Home Improvement

RL Picks: Faux Animal Fabric for your Home

How do you welcome the wild without killing the beast? Try animal hide replacements and patterned fabrics for your furniture!

Photography: Jun Pinzon Styling: Carlo Vergara

With the trend tides flowing towards bold and brash animal skins and patterns, there are PETA-friendly alternatives that mimic the look and feel of the originals. Faux animal skins in the form of synthetic leather or animal-print fabrics are also more versatile and affordable in terms of material treatment -- it can be turned into throws, upholstery, pillowcases and it can even be wrapped entirely around a whole piece of furniture, like a table.

(in photo)

Embossed Crocodile Skin

Authentic croc skin, typically of saltwater crocodile, is graded according to the size of the belly, the markings, and flawlessness (it must have no cuts or blemishes). Similar to snakeskin, dyed faux croc fabric is crafted from suede vinyl and has polyester or cotton-polyester backing. The characteristic croc pattern is embossed to recreate the real thing. 


It is quite difficult to produce a flawless hide from zebras because they often retain marks. Though there are real Zebra hides (often made into rugs), most of the black and white striped print fabrics available are faux and are made of cotton, rayon, or a cotton duck base cloth. Fabrics can go from thick to sheer.

Read the original article ("Run, Don't Hide") in the October 2008  issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details.  



Natural cowhides vary in size and color -- depending on the bovine breed -- and have a soft texture caused by leaving the skin on in the course of tanning. The most popular sort sports the usual black or brown spots, and whole hides are used as dramatic area rugs. Faux ones come in different hues and more playful prints, but not all are durable enough to be used as a rug.



Mink, a semi-aquatic weasel, produces fur that is lush, has long pile, and gives warmth which is why it is commonly used as a coat. It is also a prized fabric for indoor use, especially as bed or sofa throws, because it drapes well. 


Known as a popular brand of synthetic leather, Naugahyde was originally marketed as hide of "Nauga" animal -- which is said to voluntarily shed their skin -- originating from Sumatra. Over the years, Naugahyde or Nauga has been interchangeably used to mean artificial leather or leatherette. This material, said to be durable because of its vinyl coating, is a popular choice for seat coverings and upholstered furniture.   


This is perhaps the most popular fabric among the cat family, which includes cheetah and leopard. The real thing costs a fortune, but synthetic versions also have an impressive golden yellow and black pattern imprinted on polyester cotton weave or woven jacquard. 



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