Here are 8 ways to bring the ‘wild side’ into your home without turning it into a zoo…

1 Start small – Scatter cushions are the easiest way to experiment without breaking the home-decor bank, so start here if you’re unsure about introducing animal prints into your space. A small dose of leopard print can go a long way!

2 Accent it – Accessories and small furnishings are perfect candidates for animal print, without making a long-term commitment; from lampshades and upholstered chairs to vases, footstools, ottomans, side tables and actual animal figurines fashioned out of wood, glass or metal. Add a furry throw at the foot of your bed or drape one over the arm of your favourite wingback chair for a ‘luxe’ touch. Introduce a lucky horseshoe or quirky cowbell for a bit of fun.

3 Put it on the wall – From wall art to wallpaper, changing your walls can give a room a wild makeover. Think along the lines of zebra-stripe wallpaper or cheetah spots stencilled onto a canvas. Tie your furnishings and artwork together by taking your cues from animal-inspired paintings or photographs. Vinyl wall stickers can also work wonders – a flock of birds, for instance, flying out of a corner of the room.

4 Serve it up – Entertain with animal-inspired tableware, tablecloths, napkins and/or table runners for a dinner party a la Out of Africa. Kitchen gadgets sporting glossy black and white cow-print and rooster-esque themes are also readily available. Think classic over kitsch in this department – it can be done.

5 Opt for something ‘unusual’ – Spots and stripes are great, but there are plenty of other species to add to your print collection, like giraffe, tortoiseshell or snakeskin. Or surprise with an unexpected colour, like a blue zebra-stripe covering a chair or a Pop-Art cow peering at you from a couch cushion.

6 Get comfy – Sheepskin is luxuriously soft and a winning choice for fuzzy-ing up a barstool or cushion on a guestroom bed.

7 Layer it – Use an animal-print rug in an entrance hall for a bold statement or a runner on the stairs. Or rest a small hide on top of a big, natural-fibre area rug for a play on layering and texture. Large-scale animal prints work especially well on the floor.

8 Choose faux – It goes without saying that faux fur and hides appeal to home decorators who want to stay animal-friendly. And it is possible for faux to look natural if you stick to rules such as using creamy hues or mottled tones over stark white or flat grey. Also, opt for items that have longer hair. Real animal hides can be difficult to clean, so they’re best displayed somewhere in the home that’s low on traffic.

How would you use animal print in your home? Share your ideas here…

Images: Ardmore Design