In my post on Monday, I talked about introducing leopard print to your home as a neutral. I was thrilled to see that so many of you have embraced a little leopard print but there were still a few others who agreed it was really difficult to get it right. The problem? Finding the right leopard print is HARD, y’all. I know, I know. I feel your pain. Leopard print varies wildly from one thing to another and sometimes – well, sometimes it just looks tacky.
Here’s the thing. You really need to look hard to find the *right* sort of leopard print accessories to work as a neutral. I wish I had a fail-safe method to finding it but the truth is, I don’t. However, I have found a couple of things are important when trying to find the right leopard print pattern.
I find those patterns where the leopard print looks more realistic are usually better. What do I mean by this? Ya see, no one does animal prints better than Mother Nature. I mean, I can’t see any animal upon which these decorative prints are based upon without a sharp intake of breath because they can just be so incredibly beautiful.
Take Meisha for example. Now, I absolutely adore everything about my kitty, you know this, but we often look at her and remark, ‘She is just so beautiful, isn’t she?’ Because we’re totally biased of course, but her markings are just stunning. But they also aren’t all perfectly formed and exactly the same. They vary in size and shape, they are a little rough around the edges. Together, they create a stunning pattern.
Let’s look at an actual leopard now. Do you see how the sizes of it’s spots all look a little different? See that variation? That’s what I’m talking about. Also, notice the base colour – this isn’t bright orange. This is soft golden beige – Meisha is the same as well – she’s more brown than orange. Stay away from leopard prints that go too far into orange territory or don’t have much variation in the background colours because it just looks too unrealistic.
So when you see patterns that just look like someone tried to copy nature but failed miserably – those are usually the ones to stay away from. They look like cheap rip-offs of a Picasso or a Rembrandt.
The other thing I’ve noticed in my endless searches for great leopard print is scale. The smaller the item, the more you can get away with a larger expanse of the pattern. In larger scale items (like wallpaper or curtains), it’s much better to use a much smaller scale print. I don’t know why this is the case, mind you, it just seems to be what appeals to me.
Are there exceptions to these?
Absolutely. This is why it’s so hard. Sometimes a larger scale looks great on a larger piece.
I know, I know, it’s a minefield. I think Braemore’s Jamil Natural fabric as seen above is an exception to this rule. Why? I don’t know – it’s as though all the elements together – the scale, the variation, the colour – somehow work together magically to create an amazing pattern. And also probably because it’s based upon a much, much higher end pattern, Scalamandre Leopardo, which goes for insane amounts of money. (Hint: The Jamal fabric, at a mere fraction of the cost, is WAY more budget-friendly.)
I guess the truth is, sometimes you just have to train your eye to spot the best patterns when you see them. I mean, it’s not hard to know that these are just awful. Awful. RUN FAR AWAY from stuff like this. But you knew that already, right?
I figured today it might be helpful to share some of my favourite leopard print accessories. Of course, if you want a really great leopard print accessory, might I suggest getting a Bengal.
(Before people get in touch with animal welfare because I’m suggesting to get an animal as a home accessory, I’m JOKING. Although she really does go with everything.)
Zara Home rug / Rifle Paper Co. day planner/ Stuck on Hue cushion / Halcyon Days candle / Ralph Lauren dinner set / Schumacher Iconic Leopard fabric / Jan Showers book / House of Hackney wallpaper / The Aestate print
So a little bit about my choices. I actually own the day planner because Fox and Star are now stocking their stuff if you are in the UK (whoop!) and I use it every day.
Stuck on Hue is the BEST place to buy great cushions at great prices hands down (and yes she ships to the UK). I have these in my home and have used them in every room. Tell Hollie I sent you.
I have that Jan Showers book – this is what it looks like under the book jacket and it works fab in every vignette and is the book you can see in my new blog header. Check out my post on my favourite interior design book covers for more.
The House of Hackney wallpaper is what I used in my dressing room shelves seen above. The tutorial is here.
The soap I have in my own bathroom and talked a bit more about it in my last video (I know, I need to do another video but I’m trying to sort some studio lighting because it’s DARK here at this time of year. It’ll happen.)
The Ralph Lauren set is pricey, however it’s probably better not to use the ENTIRE set on your table at once – it’s like a spice, remember? Use in moderation. It’ll look better mixed and matched with other items and patterns so you’ll save money and look more chic at the same time (you can find the pieces individually as well).
The candle is pricey but it’s one of those things that you can easily refill once the candle is used up. Check out my post on making your own soy wax candles – it’s really simple.
I included the Zara rug because I want it although I have no place for it. If you use it in a room, restrict any other leopard print in the room and use it as a neutral base for everything else.
The Aestate print is so cute, I’ve wanted that for ages. This one from her shop is cute too.
Also can I please just implore you not to buy all this stuff and stick it all in the same room or I will have taught you nothing. Ahem.
Now, go! Buy leopard print and rejoice!