I recently spent a week in Germany’s Bavaria area, where one of the dominant themes is that the lion — a central figure in the Bavarian coat of arms as the 1600s. I’ve always loved these kingly creatures, and all the statues, flags, porcelain figurines and other pieces bearing their likeness left me wondering why I’ve never made them a part of my decoration.
Lions have a masculine appeal that is balanced with their grace and royal elegance, along with the combo lends a dash of visually exotic taste. As I scheme about how to give my house a leonine elevator, here are 10 starting points I’ll be considering.
Martha O’Hara Interiors
1. Go funky. Sometimes all it takes is just one key accent piece to set the tone for a space. The deep purple lion sculpture gives this room a totally whimsical spin and provides a flourish of colour that revs the neutral palette. Have a look at the claw-style feet on the chair, too — this kind of meticulous attention to detail is part of what makes great design good.
Cabinet Studio, Inc..
2. Go layered. Lions preen within this kitchen cooktop, in the top and lower corbels on the range hood to the brass statuette directly on the center ledge. One of those elements by itself might have gone unnoticed, but grouped together, they make an impact in an unobtrusive yet unforgettable manner.
Julie Ranee Photography
3. Go playful. From the Cowardly Lion to The Lion King, those beasts are woven through the crazy quilt of children’ pop culture. This shape, cut from background, presides atop a library cupboard. A set of candles wrapped in precisely the same paper picks up the routine.
Michael Abrams Limited
4. Go crude. Lions are not always about flowing manes and ferocious golden eyes. A set of roughly hewn sculptures in an otherwise sleek dining room provides an arresting contrast and captures the raw energy of those animals.
5. Go subtle. As if the high-gloss Prussian blue paint weren’t sufficient of a knockout on this rehabbed dresser, the homeowner added one more decadent touch: little lion’s head pulls, which lend a high note of panache and presence.
6. Go dignified. If you didn’t inherit a family schloss in the Alps, do the next best thing and pretend it. The lion-shaped inset in this iron stair rail stakes a claim to a bit of old-world history — even if you’ve never followed your origins farther than the Seattle suburbs.
Christopher A Rose AIA
7. Go bold. Giant animal portraits have a tendency to polarize people: You either love them or you don’t. Whichever side of the fence you fall on, there’s no denying that this full-front fellow dominates the corridor with a suitably regal atmosphere.
Margeaux Interiors – Margaret Skinner
8. Go leggy. Why pay for a dull table base? A trio of lion’s paws onto a side table shows your sassy side without being on the top.
Glenna Partridge Garden Design
9. Go natural. A real lion peeking from a planter gives this garden some surprise. Backlit from sunlight, it arouses the impression of its own real-life counterpart basking in crazy grasslands.
10. Go stylized. Guardian lions, better known as foo dogs in certain places, are a traditional part of Chinese culture for millennia. These lamps signify a cheeky, modern spin on the habit which falls in step with the area’s unorthodox palette and eclectic mix of furnishings.
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