The 5 Under 40 Awards gala is coming up. Normally, I wouldnâ€™t worry so much about what to wear, but since I am one of the honorees, I figure I better look good. I found a little black dress and some funky jewelry. But I still felt I needed more, and you can probably guess what I went for nextâ€”shoes.
I have been eyeing snakeskin in fashion magazines all year, so I set out to find a pair of snakeskin (or faux snakeskin) shoes. As I combed store after store, I began thinking about just how wrong one could go with animal prints. And since Iâ€™m an interior designer, it got me thinking about animal patterns at home.
Like it or not (and some hate it), animal prints and patterns are classic and timeless. Take the Le Corbusier LC4 cowhide chaise lounge from Cassina, for example.
Photo courtesy of Cassina
Designed in 1928, this chair remains an icon today. Used in a neutral palette, as in this living room by LDa Architecture and Interiors, the cowhide becomes the cornerstone of the room.
Photo by Greg Premru
These vibrant patterns suit nearly any setting. Whether your look is contemporary, traditional or somewhere in between, the ultimate key to using them is to tame the animal.Â Too much is tacky, so if youâ€™re trying this on your own, do not overdo. Use it as an accent or a focal point. Cover the walls, or two chairs, or four pillows, but not all of those at once.
Photo courtesy of Annie Selke
Photo by Sam Gray
Of course, we must all be careful about mixing too many animals in the same space; there is a fine line between playful and tasteless. But as Tara Seawright executes seamlessly in this living area, mixing can be wildly successful. If thatâ€™s the route you are headed, I would definitely seek the help of a professional designer.
Photo by George Ross
Living rooms arenâ€™t the only spots for these spirited patterns. Intimate spaces can be great places to show off some animal. A bold leopard-print wall covering envelops you in this otherwise classic powder room by Lori Berg.
Photo by Jill Greer for Gabberts Design Studio
If you arenâ€™t up for wall covering or youâ€™re looking for something more contemporary, Settecentoâ€™s â€œAnimalierâ€ line may be just for you. These animal-patterned tiles come in â€œLeo,â€ â€œZebra,â€ and â€œCobra” (pictured here).
Photo courtesy of Settecento
Finally, donâ€™t forget that a few accessories can play a powerful part in a space.Â This murano glass giraffe collection from Formia Glass will pack as much punch as an LC4 chaise.
Photo courtesy of Formia Glass
Youâ€™ll have to come to the â€œ5 Under 40â€ party to judge how my animal accent measures up (I didnâ€™t end up with snakeskin, ironically enough).Â I want to look fun, but letâ€™s face it, too much animal and you may be noticed in all the wrong ways. Keep the same thing in mind when you add it at home. A little bit of animal goes a long way.
Kelly Taylor is the recipient of New England Home Magazineâ€™s 2012 â€œ5 Under 40â€ award for excellence in design.Â She practices residential and commercial interior design in Providence, Rhode Island. Her work can be found at www.ktid.net, or follow her on Twitter at @ktidnet.