Rethinking Animal Print in a Minimalist Design Age

Animal print décor of the past was always naughty, bold, and not for the faint of heart. Dramatic patterns and a dark palette made up what most people have come to associate with “animal print.” Using animal print in your décor has generally entailed a commitment because animal print usually doesn’t allow for much versatility.


There was no way around the fact that decorating with animal print was going to give a rich, complex effect. This is in stark contrast to the growing minimalist movement of today, where heavy complexity has been eschewed in favor of mobility and sustainability. But somehow, these two elements can work together in a way that’s unexpected and interesting. Depth is given to simplicity in this new organic design technique that puts a fresh spin on animal print in the age of minimalism.



Traditional animal print décor saw superfluous pieces strewn about simply because they were tiger or zebra print. Layers upon layers of throw pillows sat piled mountain high on beds that were more leopard print frill than mattress. This was a forgivable feature of this dramatic look where excess was really the whole point.


But these days, where books are being written about how bad clutter is for your soul, looks are starting to evolve and combine, and the result is usually something both functional and artful. Upholstering a modern chair with (faux) animal skin is a great example of modern animal print. There’s no need to over-accessorize with this type of statement piece. Another way to add a more organic, utilitarian flavor to animal print is to make the décor useful. Faux fur blankets and duvets are much more practical than the traditional throw pillows and shams.



Artisanal Animal Print

The new wave of animal print adheres to a very open-ended palette. Instead of sticking to dark woods or dark, bold walls, designers have started pairing the rich patterns of leopard and zebra with light woods and beachy colors.



The result is both breezy and dramatic, and extremely accessible as the combination works in any room. This is still a relatively new concept for animal print. Its bold nature usually kept it locked away in the bedroom. Combining animal print fabrics with beachy pieces is a great way to keep a room light and interesting.


Birds of a Feather

The more modern, toned-down animal print can still be colorful and bold. Colorful and textured natural elements like bird feather patterns and iridescent scales have come into their own recently and make great design tools. I like to use one piece as a focal point in a room that has bold walls instead of trying to put together several colorful looks.



The animal print trend has proven its versatility by being able to dress itself up or down. Which version do you prefer-Jackie Collins bold or the more toned-down look? Try your hand at decorating, creating, and designing with our Virtual Rooms! Use our 3D design tools and make some magic happen!


Images used with permission, courtesy of

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