Zebra Patterns – Do You Approve?

March 26, 2007

Nothing inspires us like nature, which is why we so often gravitate towards patterns that resemble those found outdoors. If you’re thinking of adding maximum impact to a space, look no further than the stylish Zebra (please, go faux). And along with the Chinese ceramic stool craze we’re seeing, Zebra rugs are a big hit too, making a continued appearance in some of today’s hottest interiors. Need a bit of inspiration before you decide to add a bit of safari chic to your space?

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?If this image from Domino doesn’t make you see Zebra prints in a new and exciting way… I’m afraid there’s no hope. :)

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?Nothing inspires me like a deal and of course, going faux. You can find a Zebra pattern stenciled onto a hairhide rug for $515 from Horchow. Of course, it’s still from an animal and some of us aren’t into animal hides at all (like me). If that’s you, opt for something in wool, like this one from Home Decorators ($129-299). If you need something smaller for an entry or beneath a sofa table, this 5×7 rug from Urban Outfitters is perfect, and a budget find at $69. It’s cotton, so we know animals weren’t hurt for this little guy, and your wallet won’t feel a thing.

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?When I think of Zebra rugs, Jonathan Adler ($875) always springs to mind. With his dare devil bolder-than-thou designs, I admire how perfectly he works such a bold pattern into his interiors. Having all that color courage, coupled with extreme self-confidence from his ‘been there done that’ experience in the design world, Adler is super contagious. He has a happy virus that more of us need to catch. Explore! Dare! Yes, go there!

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?Designer Jan Showers gives us more eye candy, helping us see the pattern in a variety of settings… A more ‘medicated’ approach to Adler I must add, but beautiful and certainly more friendly to the neutral fans out there.

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?And did you catch the lovely Zebrine wallpaper in Domino magazine from Rose Cumming? It’s making another appearance in interiors with it’s bold, whimsical charm. It makes a definite statement in crisp blue and white, doesn’t it? This image is of Ashley Whittaker’s home, courtesy of Domino, 4/07 and The Peak of Chic.

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?The Peak of Chic loves Zebrine wallpaper and tells us, “Glamorous pedigree aside, this print is certainly a stylish but bold statement. I love animal prints, but one has to use them with restraint. All other design elements of a room- furniture, artwork, and accessories- have to be toned down when paired with such a gutsy pattern.” Photo from Robin Bell’s living room, courtesy of House Beautiful, 1/05 via The Peak of Chic.

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?Inspiration from Domino and Living Etc. There’s even a Zebra ottoman in the mix, and a chair, below. For me, if I’m going Zebra, there’s nothing I like better than combining the color turquoise with a crisp black and white faux Zebra print rug.

Zebra Patterns - Do You Approve?So tell me… What’s your take on it as either a rug, wallpaper, textiles, etc.? Do you approve? Have a little love/hate? Run screaming?


  • Reply Carlene March 26, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    I love a faux zebra print rug, in the context of a very simple, modern, casual room. The Living Etc. room you posted, with the yellow pillow is, in my eyes, perfection.

  • Reply Lindsey March 26, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    I think Zebra rugs bring so much texture to a room. They are super great great to break up colors if you have a room in all pink hues….just like the photo you posted!

  • Reply Leah March 26, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    I love zebra skin rugs (even though it’s generally dyed cowhide). I have a blonde cowhide rug in my living room that is one of my favorite possessions.

  • Reply catalina March 27, 2007 at 12:33 am

    That first hide is not zebra, but tiger.

  • Reply suzannemarques March 27, 2007 at 12:38 am

    i approve of the zebra print. however i saw a zebra pillow (or rug was it?) at barclay butera in west hollywood, and the mane was still sticking out from the poor zebra that had to die for it.
    i’m not a member of peta or anything, but that made me get a bit choked up, and the designer is certainly popular here in LA. it reminded me a bit of polar bear rugs with the head still attached, yuck.
    zebra as long as it’s not real is simply fabulous!!! i loved all of your photos.

  • Reply Trace Elements March 27, 2007 at 12:39 am

    I think zebra print rugs are great in the right room, but my favorite zebra print item is the sophie lounge chair from Oly Studio. You can see it at this url:

  • Reply Kristi March 27, 2007 at 12:50 am

    I think in small doses in a well planned room it can work. But there is a fine line between stylish animal prints and tacky overkill.

  • Reply becky March 27, 2007 at 12:55 am

    Holly, what’s that famous image of the zebra rug that goes from the back of the sofa down to the floor and across the floor as a rug? Do you know the one I mean? I feel like it was in Elle Decor or perhaps Vogue a year ago. I’m drawing a blank.


  • Reply JHAYNE March 27, 2007 at 12:57 am

    i like it. . .but i don’t know if i’d buy it for my own place ;) i saw a couple zebra inspired rug at target this past weekend, a great way to try out the look without making a big investment!

  • Reply kayte March 27, 2007 at 1:47 am

    oh man, i love that zebra wallpaper!
    i have the zebra rug from urban too. i toally love all animal prints, though i think my decorating tastes run a little flamboyant.
    i don’t think i could do the real zebra rug, even vintage. it’s just too sad.

