At The Inside, we absolutely adore animal prints and think there's a place for them in every interior. And we're not alone.
Since the prehistoric era, humans used animal skins to keep warm. As we evolved, skins became more of a status symbol signifying the domestication of the wild.
Sylvie Hirsch in a white satin and leopard fur by Christian Dior
During the 1940s, animal prints became popular in women's fashion--Bettie Page was known to wear cheetah prints and it instantly became synonymous with sex appeal. In the 1950s Christian Dior began experimenting with leopards. And by the 1970s every animal under the sun was represented in fashion.
In terms of interior design, when thinking about animal prints, one has to start with Elsie de Wolfe. De Wolfe, one of the first professional interior designers, viewed interiors as a mode for self-expression and herself as an artist. She was a known tastemaker of her time and famously penned The House in Good Taste, where she illustrated how she decorated with animal prints alongside French furniture and Chinoiserie panels.
Interior by Elsie de Wolfe
Since Elsie, animal prints have become staples in interior design. Perhaps the master of the animal print was French designer Madeleine Castaing. Case in point below.
Interior by Madeleine Castaing
And I'd be remiss to not highlight maximalist master Tony Duquette whose animal-covered staircase is the definition of showstopper.
Interior by Tony Duquette
But animal prints don't necessarily have to be incredibly bold. Legendary designer Albert Hadley famously used hooked zebra rugs in his projects, including his own residence pictured below, which demonstrates a soft injection.
Interior by Albert Hadley via Architectural Digest
And animals prints as an accent--pillows, ottomans, accent rugs--are always a good way to experiment and perhaps start a relationship with this genre of textiles. See below for inspiration.