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Animal Print Pattern Trend: Out of Africa and Into Your Home

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Image via Houzz.com

Here at Paint+Pattern we are celebrating all things Africa during February to compliment the fabulous new stencil line from Royal Design Studio’s Raven + Lily Stencil Collection. And what better way to begin a talk about Africa than taking a look at the stunning African animal print pattern trend in home décor?

Where did this addictive trend begin? When Europeans began colonizing Asia and Africa in the 18th century, they brought home skins of the leopards, tigers and zebras they found there. Those exotic patterns were soon reproduced on fabrics for the wealthy who left their mark on home decor. Two hundred years later, we are still incorporating animal prints on walls, floors, ceilings and more.

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Images via ElleDecor.com, Houzz.com

Whether in the bath, the home office, the kitchen or the formal living room, the versatile animal print rug can add interest to a neutral room with muted colors or create a more dramatic statement in a white backdrop with vibrant pops of color in upholstery, pillows and art. Though black and white zebra patterns abound the trend these days, leopard, giraffe and cow prints are also popular because they blend nicely too.

Animal Print Pattern Trend: Zebra print on side chairs

Beyond the quintessential African pattern rug, upholstered seating is the perfect solution to taking advantage of printed hair-on-hide or upholstery fabrics. Utilized on uniquely-shaped classical chairs in a very traditional paneled room, the over-scale zebra print lends interest and a chic “wow-factor” to this room.

Animal Print Pattern Trend: Prints on chairs

African prints, when used in the “less-is-more” style, command a sense of scale, color and balance. These vignettes picture minimal accessories or large-scale artwork and a soft, warm color palette.

Moving on to walls, there are countless interpretations and uses for African prints. From soft, subtle and soothing wall patterns to  pull-out-all-the-stops,  richly patterned prints. In some cases, less is NOT more. MORE is more!

Animal Print Pattern Trends: Zebra wallpaper pattern

Here, the designer’s vibrant and elegant use of red beautifully marries frolicking zebrasoriental and contemporary artwork with multiple smaller patterns on the pillows.

Animal Print Pattern Trends: Tiger and Zebra wallpaper patterns

Images via Homedoo.com, Archiexpo.com

Golden tiger stripes in a traditional study (top) with animal paintings fade into a more soothing interpretation of the animal print pattern trend, whereas the non-traditional green zebra on the wall exudes a more modern vibe, even with the classic chair and campaign table. No doubt, there aren’t any purple crocodiles to be found cruising remote African waters. Yet, these spectacular wall tiles create a pattern-on-pattern effect as the perfect backdrop for a decadent closet.

Are you ready to walk on the wild side and design a room using an African print as a focal point? Another option to purchasing a rug, fabric or wallpaper is to use African & Animal Print Wall Stencils to make your own roaring statement!

And speaking of stencils, this month I’ll also be demonstrating the use of African-themed stencils from RoyalDesignStudio.com on glass, artwork and fun picture frames. Meet you back here all month long!


  1. Love these ideas, Deb – that oversize giraffe print has my name on it! I like incorporating elegant animal figures into my decor but have yet to incorporate animal prints – though my dining room chairs do have a croc print on them. The fabric is a neutral cream so you may just have given me a direction on them!

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