What if I told you that pooches, blink and fluffy, all beloved members of the family, do not have to hamper your design style? With these pet friendly decorating tips for picking upholstered furniture your room will look lovely for years to come!

Design isn’t about beauty alone! Function first is always our mandate.

Let’s face it, we all know who’s the boss around your home if you have a pet!

black puppy

Are you going to be the one to tell this little guy he’s not allowed on the furniture? I couldn’t do it! Just couldn’t.

brown and black puppy winking

Or this guy? Seriously?

puppy on sofa hiding under pillows

Well I’m here to tell you you don’t have to! Anyone with a pet knows what an important role they play in the family. We design homes with pooches in mind all the time and really believe a pet-friendly aesthetic doesn’t need to leave style behind. Around 60% of households have a dog or cat as a part of the family.  Many people, like to pamper their pets. The industry of pet-focused gifts for Christmas and their birthdays has taken off and is the best proof of that!  

There are many performance fabrics that are ideal for pet-owners. Crypton performance fabrics, for example, have a very practical line of fabrics ideal for living room and family room upholstery, Sunbrella too. Not to mention the proliferation of dog beds that are more alluring than grown-up scale furniture to a four-legged dweller/inhabitant.

Here is what we look for.

1. Durable fibres and stain resistance

Technology and the manufacturing of fabrics is ever evolving new and better solutions. The more I learn about fabrics the more I realize there is to know. Fabrics used for nursing homes, for example, are designed to resist fluid transfer so that any ‘accidents’ will not go through and penetrate the seat cushion. Fabrics have been developed that resist puncturing. These were developed for nightclub banquettes because girls dancing in stiletto heels was becoming a problem. Who knew? So let’s just leave this out there. If your pup is a concern, let’s do our best to pick the right fabric and rug to resist stains so your living room continues to look as lovely as it can.

Here’s a short clip from a fabric fair I attended the last time industry events were held in person (boy do I miss those)! Hit the play button and just watch how liquid (in this case coffee) beads up and lifts right off the fabric.

Check with a pro if you want help to find the best fibres and filaments and weaves for your needs. There is sure to be the right fabric for your specific purpose.

2. Low Maintenance

The beauty and practicality of performance fabrics has come a long way. We have written all about family friendly upholstery tips before. Professional quality textiles are graded for abrasion resistance (suitable for high traffic areas like bus stations and airports), but beautiful enough for your home. They are also graded for stain resistance, cleanability (water or solvent based treatment recommendation), fire retardant properties (required for commercial purposes).  Crypton is one of the leaders in the industry for these fabrics, but the technology has been adopted by other manufacturers too.

The softness and texture of the residential Crypton fabrics has also come a long way. If you are familiar with the first generation of Sunbrella fabrics, you will recall they felt more like plastic than fabric and were really not comfortable for residential use. But no more! I can no longer tell by look or touch. I have to read the technical information on the collection to know.

A little-known fact, Crypton is also odor resistant. If your pooch isn’t always freshly shampooed, no worry about that wet dog smell!

This is not, however an advertisement for Crypton brand as there are many options. I also have after-market treatments I can call on to treat yardage of fabric prior to upholstering. Nanotechnology and other odour and stain resistant treatments can be helpful to resist pet accidents as well as other minor spills. There are many providers in this growing industry.

3. Consider leather upholstery

Leather is a great pet-friendly option for your sofa or sectional. We wrote a post about it recently. A leather sofa will still eventually show wear but if you choose well, that will just add to the beauty. If you invest in a sofa upholstered with high-quality leather, it develop a lovely patina and will age beautifully. Read our deep dive into leather types and grades where you can learn more before you buy. Like a vintage leather jacket, a pair of boots, or a well-worn pair of jeans, any scratches and scuffs will add to the character and the beauty of it. As an added bonus, leather is also really easy to clean and vacuum up dog hair, making clean-ups a breeze.

4. Buy a pet bed

Another furniture saving strategy is to give your dog a place of importance – either a cage or a dedicated bed. Believe it or not, they may prefer it. Not every dog is a lap dog. There are some great pet furniture pieces on the market that won’t clash with your decor.

5. Minimize chewable furniture

If you dog loves to chew on anything in sight then we might need to mitigate that. While adjusting to their new home, you may need to deal with a chewing stage. Along with house-training, and providing a cage to sleep in, if you have a young puppy that’s still chewing, you may want to select furniture with metal framing and legs, rather than furniture with wooden legs. Wooden furniture legs might look a little too much like sticks!

At the same time, rugs with fringed edges are really appleaing to young pups who love to chew. You will find your new rug in tatters if you leave the fringe exposed. Either select one with a bound edge, or simply tuck the fringe under until your puppy has outgrown the chewing phase.

6. Lastly – colour choices

When we select fabrics for upholstered furniture and area rugs for pet friendly use, we like to pick a colour palette with pooches in mind. Spills aside, the inevitable shedding will still happen. Neutrals are your best friend if your pet is a shedder. Consider the colour of the fur when selecting a rug or upholstery.

Maybe you don’t have a pet goat but I’m not going to judge! Hey, at least this little guy has an adorable diaper on!

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