5 Design Tips for Blending Style and Functionality in Your Pet-friendly Home

Although our pets are cherished, most of us are not prepared to replace all of our furnishings to accommodate them. Fortunately, this does not preclude living in a home that is both well designed and functional. There are steps that we can take to protect some of our existing pieces or to make more pet-friendly selections in the future. 

One of the most vulnerable targets of pet-related accidents is upholstery. Unfortunately, sofas and lounge chairs are often the largest, most visible items in a room and many people live with them for a very long time. Here, some tips from WOOFipedia's go-to design expert, interior designer Heather Higgins, ASID, CID, of Higgins Design Studio, LLC.

Go Undercover
Traditionally, slipcovers have provided a practical solution. In addition to being easily removed and cleaned, they are usually less expensive to fabricate than reupholstery.

However, for those of us wanting a sleeker, more contemporary look, technological advances have now made other great upholstery options a possibility.

See Spot...Or Not
Most standard fabrics can now be successfully treated for stain resistance. This is commonly done prior to upholstering pieces. There are several products available and pros and cons to each, depending on the particular fabric selected and proposed use.

Not a Faux Pas
Microfiber fabrics, like “Ultrasuede,” are ideal for homes with pets, because they are resistant to stains, liquids, and wear. The high-performing “I can’t believe it’s not leather” poly-vinyls are also a strong contender in this category. There are a range of fun colors and finishes available, including metallic looks.

Bring the Outside In
If faux suede or leather is not your look, you might consider some of the newer indoor/outdoor fabrics. The range of appealing patterns and color selections is substantial. Most of these fabrics, in addition to being very durable, are stain-, moisture-, and fade-resistant. They are also available in a variety of weights, making them suitable not only for upholstery, but also for accent pillows and draperies.

Healthy Choice
Fabrics developed for use in the healthcare industry have always had to meet very high performance standards. In addition to being nearly indestructible, because they are often cleaned with bleach, they must also be resistant to stains, bacteria and odors.

In the past, fabrics meeting these criteria were less than exciting. However, there has been a noticeable change in recent offerings. Their appearance and feel have improved significantly. There are fabrics offered that perform at this high level, yet resemble chenille or silk-like stripes, making them a great option for the most demanding situations.

So with this many options to choose from, combining pets and a large white sofa might not be out of the question!

More like this:

5 Design Tips on Giving Your Pet-Friendly Space a Fresh Look

Ten Surprising Truths About Life With Dogs