15 Ways to Design With Woodsy Wildlife

Want to give your room a dose of animal magnetism? These fifteen stylish spaces take a walk on the wild side, putting animal motifs front and center with effects that range from big and bold to detailed and delicate.

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June 12, 2018

Photo By: S.Craig McCasland

Photo By: Brian Thomas Jones


Photo By: Jennie Foster

Photo By: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Photo By: Allison Corona Photography

Photo By: Jamie D Photography

Photo By: Cheryl Scarlet; Design Transformations; photo by: Kimberly Gavin

Bird Bath

In a luxurious bathroom outfitted with fixtures and fittings from Drummonds Bathrooms, the undeniable focal point is the walk-in glass-enclosed shower with its painted tile mural of the iconic pelican from John James Audubon’s masterpiece Birds of America.

Traditional Elegance

To give a new home built by Burdick Custom Homes a sense of timeless elegance designer Melissa Morgan of M Interiors began with rich architectural detailing like a custom limestone fireplace surround and then layered on furnishings and accessories with classic silhouettes and neutral finishes. Animal-motif artwork and fabrics lend a just slightly wild counterpoint in the highly refined space.

Into the Woods

To blur the lines between indoorsand out, designer Viki Lander of Ensoul created a strong woodland theme for this restful guest bedroomwith lovely parkland views. “We had the birdson the wall coveringcolor-matched and positioned on the paper to surround the bed,” says the designer. Anearth-toned carpet, cloud and sky-patterned velvet cushions, laser-cut lamps that give the shadows of trees, and a textured throw complete the scheme.

Safari Style

To create a fresh and cheerful look in a beach-house powder room designer Diane Bergeron paired whimsical zebra-motif wallpaper with elegant fittings, including a honed-marble vanity and silver-leaf framed mirror. “We custom-monogrammed the towels with the name of the house to make guests feel like they’re at a private resort,” says the designer.

Perfect for Preening

“This design all started with the wallpaper,” says designer Cynthia Flottman of Roux Design Studio.“The large-format bird pattern lends itself perfectly toa smaller space like apowder room, where it adds drama and t wow-factor.”

Natural Accents

The architecture plays the starring role in this soaring living space from Nautilus Architects, where exposed beams and built-in cabinetry and stone floors create a handsome envelope. But the neutral color palette allows a collection of animal art to stand out on the open shelves, and a bold bird on the armchair and sofa pillow injects a hint of fun.

True or Faux?

Wondering how the designer managed to hang all those bird prints so perfectly? Well...just read on. To create a boldbedroom for a couple with a particularly strong sense of style and a lifetime of collections designer Rachel Seldin began with the walls. “I wanted a wallpaper that had visual depth to it,” she says. “When I saw this one, I knew immediately that I wanted to add frames to give the illusion that it was a gallery wall. The color of the surrounding walls adds ‘sunshine’ to a naturally dark space, and the multi-pendant chandelier helps bring your eye up tothe tall ceilings.”

Modern Safari

To create a “big boy bedroom” for a little client, designer Malika Helft of Think Chic Interiors went with a modern-take on a safari theme. “We used Mid-century modern furniture along with the animal motifs,” she says. “Although the room is small, it provides ample play, relaxation, and storage space, with two large custom closets, a secret teepee hideout, and a reading and play area.”

Flight of Stairs

For the remodel of a home in Toluca Lake, California, designer Mark Cutler chose a series of bird prints for the main stair hall. “The space needed artwork that was large in scale but with a lot of detail,” he says. “Animal prints can be ideal for this setting, as they are very dramatic from a distance but can still possess lots of detail as you get closer.”

Organic Focal Point

One of the appeals of a glass-enclosed space like this contemporary living room is the nearly invisible line between indoors and out. Designer Kirsten Kaplan of Haus Interior Design played up that natural connection by choosing a set of horns as a sculptural centerpiece for the room.

Not Too Cute

Animal motifs are age-old nursery favorites. But designer Benedict August took a more modern tack on this classic theme, eschewing Peter Rabbit and Pooh Bear for faux animal mounts in stark white, for a look that’s hip and sophisticated (but still plenty of fun).

Different Stripes

To give this study its eclectic flair, designer Breeze Giannasio chose a twist on a familiar pattern, choosing Ikat and cheetah “stripes” instead of the traditional version. Animal figurines on the shelves reinforce the wildlife theme, without taking the room into “theme” territory.

Big Game

In what is at first glance a comfortably traditional living room, designer Judith Balis created drama with the introduction of oversized animal-motif elements: The antique framed bird print and the large zebra-striped ottoman. The effect is contemporary, but perfectly in keeping with the overall style of the space.

Wild Art

When it comes to delicate framed prints, there’s usually power in numbers. Here, the design team at Emerald Hill Interiors hung a grid of eight bird illustrations, creating the effect is of a single high-impact artwork—a much more dramatic look than one (or even two) similar prints could have created.

Flight of Fancy

Bird-and-butterfly-print wallpaper adds energy and whimsy to a young family’s laundry room. But designer Cheryl Scarlet did not neglect the practical matters: Open shelving houses portable laundry bins for each family member, and a wall-mounted drying racknot only offers a place to dry delicate items but creates the illusion of a window.

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