locations to retrieve it.

Animal Print Wishbone Swan Chair
Image: (Left) The Little Room of Style, (Right) Head Over Heels

  1. Wishbone chair. The classic mid-century chair by Danish Hans Wegner was inspired by a painting of Danish merchants sitting in traditional Ming chairs, though the reference to an animal wish bone is obvious. The chair remains a classic for any dining room.
  2. Swan chair. The swan chair by Arne Jacobsen was designed for the SAS Radisson Hotel in Copenhagen. The national bird of Denmark is the swan and it the chair captures its beautiful wingspan.

Animal Print Giraffe Rug
Images: (Left) HSN, (Right) The Inspired Room

  1. Giraffe rug. An animal rug, like this giraffe print, brings a dash of texture to a space. The colors are neutral to make it work in a variety of settings.
  2. Chippendale chair. The Chippendale style, named after its maker Thomas Chippendale, was popular during the 18th century. The heavy style was often characterized by cabriole legs with a claw and ball foot, modeled after 4-legged mammals.

Is there a certain animal reference that strikes your fancy the most? Share please!

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Brittany Watson Jepsen is an American designer and crafter who just returned to America after 2 1/2 years in wonderful Copenhagen, Denmark. Her motto is "a creative mess is better than tidy idleness" and she lives each day accordingly. During graduate school for interior design she spent one summer working for designers Jonathan Adler and Celerie Kemble and another summer studying textile design at the Danish Design School. She created her blog, The House That Lars Built, as a way to keep her designing and crafting. She currently runs her blog and her etsy shop, where she sells her home accessories and paper flowers.