The resurgence of cheeky animal prints has thrown us into a feline frenzy. This past winter, we had our eye on all things tiger themed, from Gucci’s playful metal folding trays to Anthropologie’s wild wallpaper, but as we narrowed down our favorite ways to bring big cats home, one viral movement stood out: rugs.
Tiger rugs might feel new for design, but they’ve enjoyed a long history in Tibetan culture. “It’s definitely safe to say that the carpet-making industry in Tibet is hundreds if not thousands of years old,” says Alexandra Wipp, customer service manager at Dharma Shop. Designed to emulate the look of a tiger pelt, users believe that meditating on one of these handwoven carpets will shield negativity and enhance your practice. “Tigers are known to symbolize protection, kindness, confidence, and disciplined awareness, hence why they are a helpful figure for meditation,” adds Wipp.
Since the Chinese occupation, many carpet weavers from Tibet have retreated to areas in India and Nepal, where the majority of these traditional rugs are now being made. Each knot is painstakingly tied by hand (there are 100 knots per square inch). “The style of Tibetan carpets we carry are traditionally made of wool, as this material is extremely durable and long-lasting. Many of these types of rugs can be passed down from generation to generation,” shares Wipp.
The recent resurgence of jungle-themed decor has sparked a spike in tiger-shaped rugs, but this time they’re coming back with a contemporary twist. Aelfie Oudghiri of Aelfie, for instance, is translating the timeless motif to colorful backdrops, while big-box retailers like Urban Outfitters have abstracted the features to create plush bath mats. The friendly creations deliver instant charm—it’s no wonder every stylish person we know (Lourdes Hernández and Carly Jo Morgan included) has some version or another of this Instagram-worthy trend in their home.
Ahead, we rounded up our favorite feline friends at every price point.
The Patterned Predator
When a neutral jute rug just won’t do, this animalistic pick will anchor a room that’s lacking a sense of playfulness. Even while embracing your wild side, the striped backdrop keeps the look classic.
The Kiddy Cat
Turn the nursery into a real-life petting zoo with this exaggerated green version. Its fringe tail brings the two-dimensional surface to life.
The Storybook Breed
Tigger, Richard Parker…literature has gifted us many feline friends over the years. Doing Goods’s cartoon-like creation will throw you into a bout of childhood nostalgia. Go for impact in the powder room with the smaller version of this rug, or layer the larger size on top of a graphic flat-weave in the living room.
The Mat With Nine Lives
Antique Tibetan tiger rugs are hard to come by, but the unexpected details of this wool rug give it instant character. A family heirloom or online find? No one will be able to tell the difference when it’s sitting underneath the bench at the foot of your bed or next to a painted vintage dresser.
The Purrfect Conversation Starter
Handwoven in Kathmandu, Dharma Shop’s traditional Tibetan tiger rugs are an easy focal point for a bare corner.
The Party Animal
Designed in collaboration with Los Angeles–based artist Gentle Thrills, Aelfie’s electric take on the classic Tibetan tiger rug features the most compelling shade of blue. This is the only catcall we’ll answer to.
The Bath’s Meow
This fluffy snow-white mat is the next best thing to cuddling a real tiger. Step out of the shower and straight into the jungle, feeling fresh, fierce, and utterly ferocious.
The King of the Jungle Gym
Little ones will have nothing to fear from this carrot-colored companion. A fitting pick for the playroom or nursery, artist Roxy Marj’s quirky, kid-friendly creation will never bite the dust—or bite at all, for that matter.
The Eye of the Entry
Everyone knows a tiger can’t change its stripes. Embrace the animal’s stubborn ways with a runner that pays homage to the time-tested print.
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