Animal Print is a Neutral

Design by Maggie Griffin

Happy Thursday! The weekend is almost here! You probably know by now that I am a firm believer that animal print is a neutral.  However, over the years I have come to find that in the interior design world it is a very polarizing topic. People either strongly oppose the use of animal print and automatically picture MTV Jersey Shore fashion or they love it and insist that adding it makes any room better. Animal print can feel daunting to use initially which can turn some people off, but don’t let that scare you away! In my opinion, the most fool-proof way to incorporate animal print into a room is to position it in a way that helps guide the eye to the space you want your guests to focus on. For example, if you have a gorgeous velvet sofa that you want to draw attention to, add an animal print throw pillow either on the sofa or a neighboring chair and it will be noticed immediately.  In turn, if you are using an animal hide rug as the center piece of a living room, don’t cover it up with a bulky coffee table.  Instead, consider an lucite one so that you can actually see and enjoy the rug. Not a lucite fan? No problem, just try to pick something that doesn’t overpower the space and look too heavy or dark. Animal print should make a statement, giving additional interest and even elegance to a space, but it definitely shouldn’t be loud. Below are a few of my favorite rooms where animal print is used masterfully and it makes my heart happy every time I see them!

Design by Allison Allen

These first two images are from the home of designer, Allison Allen. Guys, she is a genius with animal print. Did I mention she also trained with Ashley Whittaker, which explains a lot! Do you spy the Le Tigre print pillow and ottoman? She uses the natural lines of this Scalamandre tiger print to help draw your eye to the focal point the room, the fireplace. Despite how much is going on here, it looks balanced and intentional. Even the addition of animal print doesn’t make it look busy or clash with the space. If this isn’t a perfect example of animal print being a neutral, I don’t know what is!

** Not animal print related, but if you read my entertaining essentials post earlier this week you could totally use the clam shell I featured under a table like she does here.

Design by Allison Allen

Let’s quickly talk about that bedroom too. Can we all agree that this room is major bedroom goals?!  When you look at it, your first thought isn’t ‘Yikes! She used four layers of different animal print in here…’ But she did! Do you see them all? Yet somehow, everything still reads neutral. I won’t bore you with gushing over her house anymore, but you should look at her dining room chairs and their pop of cheetah in this Southern Living feature. Oh, and also check out her bar and how she somehow makes a faux white palm tree look amazing in a living room. I seriously don’t know how she does it.

Another animal print BOSS is Erin Gates. I mean just look at her runner. It anchors the space without overpowering it. I love the pattern and would never have been bold enough to do it before seeing this, but now I think an animal print stair runner is our future in our next house. Also I can also only imagine all the wear and tear from high traffic the spots hide. My kind of runner!

Designed by Erin Gates

The living room on the right is a perfect example of how using a clear coffee table over a zebra rug is the way to go so you don’t loose sight of the showpiece of the room…that beautiful rug! Erin has a product line with Wayfair and Momeni and both feature multiple animal prints that are fun but still perfectly understated. I have included two of them in the “Steal” section below, both of which I own and can attest for. I have an embarrassing amount of her products from both lines and they are all not only affordable but also wear incredibly well. I can’t speak highly enough about them. #notanad

Even though the most common way to incorporate animal print is with throw pillows, rugs and upholstered furniture, you can also scale it down to smaller objects like coasters, waste baskets, blankets, trays, even lamps and lampshades. Animal print done right can be pricey, but it doesn’t have to be if you hunt out a bargain, so I have included both a steal and a splurge list for you below. I hope you have a great weekend and will be back on the blog next week to share ideas for Fourth of July decor!

  1. Dodie Print Coir Door Mat// This is the door mat we currently have by out front door and it sets a great tone for guests. It’s nice and thick so it doesn’t look cheap and even though it does shed, you can easily sweep away the fibers. I actually had someone walking by knock on my door the other day and ask where I got it.
  2. Blue Leopard Lumbar Pillow// Erin Gates + Blue + Leopard. Need I say more?
  3. Monogram Tortoise Coasters// These are so cute and added personalization to any room is always fun.
  4. Faux Zebra Hide Rug// I have this rug in grey and I love it. Just put either color of this rug on top of a flat but textured rug like a sisal rug. Or try it on top of a rug like this.
  5. Antelope Print Pillow// I featured this on my Loving Lately post and the response I got back from readers who purchased it was so positive that I had to feature it again!
  6. Stemless Cheetah Wineglass// These speak for themselves. Makes happy hour a little more wild.
  7. Dodie Drum Chandelier Shade// I have this pattern scattered throughout my house and it is just  so fresh and happy.

  1. Cheetah Trim// A less expensive way to add a luxe look to any room is add trim. You can add it on curtains, skirted furniture, anywhere. The sky is the limit!
  2. Cheetah X-Bench// I am dying for these. I personally prefer the Beacon Hill Cheetah print, but these are a close runner up. Not to mention they are much cheaper!
  3. Scalamandre Le Tiger Pillow// I have already asked for this for Christmas. Allison Allen’s room tipped me over the edge. I NEED this pillow in my life. Even with two kids.
  4. Animal Print Picture Frame// Metallic ink on picture frames is a weakness of mine.
  5. Brunschwig & Fils Panels// The Les Touches print is everywhere right now but don’t let that fool you. It happens to be trendy at the moment but is a pattern that has and will continue to have classic roots.
  6. Cavallo Global Bazaar Stool// Another piece featured in Allison Allen’s house. My husband thinks its creepy, but I strong beg to differ. I love it!




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