Cowhide rugs and decor add a natural, rugged, yet refined touch to any home. Often associated with Southwestern style, cowhides can work in just about any aesthetic. When incorporated thoughtfully, they bring texture, color, and interest to living spaces. This article will explore how to use cowhide in home decor in elegant, impactful ways. We’ll cover how to select quality hides, ideas for styling cowhide rugs, and clever ways to use cowhide upholstery or wall hangings. Read on to learn insider tips and be inspired to embrace hides in your decor!

Selecting High-Quality Cowhides

When shopping for cowhide, look for a few key markers of quality. You want something authentic, not artificial or composite. Seek out pieces that are:

  • Buttery soft – Quality hides feel plush, flexible, and smooth to the touch. Stiff, rigid hides were not tanned properly.
  • Minimal odor – Well-tanned hides should not smell strongly. A light leather scent is normal. Avoid anything with a chemical stench.
  • Consistent coloring – Look for uniform hues from nose to tail. Spotty or discolored patches suggest lower grade.
  • Intact hair – On a high-end hide, the hair should be fully attached, not shedding or balding in spots. No cuts or holes either.
  • Varied sizing – Hides range from small calf skins to large full-grown cows. Choose based on the space you want to cover and your style. Measure the area before buying.

Seeking these traits will help you select a lush, high-end cowhide that lasts for years. Investing a bit more on the front end pays off!

Styling Cowhide Rugs in Rooms

Cowhide rugs add striking style to bare floors in living rooms, bedrooms, offices, and entryways. Here are top tips for styling cowhide rugs:

Living Room Styling

In living rooms, position cowhide rugs near seating areas to create inviting islands for furniture groupings. Layer smaller diamond, oval or round hides on top of jute, sisal, or cotton rugs to define sitting areas.

Or place a large hide underneath your coffee table to bring warmth to the center of the room. Let it extend slightly under sofas and chairs so furniture appears grounded on the rug. Avoid symmetry and allow the rug to extend asymmetrically under some pieces.

For textural contrast, pair thick cowhide with light wood and metal finishes like brass or chrome. The dark rug pops against these bright elements. Or complement the earthy leather tones with cognac leather chairs, timber side tables, and nature-inspired art.

Bedroom Styling

A cowhide rug brings luxurious texture next to the bed in a master or guest room. Use a large hide at the foot of the bed so it extends out on either side. Allow 18-24 inches of floor space to show. For a cozy feel, extend the rug to below nightstands on both sides.

Or define a sitting nook in your bedroom by using a cowhide rug in a chair and side table vignette. Choose chairs with exposed wood legs to contrast the fluffy hide underneath.

For small bedrooms, one cowhide rug provides enough texture. Don’t overwhelm the space by layering multiple hides. Let the singular rug shine against bare floors or wall-to-wall carpeting.

Entryway Styling

Welcome guests in rustic style by placing a cowhide rug in your entry. Use a rug that extends long and skinny from the door along a console table or bench. Choose a rug shape and size that fits your entry layout.

For high-traffic areas, the durability of cowhide is a major asset over wool rugs. The hides can withstand years of stomping feet, wet shoes, wind, and dirt.

A small diamond, oval or round rug adds a pretty and practical accent in the entry before extending to other flooring. Contain it to just inside the door.

Office Styling

To personalize a home office or study, place a cowhide rug underneath or near your desk. Allow it to extend under the front legs of your office chair and accent the guest seating across from your desk. A cowhide rug softens an office’s aesthetic and creates a welcoming space.

In open concept spaces, define your office area by placing a cowhide rug underneath your desk to distinguish it from living areas. Use furniture like a sofa, armchair and side table to create a separate office zone atop the rug.

For large office rugs, select wide rectangular hides that extend from your desk to guest seating. Smaller round rugs can also work well centered in the office space you use most.

Creative Ways to Style Cowhide

Beyond rugs, cowhide makes a statement in all sorts of applications. Get creative with these unique decor ideas:

Upholstered Furniture

For a luxe, custom look, upholster chairs, ottomans, headboards and stools in cowhide leather. Use full hides or strips pieced together. Add back cushions, nails and wood trim to finish the designs. Vary the colors and fur placement for added flair.

On a budget? Cover standard leather dining chairs in cowhide for elevated style. Use hides cut to size and secured with upholstery tacks along the underside.

Wall Art

Make a bold artistic statement by hanging cowhides on the wall. Install them as-is, raw and unstretched. Or stretch hides over batting on wood frames to create textured wall art.

Arrange small, geometric cowhide tiles or strips into eye-catching patchwork designs. Experiment with symmetrical or abstract shapes.

In a rustic lodge, hang the full cowhide with the legs and tail visible. For modern spaces, cut it into a simple rectangular silhouette and frame tightly.


Liven up your sofa or bed with cowhide accent pillows. Use trimmed rectangles or squares of hide. For a head-turning look, customize funky organic pillow shapes like clouds, starbursts or abstract blobs.

Layer cowhide pillows with other textures like wool, velvet or merino sheepskin for visual interest. Vary sizes from big decorative pillows to smaller toss pillows.


Curl up with a cozy cowhide throw in the living room or bedroom. Use an entire small hide or trim a large one to desired dimensions. Add fringe or tassels along the edges for boho flair.

To display, casually drape hides over the back or arm of sofas, chairs and headboards. Allow the lush fur and leather to take center stage.

Storage Ottomans

Convert a basic storage ottoman into a showstopper by covering it in cowhide leather and fur. Use hot glue to attach hides to the vinyl or microfiber top. Leave the legs exposed for an eye-catching two-toned ottoman.

For a more tailored look, wrap hides around the sides as well, using a staple gun to adhere them underneath. Install trim at the top and bottom for polished details.

FAQs About Decorating with Cowhide

Still have questions about incorporating cowhide in your home? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Are cowhide rugs durable enough for high-traffic areas?

Yes! The leather and fur hold up well underfoot, even in busy family rooms and hallways. Avoid placing cowhides in wet areas like bathrooms. Elsewhere, their hardy structure makes them more durable than cotton or wool rugs.

How do I clean a cowhide rug?

Regular vacuuming keeps dust at bay. For deeper cleaning, gently wipe stains using a barely damp microfiber cloth and leather cleaner. Avoid excessive moisture. Never drench cowhides or machine wash them. Take them outside occasionally and shake out dirt from the fur.

How can I stop a cowhide rug from slipping on hardwood floors?

If your rug slides around, try these fixes: Place a rubber anti-slip pad underneath to grip the floor. Apply rug gripper tape to the corners. Or purchase self-adhesive rubber dots and affix them under the corners and edges.

Should I get real or faux cowhide rugs?

Genuine hides have unbeatable texture and quality. But for budget or ethical reasons, faux options work too. Seek high-quality synthetic hides made from polyester microfibers, not plastic. They mimic the plush, cozy feel and natural variations of real hides.

Are cowhides too rugged for elegant spaces?

Not at all! Even in sophisticated rooms, cowhides add texture and warmth when styled thoughtfully. Avoid sensory overload by only using one or two hides. Pair them with luxe accents like silk pillows, glass vases, or polished wood finishes. The mix of rugged and refined is chic.


The beauty of cowhides in decor is their versatility and unique texture. Whether layered casually as rugs or installed for crafted furnishings, they make a statement. To create a cohesive look, seek quality hides and thoughtfully incorporate them alongside other accents. With an array of styling possibilities, what inspires you most about decorating with cowhide? Embrace this natural material to add a touch of exotic, cozy style to your rooms.