Themed VS. Inspired


We’ve all seen them, and some of us may actually be guilty of having created one, or several, at some time. You know what I’m talking about,… those hideously gaudy rooms that look like one specific thing (leopard print, in this example) vomited all over the place. Oh it’s not a pretty site. These are what you call “theme rooms”. Now there is a time and a place for themes, say in a child’s bedroom or playroom, but even those can be done tastefully without creating a tacky, overwhelming space. These rooms have a few things in common…

  • usually done in cheap (in price and definitely quality) fabrics and items- anything in the given theme gets put in there –making it look over-the-top, cheesy, and sometimes a little cartoony
  • there is no balance and no rest for the eyes- everything is done in the given theme- everything – creating visual heaviness and chaos
  • everything is very “room-in-a-bag”, very matchy matchy- a room should have depth and interest, not craziness 


So here’s my cure for this theme room epidemic: if you love something enough to design a space around it, dig deeper and learn why you love it- do not do a literal theme, but rather a subtle inspiration.

For example, I made a list of words I thought might describe the true taste of the person who “decorated” the above room…

  • exotic
  • loves a strong graphic pattern (most people who love animal prints do) 
  • loves nature/wildlife
  • a little wild and fun
  • unafraid

So with that information,  I created a design inspired by those things… Picture1

Keys to the design:

  • you’ll see there are only animal prints on the pillow fabrics, yet the entire room “reads” as animal-like and a little wild and exotic, very unafraid- the animal prints are much less obnoxious and “in-your-face”
  • I brought in other animal-related items with the Mongolian lamb-upholstered chair, the art deco green panther statue (a little more literal), and the horse-hair-upholstered benches at the foot of the bed- I used two instead of one larger single bench (as in the themed photo) because it is a nice break from the large bed which is visually very heavy, dark, and strong
  • the color palette mimics that of a cheetah or leopard
  • I mixed pieces of different styles and periods, all of high quality and great character, and also mixed curves and straight lines- this creates depth and interest
  • cheetahs and jaguars are both very sleek and very strong, two qualities embodied in the structural and visual presence many of these items possess

So see, when you dig a little deeper, try a little harder, and get more creative, you can achieve a beautiful room inspired by anything you love! Just don’t be too literal and slather a single pattern on everything in sight.


  1. Yes, your room is much better, love the rug !

  2. Good heavens, that room scared the daylights out of me! I'm not a fan of the theme room, especially when the theme is animal prints. A little goes a long, long way.