This Lighting Trend is Whimsical and Just a Little Bit Wild

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Emily Billings)

Lighting doesn’t have to be so serious all the time. I mean, don’t get it twisted. Lamps, pendants, sconces—they all still need to be functional, but if you can find something that looks cute and might get a chuckle or two from a houseguest, while still dutifully illuminating an area, I’m sold. And so, I bring you the latest trend to check all of those boxes: Animal lamps.

To be fair, animal lights have been around for a few years now, probably an extension of the brass animal decorative object phenomenon that was the early 2010s. But what started as just bunnies and elephants as table lamp bases—common nursery fodder—has morphed into a full blown menagerie of wild and domesticated species, some not even intended for kid spaces. And these days, alongside gold and brass finishes, you can find white or colored ceramic animal lamps out there too.

For maximum quirkiness, many of the latest lamps either aren’t showing their full animal faces or bodies—heads are “stuck” in the shades, with only ears popping through. Or the trunk of the animal’s body is eclipsed by the shade, head where a finial would normally be and the legs as the base.

So where can you use one of these guys? Just about anywhere you want a little whimsy. Many models are tabletop size, meaning they’re great as nightstand lamps. Kids’ rooms are a natural fit, but if you’re an animal person and one of these will make you smile, why not add a critter lamp to your bedroom mix?

You could also try one on a living room side table or sideboard.

They’re cute on consoles too, whether in front of a window or right in an entry.

Some of the taller, more oversized versions tend to long-legged birds or giraffes. Both of these animals would work well as floor lamps, so that may be the next iteration of this trend. That or animal sconces, which are starting to pop up too.

Want to snag one of these lamps for your house? These picks are perfect for all kinds of animal lovers.

(Image credit: grandinroad)

Global-inspired, gold and over two feet tall, you can’t go wrong with this large scale giraffe lamp. You can even chose a black-and-white striped shade to up the glam factor.

(Image credit: Target)

An all-white whimsical design that’s easy on the wallet, if you aren’t ready to double down on this trend.

(Image credit: West Elm)

Yep, that’s a golden duck body attached to this white shade, created by artist Rachel Koslowski in collaboration with West Elm. This guy kinda reminds me of a “Donald Duck” cartoon and would be great, due to its small size, for a bedside table.

(Image credit: World Market)

You can’t go wrong with 2018’s animal of the year—a llama— in gilded lamp form. Pair it with any of the small, mix-and-match colorful shades that World Market stocks.

(Image credit: Target)

Because unicorns had to get in on the animal lamp fun too.

(Image credit: Anthropologie)

The chicest take in this trend—a slim flamingo animal lamp that’s perfect for a sideboard or entry console.

(Image credit: Beautiful Halo)

Any of the dog-obsessed people in your life will flip for these cute, lifelike puppy lamps.

(Image credit: PB Teen)

For a tween girl no doubt, but I’d use it on my dresser.

(Image credit: Jonathan Adler)

The OG of animal figural lamps, Jonathan Adler, pushes things to the next level by creating a giraffe sconce.