We recently posted on Instagram about animal print decor, particularly the skill with which maximalist designer Tony Duquette created fabulous looks based around the theme. There are misconceptions that animal print is difficult to work with or will overwhelm a space but, used in the right way, this style creates a wonderful focal point and seriously ups the glam factor of interiors.
Tony Duquette was an American artist and designer who specialised in costume and set design for stage and film. A leading light in Hollywood, Duquette’s lavish creations were popular throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s, and animal print, particularly leopard and cheetah, frequently influenced his flamboyant style.
Duquette may have championed animal print as a grounding neutral decades ago, but the style still feels fresh and relevant today.
‘We had a nice little faff at home with some of our animal décor favourites,’ Wendy explains. ‘I think the beauty of these pieces is that they are very much grounding neutrals, but with that little something extra, perhaps simply the sprinkling of florals, which creates a more feminine touch.
‘Used as a neutral, animal print creates a focal point and enhances a room. I always think it lends a sense of glamour, which could come from the richness of warm, neutral shades and bold, simple, patterns, which are inspired by some of nature’s most beautiful mammals.’
We have a few suggestions for anyone keen to start out – or further explore – the wonderful world of animal print décor.
Our Leopard Gold hand-tufted rug is a striking design that never threatens to overwhelm. Leopard imagery is teamed with neutral tones, including black, cream and gold, a simple combination of colours that results in a wonderful grounding effect. The shimmering gold Tencel leopard appears to rise out of the soft, wool base, light and bright, a statement piece that stealthily draws attention.
‘Leopard Gold is a really subtle neutral,’ Wendy explains. ‘Not many people spot the leopard at first glance. She has worked very well paired with greens and teals, as well as inky navy and black to create a rich sophisticated feel. She works equally well with warm pinks to create a cosy, more-feminine feel, which looks lovely in a bedroom.
A classic combination of black and off-white zebra stripes forms the base of our striking Zebra Florals hand-tufted rug. Black and white is always grounding, while the gorgeous pink chrysanthemums at the heart of this design stand out beautifully. The stripes are strong, while the pink, green and gold etching soften the effect; the bold striped pattern creates a border around the colour, grounding it and making this an easy rug to place in lots of different settings.
‘Our animal print florals are warm and have a richness to them,’ Wendy explains, ‘they are very much the ultimate neutral and working with them in the studio recently, I have a fresh appreciation for them.’
Bold, black, stripes also feature in our sensual Tiger Florals hand-tufted rug design, but this time they bend and curve, bringing softness. The sand-coloured wool base allows fabulous pink lotus flowers to spring to life. This is a wonderful pairing of exotic, striking, design with neutral, earthy, shades to create a rug that always attracts attention but allows other pieces to sit comfortably around her.
Leopard Palms Light
Prowling leopards at the base of tall, gently swaying, palm trees surrounded by red, pink, purple and lilac orchids, lotus flowers and chrysanthemums, and green foliage, forms Leopard Palms Light. This beautiful design is full of colour and detail, floral elements border the big cats, the palms form a bold central line, while the light wool base creates a gentle, grounding backdrop to the drama of the design. One of the inspirations behind this rug was the work of Tony Duquette and his flamboyant film sets.
Zebra Leopard Palms
Our Zebra Leopard Palms hand-knotted rug is also inspired by the work of Tony Duquette. Here, the classic black and white of the zebra pattern wool base forms the perfect backdrop for shimmering silk details of gold-etched leopards, palm trees, orchids, lotus flowers and chrysanthemums. The design feels vibrant and alive, as well as soft and gentle, the big cats and palms cocooned by pink florals. ‘This is probably my favourite animal print,’ Wendy says, ‘because she really does have it all, a rich, neutral, backdrop with a nod to the flora and fauna layered on top. Although there is a lot going on in this design, I find her a very grounding piece with a little sprinkling of je ne sais quoi!’
When can you ever have enough leopard print? Leopard Florals is not your ordinary leopard rug. Think soft in the centre, a little more rock ‘n’ roll on the edges – it’s a pink and leopard print delight.
'I’ve always been drawn to nature and the animal kingdom, the way creatures co-exist, their beauty and natural grace. I love seeing animals in their natural environment, it is a constant source of joy and inspiration.'