Tame leopards, cheetahs and tigers with a handful of tips and inspirations on how to decorate with animal prints. These patterns can really put you in touch with exotic splendor while making your space look chic and trendy.
A lot of people avoid animal prints like the plague, and it’s not a completely illegitimate fear. Perhaps no other decorating theme has a greater potential for tackiness and the overkill effect. Nevertheless, when used with care, animal prints can add a subtle touch of class to an interior or make a powerful statement that suffices for the entire room’s embellishment.
If you’ve been thinking of introducing a little safari vibe to your home, but are not 100% sure how you are going to feel about animal patterns and whether you can make a long-term relationship at all, use the policy of small steps.
Breaking the ice
If you have absolutely no experience with animal prints, it is obvious that you might be afraid of a dramatic impact and overdoing the whole thing. The best way to make friends with patterns is to use subtle, desaturated color schemes first and give yourself some time to see how you feel about the change.
If you find the effect overwhelming already at this point, think twice whether you want to go any further. It is therefore wise to start with modifications that can be reversed with little effort such as adding throw pillows, lampshades, curtains or accessories that only partly employ animal prints.
Image source: Marie Burgos Design
Image source: Chango & Co.
Image source: O’Reilly-DePalma
Once you established you tolerate animal prints well, it is time for something a little more expressive. Hold the horses, though. The rule of instant reversibility still applies, so accent chairs and throw pillows are your best bet. Don’t yet reupholster the sofa or go for full-scale zebra print wall art in the bedroom. Keep the additions explicit enough to enjoy, but not large enough to disrupt the eye.
Image source: Jessica Lagrange Interiors
Image source: Mary McDonald
Image source: Ashley Goforth Design
Image source: SummerHouse
Let’s go bold!
For those fancying big and bold décor, animal prints are an ideal choice. Use them rather centrally so as not to visually distort room’s proportions and pair them with solids to balance out the boldness. Large animal prints used in area rugs do a fabulous job of tying up the elements of the room and framing conversation or dining sections. They instantly define open floor plans and fuse energy into simple white and black color schemes.
Image source: Best Living Room Designs
Image source: Pamba Boma
Image source: HomesDIR
Image source: Pamba Boma
Mixing it up
Stripes, polka dots, flowers and leopard spots together? There’s no reason why the eclectic approach should exclude animal prints. The easiest thing to do to avoid chaos and kitsch is to unite patterns with color and keep the prints moderate in size, but it is by no means the only way.
Mixing various patterns and colors can produce a stunning effect and it doesn’t necessarily take a professional decorator to accomplish that. Purchase pieces gradually, one at a time, and expand the room as long as you feel comfortable with the additions. To be on the safe side, make sure there’s enough solid color and plain accessories around to maintain balance.
Image source: Tara Seawright
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Image source: InteriorHolic
Image source: Freshome
Wanna go extreme? Well, there’s just one tip: make sure you go for good quality and – just in case – that your budget can handle extreme redecoration twice.
Image source: Monpere Decor
Image source: Bisazza