Monday, August 4, 2014

Decorating A Girl's Room With Zebra Pattern- A Refreshing Take

Today a Facebook friend of mine posted a plea for help.  Her 7 year old daughter was ready to redecorate her room into a big girl room, but her heart was set on zebra print.  It can be such a tough line to walk as a parent.  As much as you want your child to be happy with their room and to feel like it mirrors their personality, most of the time if you let a 7 year old take the lead in decorating a bedroom, it is going to look like an entire Justice store exploded in the space.  If you can't quite imagine what I mean, just go on Pinterest and run a search for "Girls Zebra Bedroom".   I wholeheartedly sympathize with my friend who is facing this dilemma.  My eldest daughter informed me that she would like to redecorate her room with a "Space Theme".  (Really.)  I am not sure how I am going to tackle that one.  I had to inform her that "Mommy doesn't do themes, dear.  We incorporate elements into a design to create a mood."  Not sure that she bought it.  Luckily I told her that we are not redecorating her room again until at least next year.  That buys me a little time.

But, back to the matter at hand.  Zebra does not have to be scary.  I know that often times, people have an aversion to animal prints because, let's face it, they can be tacky.  But honestly you will hardly find a bigger fan of a good animal print than I.  A good animal print in a good fabric is truly a neutral.  Meaning, you can use a good animal print in just about any room, as long as it is done in a way that blends in that room's style. Think of it like a fantastic pair of calfhair leopard print pumps.  They are so versatile. (And my absolute favorite pair of shoes, too!)

So the way I am approaching this room design is to allow the zebra print to accent the otherwise soft and girly features of this plan.  I chose a lavender color for the walls and part of the bedding because purple is a natural evolution of black, and therefore it feels very calming against the black and white palette.  The furniture, bedding, drapery, and lighting are very feminine and soft, which offsets the boldness of the zebra pattern.  The entire look together is feminine, fun, girly, and just a touch sophisticated.  The best part is that the zebra is all incorporated in accessories that can easily be changed in a few years when she has tired of that pattern and decides that she wants something else.

Zebra Pillows  //  Lavender Quilt  //  Zebra Upholstered Bench  //  Initial Pillow  //  Light Lavender Color  //  Darker Lavender Color  //  Tiered Ruffle Drapery Panels  //  White Matelasse Coverlet  //  Zebra Art Print  // French Dresser  //  Chandelier  //


  • For the bedding I am suggesting a combination of the Lavender Pottery Barn Quilt and the patterned white matelasse coverlet.  I would use the matelasse as the bed cover and fold the lavender quilt at the bottom 1/3 of the bed and then use the lavender pillow shams.  Add in the black and white monogrammed pillow and one of the zebra (figurative) pillows.  This combination of colors and textures will add interest to the bed. 
  • Either paint existing furniture with white chalk paint, and switch out the knobs (vintage style crystal knobs would be fantastic) or incorporate french style furniture like the dresser pictured above.  
  • In this space, lightweight, gauzy white drapery keeps the room so fresh and girly.  The ruffles help keep things from being too serious. 
  • Ok, so I added this bench pictured above more for a feel than for the actual piece.  Because this piece is priced a bit higher than I would be inclined to use in a child's room.  This would be a great DIY project, though.  If that is attempted,  keep in mind that what makes this bench so great is that the base is painted a light color (white/cream with a glaze) and that the fabric is a needlepoint, which adds a richness of texture and keeps it from looking cheap.  In other words, look for a zebra fabric that has a heavy weight and texture.
As an alternative to the bench pictured above, I have a few other options to add a bold splash of zebra to the room that are much more cost effective.  

  1.  The zebra print rug is a great way to bring in a ton of look for a small price ($88 for a 5x7) which can be layered over existing carpet or flooring.  I always like to lay a rug so that it is halfway under the bed, that way it doesn't feel like an island floating in the middle of the room.
  2. This Ikea throw is a great way to bring in the black and white stripe feel of a zebra print without being too literal. 
  3. Same with this Ikea rug.  It is fun and versatile.  It would go great with the figurative zebra pillows and artwork pictured above, and would continue the feel without being too committed to zebra. 
Good luck to my sweet Facebook friend, and to anyone else who is trying to walk the line of making your child happy and yourself happy too!

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