Decorating with Animal Prints

Decorating with Animal Prints
Whether you love zebra, leopard or tiger, there’s no need to become a big game hunter or travel on safari to decorate with animal prints. These bold patterns are neutral enough to match any color scheme, natural enough to work with most décor and striking enough to make a statement with even a small touch. The key is to keep your animal prints under control. Go too far and your look will be tacky, not tasteful. So go ahead and try one, two or three of the following ideas in your décor. You’ll love the way animal prints add a touch of funky fun and wild whimsy.

Rugs: It’s hard to go wrong with the classic style of a zebra-striped rug. The bold black-and-white pattern lights up a roomful of neutrals, works with brights and adds zip to a traditional decorating theme. Try it in a child’s room in a playful color mix of black stripes with red, blue, green or pink instead of the usual white.

Upholstery: Animal-print upholstery combines the best of many styles. It has retro flair, a contemporary feel, gives a nod to English Colonial style and manages to look whimsical yet serious at the same time. If you’re bold, cover your couch in leopard, tiger or zebra. Turn it down a notch by covering your dining room chairs with animal print, or further down with a single chair gone wild.

Bedding: In the bedroom, go wild with an animal print bedspread. Tiger, zebra, leopard or even giraffe add a powerful punch to your room. If you don’t want to cover the bed entirely in animal, look for a comforter that mixes solid stripes or trim with the animal print. Another option is toning down the look with a solid comforter against animal-print sheets, shams or bed skirt. Add a few toss pillows for fun.

Walls: It’s not a look for the faint of heart, but if you really love animal, consider painting a wall or two in a zebra or tiger stripe. This is a really fun look for a teen bedroom, a small powder room or a focal point wall in a contemporary living room. You can achieve the look with wallpaper if painting is too intimidating.

Accessories: The easiest way to bring animal print into your décor is with a few accessories. Don’t turn your home into a zoo; just choose a few accent pieces.
  • Throw pillows

  • Toss blanket

  • Light fixtures

  • Picture frames

  • Framed artwork

  • Lampshades

  • Collectibles

  • Cabinet knobs

  • Accent trim on furniture

  • Curtains or valances

You can find wonderful animal print accessories at discount department stores, HomeGoods and similar stores, flea markets or thrift shops. With paint, wallpaper or fabric, you can even create your own inexpensive animal décor. Take a little walk on the wild side with your favorite animal print and see how it excites your decorating style. Remember that decorating is all about having fun and creating the look YOU love the most. There are no hard and fast rules, just general decorating suggestions and guidelines.

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