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This Animal Print Trend Is Taking Over But We’re Not Mad About It

Happy hump day friends!! We’re here to chat about the latest animal-inspired trend that’s popping into our homes in 2023: the tortoise shell. Now I could’ve seen this one coming given the fact that leopards and leopard print have been on the rise for the last few years. The tortoise shell is a similar color way and pattern but it feels slightly more new, fresh, and modern in the year 2023. I’m not sure why but I LOVE animal motifs in design, so this is right on the money for me. I bought some tortoise shell decor a few months back and I must say it is a controversial trend in my household. I found two of these vintage candle votives at Big Daddy’s Antiques (thank god I bought two because I dropped one and broke it a mere two weeks after purchasing but what’s new). Here’s what the last one standing looks like:

I am a HUGE fan but my boyfriend is confused by the tortoise shell pattern. I’ll admit it’s specific and certainly not for everyone. Also note in the above photo I put a tea light in there but once it ran out of juice I swapped it to a battery operated candle and I am in love. I love having candles in the house at all times so this is my “backup candle” for when I run out of real ones and am desperate for ambiance. It works great! I also recently realized that I purchased a phone case that’s tortoise shell and I’m also thinking of getting this apple watch band. Too much?? Turns out I’m a tortoise shell addict and it might be getting out of hand.

Now this trend is most common in glassware, but I’ve recently seen it expand to furniture, lamps, coasters and all sorts of other items. Because it goes hand and hand with glass materiality, one of my favorite ways I’ve seen this trend incorporated in the home is in the dining room. If you’re having a dinner party and are in need of some fun new dishes, glasses or coasters, here’s are some fun ways you can add tortoise shell decor to your table, starting with this cute placemat styling by CB2:

via cb2


I love the red undertones of these placemats and think it’s such a chic and subtle pattern addition to a dining table. If placemats aren’t your thing I love some of the tortoise glassware (linked below) in a table setting. Or for an even more subtle accent coasters are great too. It’s all really good, here’s what we love for the dining room:

  1. Glass Set | 2. Nesting Bowls | 3. Coasters | 4. Wine Glasses | 5. Double Old Fashioned Glass | 6. Charger

Another cute way to add tortoise shell decor to your home is through vases and lamps. There are SO many good ones on the market, and a lot of them have expanded colorways and designs beyond the classic black and brown pattern. Here are some very cool vases styled by Anthropologie so you can get a sense on how to bring these into your home:


Want more options?? Here, let me show ya some of our favorites!!

  1. Chairish Vintage Vase | 2. Square Glass Lamp | 3. Small Glass Vase | 4. A & B Glass Vase | 5. DWR Vase | 6. Ansel Glass Table Lamp

Aren’t these so cute?? I MUST give an honorable mention to this vintage tortoise shell mirror as well (proof that this trend has been around for a while, but is just coming back around the course)!! How cool is this?? It’s $4,000 so certainly out of my price range but man it’s fun to look at πŸ™‚

Tortoise Shell Mirror

I am in love. So what do you guys think? Are you sold? Comment below if this trend is a hit or miss for you, we’d love to chat! Xx

Opening Image Credit: via Anthropologie

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1 year ago

Certainly not for everyone, but I definitely see the appeal. It reads more refined than typical animal print.
P.S. Would you please, please tell me where you got that wall double candle holder from? It’s absolutely perfect.

1 year ago
Reply to  LJ

Thank you so much! Apparently you’re better at the Google than I am, I even tried a Google image search to no avail πŸ™‚

1 year ago

I like it. Does not seem that new to me- but at 60 I have seen alot of things come and go. What I am taking note of is the brown that is slowly making its way in….the Anthropologie mantle…really soothing and beautiful …but I think brown is not my decorating cup of tea…..

1 year ago

Love tortoise shell. I’m a fan!

1 year ago

I’m almost 44 years old and have reached the age where I am SO AWARE of returning trends. I loved tortoise shell in my late teens and early 20s . . . and here I am again . . . still loving it.

1 year ago

I don’t think I like it in dishware but the tortoiseshell vases and candle holders look lovely.

