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Jungle prints featuring a variety and abundance of green tones are part of the current animal-themed trend. Image courtesy InteriorGoodsDirect/Blinds Direct

People are going wild in their decorating. Elephants, cheetahs and other jungle creatures are stampeding into American homes, invited by the current trend in “global and Bohemian style decorating,” observes Michael Murphy, interior designer with Lamps Plus.

Design is often influenced by current events, adds Amy Kilvington, spokesperson for She says that since the 2016 Olympics, held in Brazil, home of the Amazon jungle, “tropical animal prints have surged in popularity.”

No, the exotic exodus is emanating from Italy, says Juliet Del Rio, spokesperson for Safavieh Home Furnishings. “There was a huge trend in Milan [design shows] last year where everyone was doing jungle.”

Wherever it began, it’s here. After all, we’re an animal-loving, pet-owning nation.

“Animal motifs have been around for a very long time,” Murphy says.

Indeed, roosters, cows, bees and dogs, among others, have been adorning home décor items for years now.

But those familiar animal touches are “more novelty than a design trend,” Del Rio says.

Whether novelty or serious design element, experts share tips on inviting creatures into your home.

Freedom In Confined Spaces

When talking about where to use bold or exotic animal motifs, designers invariably say owners should feel “safe” using the theme in a powder room.

“The powder room is a place to do something quirky,” says Genevieve Wilhelm of Lee Douglas Interiors. “It’s a small area that’s tucked away,” she says, and a place where owners can express their personalities.

“We’ve seen a ton of homeowners adding wallpaper featuring animals and other wildlife in these spaces – with less wall space, you can go bolder without feeling overwhelmed,” adds Kristen Chuber, marketing director for Paintzen.

Likewise, a home office or studio, places where only the homeowners spend time, allow for creative expression that may feel overwhelming in other areas, Kilvington says.

But even in these get-away spaces, “Give your jungle prints space to breathe by pairing with softer neutrals or splashes of green,” Kilvington advises.

Tame and Tasteful.

While a bedspread printed with pink flamingoes can make a guest room feel fun, a similarly bold style can be an annoying distraction in a living room or entrance hall.

“Most people follow their instincts when it comes to decorating,” Kilvington says. If you to worry that the jungle theme is overbearing, then it probably is. But animal accents can also have the exact opposite effect, and lend a chic, not kitschy feel.

“People are drawn to these designs because they bring a sense of the exotic into the home,” Kilvington says.

One of the best selling animal accents sold by American Freight Furniture and Mattress, for instance, is a table lamp which features a base of a bronze-carved elephant, and is a neutral, sophisticated accent which customers choose for a home office, living room and other areas, says Mia McMurray, senior buyer for the firm.

Especially when using animal prints on upholstery and/or walls, choose your animal theme carefully, because it’s likely that any more than one key pattern will feel cluttered, she adds.

Or, small items like trays or a lamp base placed in key locations “allows someone the opportunity to incorporate the trend without the huge commitment of something like wallpaper or furniture,” says Jennifer Raaths of The Stationery Studio.

Creature Comforts

Often, the pictures and prints of animals – even “fierce” jungle creatures – are rendered in a people and kid friendly way. That’s why the theme is used so often in children’s rooms, Chuber says. Besides which, she adds, animal themes are “gender neutral and can translate well from one child to the next.”

Animal lovers shouldn’t feel constrained by geography, Murphy believes. “Your home should reflect you and your family, not necessarily the location where you live. Just because you live in the Midwest doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate a fun flamingo or elephant print.”

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