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Pet-Friendly Decor
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Pet-Friendly Decor

Pet-owning designers offer advice on practical design choices that don’t sacrifice style.

Avoid delicate upholstery fabric and opt for more durable options when creating a pet-friendly home.

Avoid delicate upholstery fabric and opt for more durable options when creating a pet-friendly home. Photo courtesy of the Nest Egg

For pet owners, creating a home décor that’s both aesthetically appealing and pet-friendly can be a delicate balance. From muddy paw prints on an heirloom area rug to a velvet sofa covered in cat hair, three local designers — all of whom own pets — share their best advice for addressing animal dilemmas and styling a chic interior that accommodates both man and his best friend.

“There are so many ways that pets enhance our quality of life in the same way that a serene, well-designed home might be a sanctuary for relaxation after a long day,” said Karen McBride of Inspired Spaces. “The good news is that you really don’t have to choose one or the other. The key is to make sure everything is durable and easily cleaned.”

Flooring that can withstand paws with claws top the list of considerations for McBride. “Hardwood floors are beautiful, but they’re easily scratched and dinged,” she said. “Stone or ceramic tile flooring are ideal for pets owners. You can wipe up puddles and mop up muddy paw prints easily. Hardwood requires immediate cleaning because they absorb liquids and odor.”

Rugs with patterns that can hide pet stains are what designer Rochelle Clark uses in the Fairfax home that she shares with her two Italian Greyhounds, Lola and Fiona. “My dogs are not housebroken, so I have to use indoor-outdoor rugs made of polypropylene because I can just hose them down when they get dirty, which is often,” she said. “Rugs made from sisal are also good choices if you have pets. I encourage my pet-owning clients to purchase inexpensive rugs because if you have dogs or cats, rug stains are inevitable. It’s just a waste of money to invest in a high-end rug if you have pets. There so many ways that they can be ruined and there are plenty of rugs that don’t cost a lot, but have a high-end look to them.”

When choosing fabrics for furniture or throw pillows, pet owners should steer clear of textures like velvet or chenille, which can be magnets for pet hair, advises designer and corgi owner, Tami Evers of The Simply Elegant Home. “You also want to avoid silk and other delicate fabrics that could tear easily,” she said. “There are so many options now for durable, stain resistant upholstery fabric that’s as elegant and tasteful as its more traditional counterparts. Believe it or not, I finished a project for a client who had two giant labradoodles, and her living room furniture is entirely of Sunbrella fabric.”

Other durable and easy to clean options that Evers recommends include leather and Crypton. “The only issue with leather is that it will scratch easily if you have pets with sharp nails, but some people think scratched leather has character,” she said. “Crypton can withstand almost anything. If you have a dog or cat that barfs a lot or has lots of accidents, Cyrpton is the way to go. It’s stain-proof, tear-proof and comes in a wide range of patterns and colors.”

Built-in eating spaces and pet beds for her two Bichon Frises are ways that personal home organizer Becca Anderson of The Organized Life streamlines her pet spaces to maintain her home’s aesthetic. “Pet owners love their animals, but no one wants their home to look and smell like it’s been overrun with animals,” she said. “I advised one of my clients to add a custom, built-in litter box space to her laundry room for her three cats. She even invested in a self-cleaning litter box, and those two features were transformative.”