Home & Garden

Go into the wild with powerful animal prints

A zebra print rug adds an interesting contrast to this master bedroom.
A zebra print rug adds an interesting contrast to this master bedroom. TNS

Animal prints have long been a favorite of interior designers. Often, because of the bold nature of animal prints, many homeowners are confused or perhaps shy as to how to incorporate animal prints into their decor.

How to begin. One of the easiest and safest ways to incorporate an animal print into a space is with area rugs. As a designer, I either choose my rugs first for design, color or pattern inspiration, or last in order to tie everything together. Other ways to include animal prints: toss pillows, throws, even wall or window coverings such as wallpaper or drapery.

Coordinating colors. So you’ve settled on an animal print. Now what? As nearly all animal prints include neutral colors (e.g. black, white and brown), they are quite versatile. When working with animal prints, treat them as you would any other solid color. For example, let’s say that zebra print rug you have your eye on is black and white. Use one or both of those solid colors to help set the tone for the rest of the space. In general, white and black look great with bright colors that can be warm or cool, while colors such as cream and brown tend to look better with warm colors.

Dos and don’ts. In general, go for the patterns you love, but these guiding design tips can help your design be that much more successful.


▪ Choose a strong animal print and build a color palette around it.

▪ Mix bright colors with your animal print.

▪ Consider different types of animal prints.

▪ Use animal prints in more than one room of your home.

▪ Consider using animal prints in accent pieces such as toss pillow, throws or drapery.


▪ Be afraid to make an animal print a focal point in a space.

▪ Mix more than one animal print in a space; it tends to overwhelm.

▪ Be afraid to select an animal print in an interesting color.

▪ Create a theme around your animal print (for example, don’t bring in zebra accessory pieces just because you are using a zebra print rug).

▪ Be afraid to use animal prints, regardless of your own personal style. From traditional to modern, animal prints can be timeless.

Cathy Hobbs is an Emmy Award-winning television host and interior design and home staging expert. Contact her at info@cathyhobbs.com or visit her website at www.cathyhobbs.com.