Roberta Davis
1 year ago

I’m not opposed to it. If I found a certain thing in tortoise print that I just loved, I’d get it. So far, only eye glasses! πŸ™‚

1 year ago

Not sure if you meant to link to the Machete Apple Watch bands, but I am here to fan girl for them. They have several tortoiseshell color ways. I have the mango, which is a light golden and not too yellow. It’s also currently on sale. My sister opted for the blonde tortoise, which I think is one of their most popular. They also have a ‘classic.’ While I do wish they were a little cheaper (sigh) they are absolutely high quality, with the perfect blend of lightness and sheen. I was worried they would seem too plastic and some of the solid colors may be. But their patterns are very nice.

1 year ago
Reply to  Michelle

Yess I love my Machete bands!! I agree that the price feels high at purchase but I’ve tried the Amazon dupes and the quality difference was surprisingly noticeable, so I think it’s worth it for something I wear every day. I keep an alert set on Poshmark to snag the “fun” colors for around 50% off. πŸ™‚

Shannon L.
1 year ago

This kinda just reminds me of blown glass in a specific colorway. On a side note, I’ve been wearing tortoiseshell hair clips and sunglasses for YEARS.

1 year ago

I’ve always felt like tortoise shell is Manhattan and leopard print is Long Island. Both are excellent options!

1 year ago

Love these designs! I really like the subtle animal print rather than having one that is too loud.

πŸ₯° Rusty
1 year ago

I’ve always been a tortoise shell fan; it goes with strawberry blonde colouring.😏
Sunglasses, hair slides, etc.
The only tortoise shell I do not like is ACTUAL tortoise shells, for obvious reasons.
The original antique vases and vessels are worth a lot of money and these new reproductions are pretty good.
Thiumbs up from me, though it never really went ‘out’ of fashion.πŸ‘πŸ˜Š

1 year ago

I’ve always loved this pattern, but I’ve never seen it in dishware – a little goes a long way, but it’s very chic.

1 year ago

I appreciate the giggle this morning from a twenty-semething sharing this “new” trend. Reminds me of when my teens discover a “new” artist they have to share with me (INXS and Eric Clapton most recently). I’m delighted every time. Maybe we can agree to call it rediscovering a classic?

1 year ago

Ahhh, yet another trend post. More sourced photos and links, I’m loosing my mind over here. What happened to the people who are actually creating and designing. Please!!

πŸ₯° Rusty
1 year ago
Reply to  Bethany

Trend posts are fast and easy to write with virtually no overheads (design lead time, real products, physical effort, travel, photo shoots, etc.) and the SEO-focused titles still creare clicks = profit.

πŸ₯° Rusty
1 year ago


1 year ago


1 year ago

Love tortoiseshell on eyeglasses and hair clips when it appears as a simple gradation change. Unfortunately when I see it on a larger scale (vases, dishware) it reminds me so much of the patterns that mold/bacteria make on petri dishes and on expired food. I can’t be the only one?

1 year ago

Been around in the very high end for a while now.

1 year ago

Oh hell yeah I love tortoiseshell. I love it in its original brown colorway, but also in other colors. It’s like the terrazzo of plastics and glass

Lynn W
1 year ago

I love tortoise shell!! I have the watch band for my Apple Watch and it looks great with the rose gold case.
I have one tall vase and a shorter round vase that I’ve had for years Love using them throughout the year. Either just together with nothing in them or with an arrangement. Classic!

1 year ago

Would you pls share where your lamp is from ? Thanks

Katrina Hazelhurst
1 year ago

I love tortoiseshell but usually use paint effects to create the same look on decor items at a fraction of the cost. It looks very effective on picture frames, mirror frames and lampshade bases.

Cici Haus
1 year ago

Tortoise shell is absolutely my favorite animal print buuuuut none of these are hitting the mark for me

1 year ago

Animal print lover here so this is right up my street. Just wanted to clarify that the mirror you shared isn’t vintage – it’s available made to order from Fleur Home in a collab with Chairish.

1 year ago

i love tortoiseshell! though i must admit, i never thought of it as an animal print until this post haha