Last night I went to a school event wearing a black and white leopard print dress. Turns out, three of my friends had the same idea! (I am now realizing in retrospect that this isn’t so extraordinary, but seemed like a crazy coincidence at the time.) Aaaaanyway… one of my friends was wearing a zebra dress, another animal print shoes, and the third a leopard top. So obviously we took lots of pictures to capture our coordination miracle, and it never once crossed my mind that we might have looked like we were at a Jersey Shore-themed costume party. The reason was good balance. My silk dress had long sleeves, my friend wore a blazer over hers, and the girls with the top & shoes were otherwise dressed fairly classic-ly (real word? whatever, I’m still tipsy from last night).
The same principle goes for a home. I think animal print can be a totally fun and luxurious way to liven up a room decor, you just don’t wanna risk it looking like a bachelorette party. Thankfully, there’s a way to be a kitty in the street and a tiger in the sheets/kitchen/living room/bathroom (yup still tipsy) without going overboard. Here are my rules of thumb:
1) Limit it to one area. So, no, the rug can’t match the curtains.
2) Try to keep a neutral palette otherwise. Even a set of small leopard pillows on a sofa will look kinda rawr if the sofa is red.
3) Be especially careful in the bedroom. You don’t want guests walking in and being like, oh heyyyyy girl.
4) Animal print is best left to textiles and accessories, but if you’re gonna do an entire piece of furniture, it’s usually best to keep it small – like a bench or a stool.
5) Pay attention to fabric — quality counts! Inexpensive shiny leopard sends a message you probably don’t want your home sending.
And now, some examples…