Year of the Tiger – Decor and Gifts for the 2022 Chinese New Year

Tiger Velvet

It’s difficult to believe that it was nearly two years ago that the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and we all hunkered down at home and binge-watched “Tiger King” on Netflix. Here we are now in 2022–the actual year of the tiger!

For those not familiar, many East Asian countries observe the lunisolar calendar, which is based on the cycles of both the moon and the sun. In 2022, the Lunar New Year will be celebrated on February 1. The Chinese tradition assigns an animal to every new year on a 12-year cycle, based on the 12-year orbital cycle of the planet Jupiter. For 2022, of course, the animal is the tiger.

The Chinese zodiac can be quite complex. If you wish to know what fortune has in store for you, it is best to consult with someone familiar with the Chinese almanac. However, if you just love tigers and want to incorporate them into your home decor, read on!

Eye for the Tiger

Wild Tiger
A wild tiger in the grass. The stripes and orange fur are camouflage.

Tigers are the largest extant members of the family Felidae. They have been admired for millennia for their power and prowess and, with black stripes on orange ground, appear visually striking. No wonder, then, that tigers are a popular motif in interior design.

The most prominent use of tiger decor in interior design has to be Lee Radziwill’s famous sofa. Upholstered in Scalamandre’s “Tigre” velvet, it took pride of place in Radziwill’s New York City living room more than 50 years ago.

Lee Radziwill Tiger Velvet Sofa
A vintage Architectural Digest image of Radziwill’s Manhattan apartment, showing the famous tiger velvet sofa and stools.

Eventually, the well-worn sofa was passed down to Radziwill’s daughter-in-law, Carole, who ultimately had it reupholstered in blue fabric. Apparently, she was quoted $50,000 to have it reupholstered in the “Tigre” velvet!

Carole Radziwill Tiger Sofa
A screen capture from Bravo’s “Real Housewives of New York” showing Carole Radziwill sitting on the famous tiger sofa. As you can see from the rips, at this stage the sofa had seen better days.
Tiger Velvet Sofa
Another image of Carole Radziwill’s tiger velvet sofa.

Now, there are many purveyors of tiger velvet fabric. Scalamandre itself offers two versions of its famous “Tigre”: one in silk and one in viscose. Bevilacqua, Brunschwig and Fils, Clarence House, Le Manach, Nobilis and others also offer some version of tiger velvet. Still, recreating the famous tiger sofa will set you back many thousands of dollars.

Are there other ways to incorporate tigers into your decor without paying the equivalent of a year’s tuition at Harvard College? Absolutely! Here, I have compiled a list of my favorite items to help you celebrate the year of the tiger:

Tibetan tiger rugs are a perennial design favorite. The stylized tiger gives a mysterious and playful air to interiors. USD $1450 at Tiger Tiger.
Tiger Head Jug
Quail Ceramics in the UK is well-known for their fun animal jugs. This tiger jug will make your morning coffee routine more adventurous! GBP £29 at Quail Ceramics.
Limoges Porcelain Red Tiger
If you’re looking for a Lunar New Year gift, this Limoges porcelain tiger would surely do! Handcrafted and painted in lucky red, it will inspire you throughout the year. USD $425 at Gump’s.
Wool Tiger Rug
Bring out your home’s wild side with the wool tiger rug from Doing Goods’ “Tapis Amis” line. USD $255.00 at Doing Goods.
Anthropologie Tiger Towel
Drying dishes won’t be a chore when you use this tiger dish towel. USD $20 at Anthropologie.
John Robshaw Tiger Pillow
This pillow from John Robshaw features a beautiful Indian illustration of a prowling tiger. Each pillow is hand-painted in Jaipur. USD $180 at John Robshaw.
Painted Tiger Tray
This wild iron tray from Les Ottomans will look beautiful on your coffee table or hanging on your wall. This ferocious tiger is depicted in a style reminiscent of Korean art. USD $180 at Amara.
Halcyon Days Tiger Box
If you need your trinkets and special mementos to be well-guarded, opt for the “Tiger Prestige Box” from Halcyon Days. This hand-crafted enamel box is quite stunning with its black background and a determined, pacing tiger prominently featured on the lid. Open it up to read the first stanza of William Blake’s famous 18th-century poem, “The Tyger.” USD $1350 at Halcyon Days.

Any of these beautiful decorative items will have you roaring in the lunar new year, but when it comes to interiors, the tiger is timeless.


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