When incorporating animal prints into home decor, two options often used are cheetah and leopard prints. Though the patterns may seem similar at first glance with their tan and black spotted markings, they are actually quite distinct. In this post, I’ll differentiate between cheetah print versus leopard print, provide decor ideas for using each, and share tips for stylishly combining these wild prints.
Identifying Leopard Print
Leopard print features irregular polka-dotted rosettes with a tan or soft golden color as the background. The rosettes contain a darker brown or black spot pattern in the center, creating visual depth and dimension. This pattern mimics the actual markings on a leopard’s fur.
Leopard print has an exotic, jungle-inspired look with high contrast. The deep colors pop dramatically against the neutral tan base. You’ll often see warm tones like gold, chestnut and black in leopard print accessories or fabrics. The palette feels bold yet earthy at the same time.
Identifying Cheetah Print
In contrast to leopard print, cheetah print contains uniform solid black spots across a light tan or brown backdrop. The spots lack dark borders or centralized patterns. This reflects the actual uniform spotting on the fur of cheetahs.
Since the pattern consists of simple polka dot spots, cheetah print feels more subtle and neutral compared to the high-drama contrast of leopard print. The black and tan palette is cool-toned and muted. As a result, cheetah print can blend into a space without dominating.
Using Leopard Print in Decor
Thanks to its inherently eye-catching contrast, leopard print makes a dramatic statement in any room. Full leopard print sofas or sectionals set a wild foundation in living spaces, while leopard print accent chairs or pillows can decorate seating arrangements. Consider using:
- A leopard print barrel chair or console table behind a neutral sofa
- Leopard upholstery on a mid-century style armchair or lounge
- Vintage-style leopard print pillows on a sofa or bench
For bedrooms, a leopard print comforter or quilted bedding instantly transforms the space into a glamorous retreat. Or accent bedding with leopard throw pillows, shams or blanket throws.
Since leopard print commands attention, restrain use to one or two statement pieces so the room doesn’t feel overly busy or loud. Then build upon the foundation by repeating the golden brown and black colors found within the print.
Using Cheetah Print in Decor
The more subtle spotted pattern of cheetah print allows for versatile use throughout the home. Unlike leopard print, cheetah print can blend seamlessly when used judiciously instead of standing out dramatically.
In living rooms, use cheetah print on pillows or ceramic garden stools beside solid neutral seating. Paint a lone accent wall or hallway in a cheetah print wallpaper for a punch of pattern. Consider cheetah print dining chairs around a wooden table or splurge on a luxurious genuine cowhide rug.
For bedrooms, start with cheetah print pillow shams against crisp white bedding for an elegant touch. Or layer a cheetah throw blanket at the end of the bed or use a cheetah print duvet insert inside a neutral cover. The black and tan pattern adds interest without becoming too visually dominant.
Since cheetah print feels lighter and a bit more versatile, don’t be afraid to mix colors throughout the rest of the space instead of just pulling from the black and tan palette. The muted tones allow cheetah accents to complement rooms decorated in various color schemes or styles.
Tips for Mixing Prints
When thoughtfully combined, pairing leopard or cheetah prints with other patterns and textures creates stunning, layered bohemian-style rooms with depth and interest. Some tips for mixing:
- Layer cheetah or leopard throws over textural sisal or jute rugs
- Flank a leopard chair with antique garden stools covered in graphic Chinoiserie prints
- Add tossed cheetah and zebra print pillows to a sectional sofa
- Hang framed botanical art prints above leopard print bedding
Start by limiting leopard and cheetah prints to accent pieces like pillows, stools or throws. Use solids, woven textures and global-inspired prints on foundational furniture like sofas or dining tables. Then build up layers with animal print accents combined with other patterns like florals or geometrics for lots of personality.
Favorite Leopard and Cheetah Print Items
Many home decor products feature either leopard or cheetah prints to incorporate into rooms. Here are some of my current favorite finds:
Leopard Print Decor
- Safavieh Madigan Leopard Print Arm Chair
- August Grove Lemei Leopard Print Area Rug
- The Curated Nomad Leopard Print Velvet Pillow Covers
- Branford Leopard Print Storage Boxes
Cheetah Print Decor
- Ruggable Cheetah Print Washable Area Rug
- Sebastian Cheetah Print Table Lamp
- Willa Arlo Interiors Cheetah Print Dining Chairs
- Ayesha Cheetah Print Sheet Set
Whether you prefer the high contrast drama of leopard print or the subtle neutral elegance of cheetah print,using touches of these exotic patterns creates stylish, nature-inspired decor. Limit scale to accessory pieces like pillows or stools and mix with other textures and prints for fabulous layered rooms that feel curated, luxe and appealing.
I hope you’ve found this overview on differentiating and decorating with leopard print vs cheetah print helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions!
Clara is the founder and editor-in-chief of Rojo Magazine. She has over 10 years of experience working for fashion and lifestyle publications. Clara is passionate about discovering new trends and sharing style advice with Rojo’s readers.