Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Current Obsession: Animal Print Rugs

It's all my BFF Tanya's fault.  I've been pondering a new rug for my living room lately, and I kept coming up blank. Unusual for me, since envisioning what I want is rarely a problem. (My issues are finding what I envision and affording it.)

But then Tanya sent me this photo from Craigslist:

She was showing me the little occasional table that she was considering purchasing for her daughter's room. I gasped. Not over the table - which is cute - but over the leopard print runner!

And then I knew: my living room rug NEEDED to be leopard print. It was the perfect "interesting" neutral, and the warm tones would counterbalance the coolness of the gray walls without introducing another strong color. I was in love with the idea...and thus began my search.

I have always loved leopard (/cheetah/tiger) prints. I had leopard bath towels back in the 90s. I had the most perfect, beautiful velvet leopard print toss pillows that literally wore out - I'm talking threadbare, people - because I had them so long. I have several beloved animal print scarves that I wear often, even to the office. Cat prints are glam and classic and, when done right, quite neutral.

BUT BEWARE: Animal prints can so, so easily go wrong. The carpet above is perfect: neutral, nicely scaled, borderless. I prefer only one animal print in a room, but if you go for more than one, they better be used sparingly or you'll quickly veer into Liberace territory. They can often look cheaper than cheap, so quality and texture and color are all really important. In short, there's nothing I find more versatile than a nice animal print, but there's also nothing that can more quickly wreck the look of your room if done wrong. It's tricky territory.

My search for the right rug has been obsessive and exhaustive. I've checked all my usual haunts: RugsUSA, Overstock, Wayfair, Home Decorator's Collection, Home Goods...heck, I even looked at Lowes.

I found several that I loved, but they were too pricey. I'm going for a medium-to-large rug in the under $400 range; a pretty bare-bones budget. The ones I found that were affordable were always just a little bit wrong...the spots were too big or cartoony; they had an icky black border; the background was too light or too dark; they were made from cheap material. I am no stranger to the cheap rug, but with a cat print, a slightly better quality will keep it from going too "Vegas."

In the meantime, I perused Pinterest to quench my thirst for animal prints.

Here's a shot of an animal print throw in a bedroom with moody gray walls:

Design Crisis via Pinterest
I also love this hallway runner. See how it serves as kind of a neutral?

CWB Architects via My Interior Life on Pinterest

And THIS...this may be one of my all-time favorite uses of animal print:

Via Apartment Therapy
Stunning, right?

Finally, last night, I spotted what may be the perfect carpet for me. Not sure how I missed it before, as it's a Safavieh and available at Rugs USA, Overstock, and lots of other places. Behold:

From Safavieh, available here and here.

It's almost identical to the rug in the inspiration photo above. I love the colors and the scale and simplicity of the print. It's 100% wool, gets great reviews, and best of's only $432 for a 9'x6'!  Combine that with a trusty discount code from, and I'm golden!

I'm pretty excited. I have some other plans for my living room (including repainting), but I'll be sure to post photos once the rug arrives and I'm done sprucing.

What's your "stance" on animal print? Do you have any in your home?


  1. Hey Heather,
    Well, besides Mama Kitty, in my! Being a lady over a certain age...and the fact that I was in banking before I retired...once I decided that I would wear something animal print everyday for a week! It was a huge fashion success! Leopard, tiger and them all...AND I love your impeding rug! 8-)

  2. Can't wait to see the room!!!!!!!!!

  3. just perfect! never thought abt it too but looking at ur pics... hmmmm its a YES!

  4. I love the inspiration pics and would love to see how you work animal print into your room. I would love to get a nice zebra print rug for my house!

  5. I have a west elm gray and white wool zebra rug that I love. and you are so right; it has to be understated (if animal print can be) because I love your comment about it looking too Vegasy or like Liberace; you are funny! So what color are you considering painting?

    1. Thanks for the comment...I know that West Elm rug and I love it! I think I'm going for a darker, warm (almost taupe-y) gray. I need to do the swatch thing, though...I'm very indecisive about color.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...