The installation of my leopard print runner didn’t go exactly as planned, but I’m so happy with how it turned out. Here’s why I chose a leopard rug for my staircase and some design considerations if you’re thinking of adding animal print too.a
When I posted this reel on Instagram showing my new leopard runner on my staircase, I heard from a few people who hated it instantly. And that’s fine.
Believe me, I understand that leopard print is definitely not for everyone. I like it because it’s part of my glam, colourful and traditional style.
In this post I’m also going to sound like I’m defending it, but really I’m just explaining why leopard was a good choice for me, and how it could be an option for you.
By the way, my living room is FAR from complete. . . all the furniture in there is from my last house and my carpet is way too small (obviously) haha. I will keep some of it in here but the outdoor sectional (not shown) is definitely not staying.
Here’s the before with the grid moulding on the fireplace that made no sense.
Decorating with animal prints
Animal prints are a timeless pattern that are also considered a glamorous neutral. It goes with many colours in addition to patterns.
And believe me I have tried to sell animal print to my decorating clients for years in a pillow or a chair but most of them have said NO.
Here’s the one I introduced to my living room with my Ballard Designs makeover last year:
The yellow in this particular animal print colourway repeats the yellow in my sofa perfectly.
Animal prints come in countless colourways but I prefer the yellow/gold based ones (obviously because I love yellow).
If you’re someone who likes wearing animal prints, you will probably like having some in your home as well.
Look in your wardrobe. If you’re someone who dresses up more than you dress down, along with a dose of sequins, sparkle and velvet, this rug might also be for you.
The other great thing about animal prints is that they work with countless patterns and colours.
This fabulous teal and pink room by Rachel Cannon Interiors is a great example of this:
Leopard print staircase runner
Okay back to my runner installation:
The colour way I chose is Lake Safari-Prowl from Stanton Carpet
When the full runner arrived, I worried that it would feel like too much leopard – especially because I already have leopard sprinkled around the house. Even though leopard is a neutral, as we have all learned on this blog, too much of any good neutral isn’t good anymore.
So my project manager Jan Romanuk suggested that we install it on each step instead so that we could still see the white painted kick that connects to the panelling on both sides of my staircase (below):
It was the perfect compromise.
And because of the way the railing wrapped around each end of the step it would have cost a fortune to refinish each edge by hand, so we had them painted a high gloss black.
Here’s the before again without any panelling on the wall above the staircase as well as three unnecessary windows from the entertainment room. Those were closed up immediately. If anyone is watching TV upstairs, it would disturb everyone else in the house.
Lucy likes to hang out right in the middle so she can see everything!
To be clear, if I didn’t have any leopard in my living room, I wouldn’t have hesitated to install it like a regular runner. But I like the leopard that is here and I don’t want to delete any of it. That makes this the right choice for my staircase.
Most people don’t have a staircase in between their entry hall and great room so this wouldn’t be an issue for you.
Love this forest wall mural paired with a leopard runner and carpet designed by Miles Redd:
I think a staircase is a great place to add pattern especially because it hides everything! There’s zebra, antelope, herringbone, so many great options out there! Staircases are typically high traffic areas and I have seen too many dirty steps with light neutral carpeting!
Here’s the after again:
More to come, we are only at the beginning of decorating this home!
Timeless new build design advice
It’s new build season! If you are working on one, make sure you get all the details and colours right! Believe me, even if you know what you’re doing there are so many things that can go wrong if you are not there to catch it, never mind if you’re not even choosing the correct finishes! Work with me here.
Also, January is a good time for a paint refresh, see my paint packages here.