One of the compliments by which I am most flattered is when people remark "you have a very different eye: your things just don't look like anyone else's." I might appreciate another pair of barley twist lamps or another trumeau mirror or the ubiquitous leopard rug, but do I want my interior to look like everyone else's? UNCONDITIONALLY NOT.
I think the most interesting interiors evolve over time, and the most memorable ones are those that are creative, comfortable, and have a little humor in them. After all, a finely tuned sense of humor is a sign of intelligence. I have always loved animals, but things like ceramic monkeys dancing across a mantel or a collection of tiny Herend animal figures in a huge glass curio cabinet just give me hives. Therefore, it is the one-off, interesting, and unexpected animal figures in decorating that reveal an owner's sense of artistic appreciation and humor.
Sculpture is the obvious starting point for placing an animal in an interior, though too often the starting point for many is a chinz print of an animal. Sculpture can be by a known, famous, listed artist, or a simple, but strong piece that commands attention. Another place to invoke animals is through art. And I don't mean dog portraits or horse prints, though those seem to be equally common and exhausting choices. Finally, there are furniture forms that involve and incorporate animals. We've all seen the "rustic" furniture of this sort, but occasionally a really wonderful and individual piece will surface.
The key to all of this is to be open to possibilities, and to respond to the unexpected. Your eye might take you to something unusual, but you might not make the purchase if you do not feel confident. Brush away those doubts, and feel confident in being different. Use the unexpected and incorporate an animal for a true sense of fun and surprise.