Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Faux Zebra

Faux Zebra. You see it in nearly every design magazine, book and published article, professional and amateur blog, and on television sitcom sets. Faux rugs, hide covered chairs, headboards, foot boards, throw pillows - even faux hides draped over ottomans, sofas, chairs, and pony walls - yes, faux zebra has truly moved its way into each and every room of our homes.

One modest faux hide pillow rests on the plaid wing back, which could serve as the office or guest chair in this set up. The silver saw horses, the glass top, the simple construction and eclectic mix of furniture and accessories speaks to my inner-decorator and makes me smile.

I have often searched eBay looking for the perfect bargain on a hair-on-hide faux zebra rug. In fact, each time I see a room decorated beautifully with one of these fine exhibits, I run over to find a bargain priced replica. Unfortunately, each time I talk myself out of it - wondering if it really will look good in the room intended.

The guest room of blogger and Interior Designer, Joni Webb, Cote de Texas. Joni has a way of pulling together a room like few other designers I know. Her eye is spot on with every accessory, every fabric, every piece of furniture. Though I'm sure she can account for mistakes, anything I've seen her do is pure perfection. Notice the zebra rug* layered atop her sea grass rug in the guest room of her Houston, Texas home. The versatility of a faux hide is brilliant, and because it hasn't the heft of other woven rugs, it layers very well. (*note, I received word from Joni after this was initially posted that the rug in this room is a genuine Zebra hide, head and all. The look however, could be achieved with a faux hide.)

I'm also fond of Joni's solution to decorating squat windows. She hangs not only her curtain rods from the ceiling, but also the roman blinds. A great way to add to the height play of a room, don't you think?

Here, the barrel back chairs are covered in zebra fabric. This beautiful room would naturally win over even the most discerning of tastes. I'm especially in awe of the way designer Ruthie Sommers has created symmetry with the mirrors, brought the natural element inside with the moss balls and urns, and used mirrored surfaces and glass accessories to bounce the natural light around the very black room.

I've found that most zebra print furniture can look pretty cheap, for the lack of a better word. I'm sure that these chairs are very expensive. One solution - if you're looking to spend a little less, is buy a zebra printed hide and have your upholstery shop in town cover the chair of your choice. This gives you professional results, on a frame and scale you love and know will work, along with the ever so popular zebra finish.

Here, we see another example of the pairing versatility of zebra. In the picture before, zebra was paired with a plaid, and the result: exceptional. This time, in the den of interior designer and blogger, Joni Webb, CotedeTexas, Joni has paired it with her white slip covered furniture. Doesn't this just scream chic? Again, notice her attention to detail, and the way she plays with old and new, scales and textures.

Because zebra is such a wildly popular, recognizable, and vivid pattern, you want to be careful not to overdo it. For instance, in the room above, had Joni layered this sea grass rug with another zebra rug it might look too themed, too much of a good thing. My tip: use it where it counts, avoid spreading it around too much in one room.

And lastly, this beautiful ottoman is truly a show stopper, don't you think? Categorically, this room shouts with an eclectic resonance, but as your eye floats from ceiling (thanks to the over scale banana palm) to floor you begin to rest in all of the lovely, textural, ethnic, and eclectic touches this room has to offer.

So, do you have a faux zebra addiction? Are you waiting for the perfect inspiration to pick one up? Do you know where to find one on the cheap? Leave a comment and let us know!


  1. HellooOOoooOo oh wonderful one! There you are! What a fun read - I love all the zebra! I especially like the rug in Joni's guestroom! (on a side note - I love the curtains and blinds to the ceiling!!! I'm so going to do that now. Bwhahaha)

    I'm not sure about zebras in my house, but you never know. I have a sneaking suspicion that Thing1 and Thing2 would make mince meat of it in quick order...

