A clock with each hour represented by an animal, a footstool shaped like a dog and an umbrella stand that resembles an owl: there is something enduringly popular about accessories and furniture inspired by animals.
The effects can be as kitschy as they are elegant; not everyone might appreciate the quirkiness of the rabbit-shaped Hippity-Hop Lamp from Anthropologie (US$88; anthropologie.com) but it's hard to resist the appeal of Dwell Studio's Peacock pillow (US$58; dwellstudio.com).
The Jungle Store (thejunglestore.com) has tapestry pillows embroidered with images of lambs, tiger-print mouse pads and leopard-print inflatable chairs. For proponents of fung shui, animal-themed accessories and ornaments are believed to bring good luck. According to believers, any representation of dogs, bears, tigers, horses, turtles and fish protects the home and its inhabitants. Small figurines are said to shield the household from misfortune and illness and attract wealth.
Still, those who appreciate animal-themed home accents for purely aesthetic reasons have plenty to choose from. British designer Stephen Johnson uses 100 per cent recycled aluminium to create his Wonderland range of candleholders for Artecnica (artecnica.com). Variations include rabbits, birds (below right) and horses, and all come in matte white. They retail for US$89 each and can be bought through Generate (gnr8.biz).
MollaSpace (mollaspace.com) is a design collective based in Los Angeles and Japan. Its animal clocks, made up of intricately carved foliage surrounded by animal 'hours', are frivolous and fun. Other ice-breakers are its black shot glasses (US$23 each) featuring the head of a moose (below left), rhino or deer. The glasses, which are designed to rest on the horns, ears and noses of their respective animals, also function as candleholders and paperweights.