The transformative power of a zebra print rug

12/15/2015 06:00:00 am HELEN STILES 0 Comments

How do you completely transform a room before Christmas (without loads of time and effort?) Simple, just add a zebra print rug! OK, that might seem like a lame effort to make this totally non-seasonal post look slightly Christmas related, but bear with me, because it really is true. Welcome a bit of zebra into your life and watch the transformation – with almost zero effort required! I may have got a little over excited as I've just taken delivery of some gorgeous zebra-print cowhides for the online store, and I'm now picturing them all over my house. (In reality they're banished to the stock room for others to purchase and enjoy – the realities of being a new retailer).

Zebra print is definitely having a bit of a moment interiors-wise, but that's not why I'm loving it. I try not to follow trends too closely as I prefer to invest in well-made, cool but timeless pieces that I know I'll be happy to live with for a long time. I would be VERY happy to live with one of these stripy beasts. (I'm not saying that my home is totally devoid of ikea and H&M, there's nothing wrong with a nod to fashion) but the advantage of the quality/timeless philosophy is that, done right, you'll end up with a home full of things you love, so that when you fancy a change you can just swap things from room to room for a whole new look. I could see a zebra print rug working in at least 5 rooms in my house!

Now if you're thinking that zebra is a bit too bold or daring, then I'm hoping to change your mind with these lovely examples. As I've written before, a bit of black and white is just like seasoning in a room – it somehow brings everything else to life – and it's no different with a zebra print rug, the lovely graphic pattern just adds some zing to a room. There are many types available – but personally I love printed cowhides for their texture, durability and because they're a bi-product of the meat industry rather than hunting.  Whilst there are some rectangular zebra rugs available, I think the organic, non-linear shape of a cowhide works well to break up the straight lines in a room. So, over to those examples...

The first is this beautifully simple white bedroom. The plaster walls, bamboo-framed bed, painted wood and white linens all create a lovely, clean yet rustic look, but they are transformed from simple to stunning by that zebra rug tucked under the bed.

Or how about this fairly masculine library/living room? With its moody navy walls, matching woodwork, retro tan leather chairs and very traditional lighting and cabinetry it has quite a classic style. In fact it could all look a little too trad if it weren't for that amazing zebra print rug on the floor (cover up the bottom half of the picture to see what I mean). The rug really elevates the whole room, taking it from 'nice' (yawn) to stylish, sophisticated and just a little bit edgy.

And finally, there is the living room of Jenna Lyons, the creative director of American clothing label, J Crew. This room has been one of my favourite interiors images for years. I love the simple colour scheme, eclectic mix of furniture and styles (ornate coving, vintage chandelier, mid-century armchairs, Moroccan rug, English-country style sofa in an amazing yellow...) I mean frankly I could just move straight in and be happy forever! But it's that zebra-print rug strewn across the beautiful Beni-ourain that adds just the right note of nonchalance and stops this room being too formal.

So, there you have it, the transformative power of the zebra print rug! If you're still not feeling inspired, here are 3 more ideas for using zebra rugs in your own home:

1.  Layered over another rug, as above. Like black and white, zebra is virtually a neutral and works with just about any other rug type – a simple sisal, colourful ethnic or a cool contemporary number.

2. In a children's room – the zebra-print cowhides are so hardwearing that you don't need to worry about spills and traffic, so they're perfect around small people. This would work in a nursery or an older child's bedroom and could be teamed easily with pale pink, teal or stronger blues. I'd love to put one in my boys' bedroom (over a navy carpet) to make a statement and, hopefully, distract the eye from the general child clutter. (I think zebra-print might just counter-balance primary-coloured plastic nicely).

3. Throw one over an old sofa – not just for floors, put your zebra cowhide to good use covering up a sofa that's seen better days, (much cheaper than re-covering, and without all the fabric choosing, organising and time involved)!

So, if you want to transform a room before Christmas, bag a zebra-print rug now at Hide & Seek!