    I love reading your posts. Now...where's that's ravioli? Mmmmm! ;)

    xo Isa

  2. Oh dear, now look what you've done! LOL I want to slip cover my family room upholstery and get some zebra pillows! I already have the same paint color on my walls. Oh wouldn't it be lovely! Alas, I guess I'll just have to keep that one in the back of my mind for a while.
    I just adore the rooms you choose to showcase. You know you have a standing invitation to come decorate for me anytime!
    Hugs, B.

  3. Love the look in these photos but not sure if I could do the zebra... Your a genious in the field of classy look though... as for the matter anything you do... Love it!!!


  4. Thanks bud!!! muchas gracias (for a taste of Texas), but I must say the zebra in the guest room (which has been redone sort of) is a real hide! head and all and I trip over it all the time, it doesn't lie completely flat becuase I hate backed zebra hides. The zebra pillows are from OLY Studios and those are cowhides with the stmaped zebra. And you are right about the bringing the skin rug there too. Thanks again for this!!

  5. Artie,

    I like all the rooms, and how the zebra print is used. I think I have enough animal print used in my house, with my leopard. But I could kiss you right now for giving me an idea that I've been searching for. Let me explain......

    A very dear, friend who shares 'the love of decorating' that most of us here have been been cursed with, gave me two of her barrel back chairs, when she had to downsize to a smaller home. Since they came from this dear friend, and are so special to me, I could never come up with the right fabric to re-upholster them with. But she loved leopard, she decorated with it and she wore it, she even had leopard, purses, shoes and jewelry. A group of us girls, even bought her leopard lingerie, when she was married, to her second husband, at the age of 74. So after seeing the barrel back chairs you showed today, I knew exactly what to do with mine, paint them black and upholster them in leopard. :) Why I never thought of that in the past, I don't know??? Now I can't wait to do it and send her a picture. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.......


  6. I am right there with you artie, I love the look but so far have not used any in my home. I could not agree with you more when it comes to animal prints... a little goes a long way! vickydarnell

  7. I've been in love with zebra rugs and ottomans since my first visit to RMS....I wish I had a room that I could put one in. I'm afraid it would look silly with my current decor. But some day....I'm gonna make one work...that ottoman in the last picture is KILLING ME!

  8. I've been in love with zebra rugs and ottomans since my first visit to RMS....I wish I had a room that I could put one in. I'm afraid it would look silly with my current decor. But some day....I'm gonna make one work...that ottoman in the last picture is KILLING ME!

  9. Love the rooms you've showcase today Artie! Beautiful!

  10. Beautiful rooms, and I agree, Joni is amazing! But, no zebra for me. I'm always years behind any trends, and as much as I love looking at these pictures, I'm not ready to dive in and try it. Yep, I'm a coward. laurie

  11. Great pictures! I've had a zebra hide for a few years now...It's been draped over an ottoman, under a glass coffee table in the LR and under a modern stainless steel gurney made into an office table. Even did a stint in our bedroom.
    The rugs are very accomodating.

    Try ebay...that's where I had luck!Recently saw one for sale on our craigslist. IKEA even has some cow hide rugs at a decent price!

  12. Hey Artie,

    Thanks for the visit, and the kind words.

    You've been going thru some stress yourself, so you know times like this pass. I tend not to dwell on these things, I'm afraid I indulged myself in a bit of a 'pity party' today. That won't happen in the future.

    Thanks Again.

  13. These rooms are beautiful. Thanks for the treat!!!!

  14. I have a little zebra fabric on one chair, in the foyer and that's it.

    Always wanted a zebra rug like Linda's (Lime in the Coconut) since the first time I saw hers under the glass coffee table a few years ago.

  15. Artie this was delicious! Like you, I love the zebra, but I don't really have a room (outside of hubbys man cave....a whole other story...) for some. I discovered a zebra rug at a local antiques store for a very reasonable price and almost bought it on the spot....but it dawned on me...What are you going to do with a 9' zebra? But after viewing your pictures...... I'm sooo tempted to go back!! Hmmm wonder how some zebra would look in my kitchen?....JK!!! Lol!*winks* Vanna


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