Don’t Be Afraid of: Animal Prints

Leopard print banquette

Leopard print rug

Injecting graphic pattern throughout a home is a delightful way of bringing life, personality and a little joyfulness into a space. And if you’ve been shopping with us for a while, you probably already know that one of our favorite go-to patterns is animal print. But what you may not know is that animal prints, like leopard or cheetah, don’t have to be loud to make a statement. They’re actually one of the easiest prints to incorporate into almost any decor scheme. So if you’re looking to take a walk on the wild side, follow our lead.

Flannel leopard bedding

Our Leopard Flannel Bedding adds a touch of whimsy to this serene bedroom. We consider leopard a neutral, so we love to mix it with other patterns. The key is balancing the scale of the prints to keep it pleasing to the eye, as we did here. The smaller leopard pattern contrasts nicely with the large-scale print of the rug. By keeping the background of both patterns an off-white that blends easily with the neutral wall color, the overall effect is very cohesive and calming.

Leopard rug paired with striped wallpaper

Yes, you can let animal prints into your most formal spaces. The soft texture and subtle color of our Celine Cheetah Rug sets a beautiful foundation for the feminine silhouettes of the seating. We repeated the same concept as we did in the bedroom above by pairing the the small-scale print with the bold stripes of our Canopy Stripe Wallpaper.

Banquette upholstered in leopard

Feeling adventurous? We covered our banquette in Leo Brown Fabric by the Yard for a fun and funky touch in this dining room. Grounded by a neutral rug, the belgian oak-finished trestle table and white walls, it doesn’t overwhelm the space. The geometric weave of the bistro chairs brings a nice balance to the pattern while adding an extra dose of sophistication.

Leopard slipcovers on parsons chairs

If you’re looking for less commitment, slipcovers are your answer. Dressy details, like pleats or skirts, really amp up the fun and flirty factor of the pattern.

Leopard bedding paired with traditional rug

You’ve heard the old saying before, but opposites really do attract. Here, we paired our playful leopard bedding with a more formal and traditional Persian-style rug — and it works. We also like the contrast of the neutral bedding and whitewash finish of the furniture against the bold chocolate hue of the wall.

For more design inspiration, visit our Pinterest Boards, or find more gorgeous rooms in our Photo Gallery

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    February 23, 2015

    I want the Celine cheetah rug in cream so bad! I’m worried if it will go ok with my ballard chair. I have a plain Ivory chesterfield sofa & the Thurston wing chair in document brown. Can the document brown fabric & cheetah rug work? The rest of the room is pretty neutral with some splashes of red. Thanks!

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      February 27, 2015

      Hi Laura,
      Thanks for your comment. We know how difficult it is to match things together. We actually offer a free service where our Design Solutions team can help you bring pieces together to create a cohesive space. Simply complete this form, and we’ll reach out to you. Don’t forget to include photos of your space with the form!
      We look forward to hearing from you,
      The How to Decorate Team

  2. Reply


    January 12, 2015

    Can you tell me about the ” zebra” fabric” shown on the website upholstering the Louisa canopy bed? How can I order a swatch of that? It was not listed under the fabric selection on line. Thank you kindly

    • Reply

      Caroline @ How to Decorate

      January 15, 2015

      Hi Cammy,
      Thank you so much for asking about it. Unfortunately, we no longer offer this fabric. It’s been discontinued! However, we do have a very similar Zebra fabric that is a beige color instead of a gray. Hope that helps!
      The How to Decorate Team