Attention, Maximalists: This Is the New-Old Way to Do Animal Print

published Aug 30, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Animal prints have always been a popular choice in interior design. They work well with a mix of design styles, but they also feel unexpected and adventurous, which is what makes them such a versatile choice. Leopard spots, zebra stripes, and even cow spots have all had their moment, and they never seem to fully go out of style. The latest animal print that’s rising in popularity again? The tortoise pattern. Dating back to ancient Greek and Roman times, tortoise became popular in home design when people used actual tortoise shells — along with other animal pelts and skins — for decoration. 

Luckily, in this resurgence, tortoise patterns aren’t made out of actual shells. Instead, this mottled pattern uses gold and brown liberally to fake the look in a way that almost resembles a leopard spot. Fresh and modern, the warm tones work well in more minimalist and maximalist settings alike. 

The tortoise shell pattern shines in tabletop items like barware and dining pieces, but it can also be found in other decorative accents and even accessories like eyeware and shoes. I’ve rounded up 10 of my favorite tortoise shell pieces that you can use to incorporate the classic animal print in your home. I promise — it’ll work in almost any style home. 

1 / 10
Williams Sonoma
was $59.95

Dress up your dining table with a tortoise charger. What’s great about these oversized plates is that you can layer them underneath your everyday dinnerware, adding warmth to any table setting. Plus, they’re made out of long-lasting acrylic, so you can use them frequently without worrying about chips or cracks.

2 / 10
West Elm

Another great way to incorporate the tortoise shell pattern on your table is by using tortoise drinking glasses. These designs from West Elm are available in both a double Old-Fashioned and a larger tumbler-style glass, and you can buy them in a set of four or eight.

3 / 10
World Market

Yet another way to incorporate tortoiseshell into your tablescape is as a centerpiece. This patterned glass pumpkin will have you ready for fall and can be mixed and matched with so many different linens and plate designs. It’d also look beautiful on a mantel, shelf, or coffee table.

4 / 10

This tortoise-inspired glass vase is perfect for decorating a console table, shelf, or mantel. It’s available in 10-inch and 14-inch sizes and looks just as good empty as it does full of fresh blooms.

5 / 10
was $175.00

Complete with a glass tumbler and four patterned martini glasses, this set will look great on top of any bar cart. Plus, you’ll feel like a fancy mixologist when you invite your friends over for drinks. The set makes a nice gift, too.

6 / 10
Neiman Marcus

You can never have too many coasters, and these adorable Kim Seybert resin coasters are no exception. They come in a set of six and have a holder to keep them together when not in use. I’ve never seen a cuter way to protect your table from water rings.

7 / 10

This wall-mounted mirror is as chic as it is functional. Hang it above an entryway table or a dresser in your bedroom. It’s an easy way to add a subtle touch of tortoiseshell in any room. The best part? The arched top makes it look high-end, but it’s under $100.

8 / 10

If you’re looking for a more prominent way to feature the tortoise pattern in your home, try this tortoiseshell wallpaper. Available in peel-and-stick, prepasted, non-pasted, and grasscloth varieties, this pattern is perfect for creating an accent wall (or even lining the whole room, if you’re feeling bold).

9 / 10

This tiny Tortoise Shell Resin Nesting Bowl can be used for just about anything, including serving nuts or olives alongside charcuterie, storing trinkets, and decorating open shelves. The neutral brown color can be used almost anywhere, too. I’d try the smallest one bedside to corral rings and bracelets.

10 / 10
was $91.99

Bring the tortoiseshell trend into your office or bedroom with a table lamp. Just 8 inches tall, this petite glass design comes with a built-in LED light and is the perfect accessory for your desk, nightstand, or anywhere else that needs an extra pop of pattern.