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Black and White Zebra Print Pattern Will Add Zest to Your Room


The beautiful striped pattern of the zebra has been almost as popular a design motif for interiors as the classic acanthus leaf. Designers use black and white zebra print patterns in all sorts of ways. Wallcoverings, furniture, decorative pillows, occasional boxes, hats, shoes, handbags, stools, bedding, and ceramics are just some of the items that reflect our great love of animal pattern. Just about everything decorative borrows from nature. We all know that Mother Nature has done a superb job decorating her giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, leopards, tigers, to name a few. It’s really okay with Her if we borrow some of these patterns to enhance our lives. As a matter of fact, She appreciates your good taste.


Animal skin motifs are classic design. They usually surface in the marketplace in nature's own coloring of the animal. But oftentimes, we designers get playful with color, and produce an animal pattern in magenta and turquoise, or chartreuse and aqua, or hot pink and yellow. This flight of fantasy is fun, and makes your room more contemporary in feeling. Be bold, have some fun and use colorful zebra print backgrounds in your décor, or stick with a traditional black and white zebra print.


I confess, I am a tad obsessed with pattern, probably because I am a printed fabric designer.


I’m always looking at pattern. Maybe you remember the first feature length movie of Sex in the City, when the character Samantha was perched on a tiger patterned bed? The colors of her bedding were particularly beautiful, a soft clean aqua with pale turquoise stripes. This was an excellent example of successfully veering away from nature’s colors. Colors directly taken from nature are more traditional or transitional in feeling. A black and white zebra print is smashingly elegant combined with richly colored paisleys or Jacobean designs, or any traditional pattern.  Color is the ingredient that unites many different patterns used together, and allows them to be homogeneous.


There are no strict rules in design. It is completely up to you how you wish to combine elements to create your spectacular surroundings. That being said, there are a few tricks that will make you happier with your results.


To most Interior Designers, a pop of animal skin pattern in a room, whether it be printed or woven, adds an air of sophistication, a mysterious glamour like no other design element can. You notice that I am referring to the “fabric” versions and not the actual animal skin? I am an animal lover, after all, and feel we can appreciate the beauty of these exotic furry friends without harming them. Yes, PETA will love me for that.


If you choose to use an animal skin in your décor, and I truly hope you do, use it with confidence. Do not wimp out. Timid doesn’t make it here. Just use some restraint. If you overuse animal prints in a room, you will be on the slippery slope to “tacky”. If you overdo animal prints, you run the risk of looking like LaVerne. Remember Cher’s old character who wore tight leopard Capri pants and a leopard blouse and leopard glasses and leopard scarf tied in a bow in her hair? No, you don’t want your room to resemble LaVerne.


Be bold, and remember, less is more. I like stripes on the floor.  Consider a black and white zebra print or woven patterned area rug.The stripes will give structure to your entire room. Black and white patterns have a way of stabilizing a room. As an alternative, try zebra pattern pillows. Use them in multiples on your sofa. Use big pillows. I caution you to be very careful with zebra wallcoverings, however. Even printed in subtle colors, such an expanse of pattern will dominate the room. Certainly, you can pull it off, but you have to balance the impact of the zebra patterned walls in the rest of the room, otherwise your room will be way too busy.


If you are thinking of creating a jungle theme in one of your children’s rooms, throw caution to the wind and go crazy with animal patterns. Mix zebra and leopard and giraffe and tiger!!


Think of your room as if you are painting a picture. Here’s a tip for you: design your room with 3 blocks of color. Your wall is a color. Your floor (rug) is a color, and your largest piece of furniture is a color.  Now, play with pattern and accent colors. Your patterns will have some of your major colors plus more. Use your black and white zebra print as an accent.


I know you will be thrilled with your results.


Now, get started. It’s all about having fun.





                                                                  ~Joan Saloomey



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