Interior Design

8 Reasons to Love Cozy, All-Natural Sheepskin

March 28, 2016

I don’t know about you, but for me the organic luxury of fur has always been a source of undefinable enchantment. There’s something about the rich variety of texture, form, and purpose nature provides us with that never fails to captivate. Recognized for its wooly warmth and gentle pelage, sheepskin is one of my favorite design tools to bring nature’s charm into the home.

Food52 just launched a new line of humanely-raised, naturally tanned sheepskin that comes in ivory and oat—and in honor of the occasion (and even if the idea of working with sheepskin hasn’t yet crossed your mind) I'm sharing 8 reasons I love to design with it in the home.

Sheepskin...

Food52's new line of sheepskin from Farmhouse Pottery. Photo by Bobbi Lin

... works in both minimal and eclectic interiors.

As opposed to printed or woven cloth—where surrounding wall color must be carefully considered—the neutral shade of sheepskin adds instant appeal to any palette. For minimally-decorated spaces, the playful texture can instill a bit more personality to smoother, classic materials such as marble and wood, while in more spontaneous interiors, the fur’s clean color will add an element of versatile refinement to a more casual mix of color and print.

... is surprisingly resilient.

Unlike leather, sheepskin may be scratched, scuffed, or stepped on without showing many signs of use. There are also many eco-friendly, faux-fur options now available that look just like the real thing, and most sheepskin rugs can even be washed in a machine for easy upkeep.

Photo by J. Levau
Photo by Dezeen

... adapts to every season.

Although sheepskin may be thought of as primarily a wintertime accent, it can be a great design tool for warmer months as well. When it’s hot out, you’ll want less clutter in your space and more room to breathe—the quick addition of a sheepskin throw in cool beige will create enough statement and depth to fill your entire room. As the temperature drops, introduce an assortment in varying styles to add a warmer base to wooden chairs, a snug cover to sofas, and an even more welcoming idea for a welcome mat.

... comes in a shape or size for any room.

The great thing about any natural product is that each is one-of-a-kind. Though most sheepskins are petite, there are also a selection of patchworked sheepskin throws and rugs available for larger interiors. When space is limited, a small pillow or panel thrown over the arms of a chair may add just the touch of warmth you’re looking for.

Photo by David Netto Design

... is not just for rugs.

Generally thought of as a material used only underfoot, designer’s have channeled the luxurious appeal of sheepskin in creative ways. Cozy up your couch by layering on a few sheepskin pillows, or sling a plush sheepskin over an antique wooden trunk for a sophisticated storage solution.

... can work for any budget.

Even if an extravagant renovation may not be in the cards for your wallet, there are plenty of options on the market that can trick even your own bank account.

... comes in more variations than you might think.

Though we are all familiar with the fluffy white variety, sheepskins come in a wider range of styles depending on the breed. From Icelandic sheep, you can find a longer, sleeker fur in dark brown for pairing with wooden interiors, while Mongolian sheepskin is curly and less tamed, giving off vintage modern vibes.

... brings the feel of the outdoors in.

Mother nature has a lot going for her. Reel in the magic of the wilderness without the dirt and grass stains by adding a plush pillow or throw to an industrial concrete environment.

Shop Food52's brand new sheepskin from Farmhouse Pottery—in either oat or white—here.

15 Comments

John &. February 28, 2017
So sad to see your ads advocating the sale of sheep skins...We absolutely love them....ON THE SHEEP ... where they should remain. These innocent creatures should not be tortured and abused for someone's decorating pleasure.
 
Hilary H. October 21, 2016
I am so disappointed by this product. There are many better alternatives to " natural sheepskin". I love the faux she was scared I have at home and have been using it for years. Not only is it eco-friendly but actually animal friendly...Let's love sheep 🐑 and use them for their wool and not their skin. FOOD52, I would love to see gorgeous wool blankets in lieu of these sad creations😥
 
Tanya October 21, 2016
It is so easy to hide under the 'ethical meat' label. They are far from being by-products: paying for leather and sheepskin adds substantially to the slaughterhouse value of the dead animal and financially supports the meat industry. The multi-million pound leather industry is such big business it would sustain itself even if the meat industry were to end tomorrow. Face it, animal husbandry is the third largest cause of global warming. I'm glad to see all of the comments against this practice on this website. Food52, I love you, but I don't want to see emails about this type of product.
 
Andrea T. April 10, 2016
Here's a good idea. Leave the sheepskin on the sheep.
 
Kat March 31, 2016
I love this. While I detest the idea of animals being slaughtered for their fur, I support utilizing every part of the animal used for meat. As long as the animal is raised humanely and as little as possible goes to waste, that makes a whole lot more sense than throwing away parts of the animal that isn't eaten to avoid offending certain people.
 
Caitlin March 31, 2016
Wool has many amazing properties and can cool you down as well as provide warmth. It is also flame-resistant. Here is more information: http://www.sheep101.info/warmwool.html
 
Sean R. March 30, 2016
Thanks for supporting humanely-raised livestock! In our world where eating meat is a reality, it's great to find options that try to utilize the animal as a whole. Dollars spent are an active vote for a farmer who values their animal's welfare. I'm certain that you're getting flack and, thus, choosing to voice my compliments to you, Food52. :)<br /><br />If you would like to perpetuate the stereotype of veg*ns being angry, please do so....but you will make me sad.
 
Claire March 28, 2016
There are plenty of faux sheepskin options out there that don't require loss of life. <br />http://www.potterybarn.com/products/faux-sheepskin-throw/ <br />http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30229077/<br />http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=33486390
 
Maggie March 29, 2016
YAY!
 
Claire March 28, 2016
While I can't argue that sheepskin is lovely to look at, sheepskin belongs on a sheep, not in our homes as a "design element". I'm disappointed that Food52 is marketing real fur...taking the life of an animal just to "bring the feel of the outdoors in" is so unnecessary.
 
Amanda S. March 28, 2016
Hi Claire! Our new sheepskin comes from animals that are raised humanely for food—one less part gone to waste.
 
Maggie March 29, 2016
It is still an unnecessary luxury at the expense of the life of an animal. "Raised humanely" means nothing at the slaughter.
 
Claire March 30, 2016
http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/leather-is-more-than-a-by-product-of-the-meat-industry/ <br /><br />"There is an important economic interdependence between factory farming and the leather trade, and thus farmers do not sell every single part of each animal to minimize waste but instead to maximize revenue and profit. For that reason leather is an animal product much like any other: produced to meet consumer demand while lining the pockets of those within the respective businesses. In actual fact, leather accounts for approximately 10% of the animal’s total value, making it the most valuable part, pound for pound."
 
amysarah March 28, 2016
My dogs have all been big sheepskin fans. <br /><br />But for babies, I know there's been some debate, but the American Academy of Pediatrics currently warns against putting babies under 1 yr old to sleep on sheepskin: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/Pages/Preventing-SIDS.aspx (Probably ok just to lie the baby down while awake, and supervised.)
 
Roberta J. March 28, 2016
Lovely for babies too. I bought a couple for the crib and to cover hardwood floors when my son was tiny. Soft, machine washable, and just the right size. Bonus, the cat loved them too.