Good day, design friends! Peggi here. Happy August! Summer has been especially scorching recently, so I hope you are maintaining your cool. Despite the disrespectful temperatures, I love August because it’s my birthday month! For a fun nod to Leo season, I thought we could discuss lions in design. We’ve already chatted snakes and birds, so why not the king of the jungle? Because lions symbolize courage, pride, and strength, their likeness boasts a long history of cultural and religious associations and numerous distinct forms. From subtle to bold, I found lions to suit every space and taste. Click through if you’d like to see how this stately beast might grace your home.
Ancient Rome, Chinese temples, Trafalgar Square. Scotland, France, Sri Lanka. You won’t encounter lions native to any of these locales, yet you can find the big cats majestically wrought in marble or bronze and emblazoned on national flags and royal crests alike. For thousands of years, people have sought to invoke and embody feline ferocity.
Since you’re probably not in the market for a 2-ton bronze lion statue, check out the collage to see some alternatives I gathered. (If you are in the market for a 2-ton bronze lion statue…jealous.)
Click right on the images to be redirected to the source, or use the numbered links below to shop my finds.
01: zoffany wallpaper // 02: vintage brass lion bookends // 03: classic lion head planter // 04: brass lion head wall hook // 05: vintage green glass lion // 06: lion floor doorstop // 07: cast iron lion towel ring // 08: lion candle snuffer // 09: vintage lion rug // 10: vintage toothpick holder // 11: wedgwood lion pin tray // 12: lion head mug // 13: gucci forks // 14: vintage brass paperweight // 15: stylized lion pillow // 16: brass lion door handles // 17: vintage lion bottle opener // 18: art deco lion print // 19: foo lion cocktail napkins // 20: vintage wedgwood card holder // 21: brass planter with lion head handles //
How’s that for a pretty pride of lions? I’m tempted to rave about every single item, but I’ll focus on just a few. First, let me confess that #13 is, in fact, a $600 pair of Gucci lion head forks. What can I say? Leos dream big. On the more realistic end of the spectrum, we have #5, a vintage Avon cologne decanter! (that I might secretly snag for myself…) I’m gaga for that green glass. Numbers 17 and 19 would raise the swank factor of any bar situation; add #10 to hold cocktail picks or matches. Finally, I adore #4! The lion’s regal countenance, plus the swish of tail for the hook? Stop. What about you? Any favorites?
In case you’re still unsure of incorporating lions into your decor, please note that three of these images are from Sarah’s home. What’s more refined and timeless than that? These examples illustrate subtle, classic applications like brass drawer pulls and carved wooden embellishments. (Congratulating myself for grabbing that concrete planter from the Tuesday Made shop before it sold out!) Other understated possibilities include small brass figurines or a pair of foo lions. How about a special doorstop (#6) or a pretty mug (#12)? Even if you prefer quieter gestures, this motif can work for you.
If you came for the drama though, I got you! Ha. That vintage lion rug (#9)? Presence, baby. It was made for an extravagant closet or dressing room. For some enveloping excitement, say yes to wallpaper. I actually think the Zoffany paper in the collage reads as a stately damask. For a definite dose of kaboom, try this! Of course, my favorite way to make a statement…art! I’ve been hunting for a vintage, somewhat primitive, original painting like the one in the House and Garden space above. No luck yet sadly, but I also dig this tapestry. (And what a steal!) So, are you ready to roar?
Unlike other design elements we’ve discussed, lions naturally lend themselves to exterior use. In fact, surely the earliest iterations were statues. Not every property wants a huge stone fountain, but maybe a modest wall spout would work. In lieu of a water feature, all manner of planters adorned with lions are readily available. You’re sure to find the perfect size and style. Fill one with some lion’s tail for a colorful and cheeky display.
Inside or outdoors. Sophisticated or cool. Classic brass, timeless chinoiserie or stylized midcentury. So many options! What do you think? Can you envision a little leonine loveliness making its way into your home? Any fellow Leos out there? Happiest of birthday months to you! As always, I love to hear your thoughts and ideas, so pop in to the comments below! Until next time.