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!