  • Reply J Lee March 27, 2007 at 2:43 am

    i have to go against the grain and say i do not like zebra print – or any animal print to be exact. to me it just looks and feels too “raw”, like there’s a dead animal on my floor or wall. i much rather go with a nice textured fabric or wallpaper.

  • Reply ** Terramia ** March 27, 2007 at 2:48 am

    Not my style, but I can tolerate only if its *faux* (and that includes cowhide… that’s still a beautiful animal).
    I wouldn’t want a dead animal skin in my space! Bad feng shui if you ask me!!

  • Reply Ms.Crystal March 27, 2007 at 2:53 am

    wow am I the only one that thinks that any type of animal print belongs in a hairsprayed hair heavy purfume old womans house while her cats roll around on it.
    I have never liked anything with animal print…TO much going on…to much for my eyes and seriously faux or real it still represents a dead animal killed only for the vanity of others..
    sorry ……….

  • Reply decor8 March 27, 2007 at 3:02 am

    I’ve had fun reading your replies everyone. Looks like we have a lot of mixed feelings.

    I loved Ms.Crystal’s comment, it cracked me up so much.

    I think it has to do with where/how you were raised, what you are drawn towards as an adult. My mother decorated using a lot of cane, shiny wallpaper, Chinese accents, she was very Hollywood Regency I guess you could call it. I mean, I was named Holly (Golightly) for a reason! So Zebra and Chinese stools, etc. doesn’t give me visuals of anything else but of a very stylist woman that loved to decorate and truly enjoyed her home.

    I have to stress though, for me, FAUX is the only way to go.

    But, I don’t think owning something faux is cruel or unkind or selfish. It’s a pattern from nature that we enjoy, that’s all. I don’t know how that represents a dead killed animal?? I mean, doesn’t it represent a roaming free Zebra on the plains of Africa?


  • Reply Pecanpie March 27, 2007 at 3:16 am

    I’ve got a chocolate colored room with 2 teal chineese stools and a chair covered in really furry faux zebra with mane like trimmings. I’m 2 for 2 on back to back postings! There are also a pair of wide wale cord sofas in an orange-red in that room, too.

  • Reply Linda Merrill March 27, 2007 at 5:50 am

    I think you’re either an animal print person, or you’re not. I’m definintely not. I agree, Holly, that the prints represent a beautiful living creature so it’s fine to use them. For me, printed representations on fabric or wallpaper are fine. It’s not different than printed flowers or birds. But, I personally don’t like rugs (either cowhide or woven) that look like flayed animals.

  • Reply decor8 March 27, 2007 at 5:58 am

    Yeah Linda, I agree – you are either FOR or AGAINST animal prints.

    I am not a fan of animal prints. The Zebra rug is tolerable only in fabulous interiors, but I can’t help but think that it needs so much support from it’s surroundings to work, that most people would not be able to rock it. Including me. It would look terrible in my home, I live in a carriage house, it wouldn’t fit the architecture and would look a bit silly.

  • Reply Pauline March 27, 2007 at 11:20 am

    You check out designmilk’s ponyskin rug post and all the debate over there!
    Insane how vanity-stricken designers have gotten this day and age. Where’s that empathy chip?

  • Reply lusummers March 27, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Sorry, sorry, sorry but yuck, yuck yuck! I belong in the ‘no’ camp as far as animal prints are concerned, real or not….they’re just too ‘Bet Lynch’ for my taste (for non-uk-ers, Bet Lynch was a monsterously tacky big boobed bar maid in a Manchester based soap, with enormous beehive hair, biceps like a sailor, thick northern accent and a penchant for various sprayed-on animal print apparel) Grim.

  • Reply Another Shade of Grey March 27, 2007 at 7:55 pm

    I love it. I’ve had a faux zebra rug for over a year now and I never tire of it. :)

  • Reply sandman_gr March 28, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    I prefer zebra (or any animal) print in more ethnic styled decoration – anything elase seems too contrived for me.

  • Reply Christine March 29, 2007 at 1:41 am

    When we toss around faux zebra print rug, is it still faux even if it is cow hide?
    It doesn’t come from a zebra, but it still comes from an animal. Does that still make it “faux”?

  • Reply Mariela March 29, 2007 at 5:54 am

    These pix are incredible. I absolutely LOVE zebra [and other exotic prints], when used in moderation. They can really give a hit of drama when needed… but they certainly aren’t for the faint of heart! :-)

  • Reply Anonymous March 30, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Where in NYC can I get reasonably-priced faux zebra print fabric for a chair I’d like to reupholster?

  • Reply willikat March 30, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    loooooove zebra. have some zebra print pillows on my room and board couch. i think a little goes a long way… not so much the zebra wallpaper, but love pillows, rugs, a chair, ottoman, and i love it with hot pink.

  • Reply Anonymous April 17, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    that image that is being referred to is from allison sarofim’s home, in contrast to another older designer who did the same thing… it was in Domino…

  • Reply Natalie Lomeli April 26, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    This matches perfectly with my zebra print chair. I love this!! wow, that looks soo good.

    Zebra Freak (aka Natalie
    .-= Natalie Lomeli´s last blog ..How to Choose a Zebra Print Chair =-.

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