Cheetah vs. Leopard Print | What’s the Difference?

Animal prints have been in our design and fashion for centuries. Royalty had once draped themselves in animal skin to show wealth, status, and power. These types of animal prints were used in various populations from Ancient Rome to the French royalty.

Cheetah and leopard print are still trendy in today’s fashion and decorating world because they are accessible and versatile in how they can be used. To the untrained eye, you may assume that cheetah and leopard print look the same. However, there are some distinct differences between cheetah and leopard print.

Cheetah vs. Leopard Print | What's the Difference?

Leopard Print

Leopard print

The leopard lives on the African and Asian continents. When people speak of animal prints, they often refer to all types of animal prints as leopard, but that’s not correct.

Leopard print is specifically made to match a leopard’s coat. The most significant difference between a cheetah vs leopard is in their spots. Leopards typically have warm golden tan skin and black spots with light brown spots in the center. The pattern is not consistent, which adds to the boldness of the print.

Leopard Print

Leopard is bright, fun, and can be used on everything from wall art and dog collars to handbags. Leopard print is commonly used in fashion and décor pieces because it can brighten up a room.

The color of the leopard allows for flexibility in how it can be used. The combination of the caramel and black, brown spots make a compelling visual statement. You can create loud noise in your space by using leopard print or add a flair of color with a small addition of a leopard trinket.

Cheetah Print

Cheetah Print

The cheetah is the fastest land animal. You can find cheetah in the southern part of the African continent. More than 2,000 solid black dots create the cheetah pattern along with their tan base. If you’re looking for something more subtle or calm but enjoy animal print, cheetah print is an excellent option for you.

Cheetah print is quiet, elegant, and fun. Cheetah print contains cooler-toned colors than leopard print. Their spots are more uniform because they are entirely black with no colors in the spot’s middle.

Cheetah Print

Cheetah will work with pretty much anything from clothing to décor. It’s the perfect pattern to layer on pillows or chairs to add color to any room.

Which Print is Better, Cheetah or Leopard?

There is no correct answer to which print is better. It just depends on your style and goals with the pattern you choose. If you’re looking for something bold, loud, and bright to make a statement, consider leopard because of its unique characteristics.

If you’re looking for something a little less noisy and more elegant, consider Cheetah print to add character without overwhelming your space.

10 Ways to Use Cheetah or Leopard Print

The best part about using Cheetah and Leopard prints are the unlimited options you have! There’s also the prints’ versatility to fit your space or personal style. From dining rooms to desk accessories to shoes, there are so many stylish ways to use these prints.

  1. Animal Print Rugs: Area rugs are one of the easiest ways to decorate your home. They can create an enormous impact in your room without overwhelming the entire space you’re decorating. If you have a neutral room, a bright cheetah or leopard print rug will brighten up your space.
  2. Accent Pillows: Using Leopard or Cheetah print on your accent pillows is a very subtle way to brighten up your room. Your print will have a significant impact with such a small statement. They work well in spaces that already have other print types, like zebra or tiger, because you’re able to match the decor with an additional pattern. It’s also an easy way to brighten up a dull, colorless space.
  3. Sofa Covers: If you’re looking for a way to energize your living room, using leopard or cheetah print will do the trick. You can vary the scale or brightness of the pattern you choose to create a dynamic look. You can use leopard or cheetah print to cover the entire couch. Or you canjust a specific section of a sofa, like a loveseat or reclining chair. This will add personality without being too overwhelming. You can even choose leopard or cheetah print material made of velvet to create a unique, comfortable couch.
  4. Living Room Blanket: If you want to add a cheetah or leopard print to your space, but you’re not totally committed to changing the style of your room, try adding a print blanket. A blanket can be styled on or around your couch. It gives you the option to test out your print choice without fully committing to the style. If you don’t like it, the blanket is easy to remove and place in a different location.
  5. Decorate Your Walls: If you want to be bold with your print use, try using leopard or cheetah print on your walls. You can decorate all four walls or decide only to decorate one accent wall. You have many options to style this print, including painting the wall, adding wallpaper, or installing print carpet on the wall. Adding print to your wall is a very dramatic statement and will add some uniqueness to your house. If you’re looking for something a little less drastic, consider adding a framed cheetah or leopard print art piece on the wall for a splash of animal print.
  6. Add Pop to Your Kitchen: You can add some style to your kitchen or dining room by adding leopard or cheetah print. You can go big and decorate the countertops or the backsplash in fun print colors. Or you can add a print accent like hand towels or serving utensils. Upholstering your seats to include animal print or using it on your placemats is a simple way to integrate prints in the dining room.
  7. Style Your Bedroom: If using print in the living room or kitchen is too overwhelming, put it in the room you spend a significant amount of time in, the bedroom! There are so many ways to style your bedroom with cheetah or leopard. You can do bed covers, pillow covers, decorative walls, wall accents, or even curtains.                                                                                               
  8. Wear the Pattern: One of the best ways to use cheetah or leopard print is to wear it on your clothing. Many animal print options are available, including sweaters, turtlenecks, shirts, crop tops, dresses, and pants. If you’re not feeling bold enough to wear it in your clothing, you can add little accents like a print headband or hair tie to add a little flair into your wardrobe.
  9. Style Your Office: Even if you work in an office space, you have plenty of options to style your space with leopard or cheetah print. One of the easiest ways is to add a print stapler, pencil holder, or picture frame. If you want to add even more style, you could invest in an animal print laptop cover or wall accent, depending on how flexible your decorating rules are at the office.
  10. Accessorize Your Car: If you’re looking for a way to create a stylish car interior, adding leopard or cheetah print is the right move. You can customize your car with print covered seats, steering wheel covers, or print mats.

Leopard Print Shoes

I have a full post of tons of leopard print shoes that you’ll love! Check it out!

So there you go! You now know the difference between cheetah vs leopard print. There is no right or wrong way to style your leopard or cheetah print. The important part is that you feel comfortable and happy with your cheetah or leopard print placement and use.

Use leopard print for a vibrant, bold statement and cheetah for a classy, elegant, concrete pattern. Experimenting with cheetah and leopard print will bring joy and brightness in your life.


  • Jen

    Jen has styled women for photo shoots, fashion shows, board meetings, work trips and most importantly, every day life! She's been hired to style many homes as well. Her aesthetic aims to make style approachable and practical, and most of all fun! She's a mom of 3 who loves frozen cookie dough, plants and a generous pour of creamer in her coffee. Her biggest joy is helping others find joy in personal style through practical tips and inspiration. She loves to share all of her styling secrets on Paisley & Sparrow! Feel free to send Jen a message or join the fun on Instagram!

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