9 Tips for a Chic, Pet-Friendly Home (2023)

A lot of stylish people are letting their houses go to the dogs and the cats and the birds— without sacrificing style or comfort. Instead of banishing their furry friends to the yard, many pet owners are decorating and remodeling their living spaces with their pets' needs in mind, turning pet-friendly decorating into a full-blown trend.

9 Tips for a Chic, Pet-Friendly Home (1)

Pet-Friendly Living Room

Below the newly painted ceiling, a comfy sectional anchors the family room alongside an oversized ottoman. Durable upholstery and a soft area rug withstand the general wear and tear of a pet-friendly home.

9 Tips for a Chic, Pet-Friendly Home (2)

From: Erica Islas

Photo by: Erica Islas

Erica Islas

"You can have a beautiful house and a pet, too," says Julia Szabo, pet columnist for the New York Post and author of Animal House Style: Designing A Home To Share With Your Pets (www.animalstylehouse.com).

"The key is choosing the right materials and accommodating your animals' needs." Julia, who shares her digs with a dozen rescued dogs and cats, says an animal-friendly house is more comfortable for humans, too. "If a house doesn't work with dogs, it won't work with children or guests, either."

1. Vacuum regularly.

9 Tips for a Chic, Pet-Friendly Home (3)

Vacuums For Cleaning Pet Fur

Find the best vacuum for managing and cleaning your home when it's covered in pet fur.

©Emily Fazio

Emily Fazio

Even if you match your chaise to your Siamese so perfectly the hairballs are barely visible, vacuum kitty's hair off the furniture at least twice a week. You may need to vacuum daily when your pet is shedding.

Pet hair has an odor, and it contains an oil that will attract dirt to the fabric on which it sits. She suggests you invest in a Dyson DC14 Animal, an upright vacuum named for its miraculous ability to suck up animal hair. It costs around $550, but Julia says you'll wonder how you ever lived without it when you see the horrifying amounts of dirt and hair the Dyson picks up from your floors and furniture.

2. Bathe and groom your pet often.

9 Tips for a Chic, Pet-Friendly Home (4)


dog bath

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Keeping your dog or cat clean will help your house stay cleaner, longer. Trimmed nails won't scratch floors or upholstery. Regularly brushing and bathing removes loose hair before it ends up on your floor, your bed, your throw pillows, your curtains. Furniture and rugs will last longer if they don't need to be washed as often. Think of it this way: It's easier to clean your dog than your upholstery, and it's usually more fun.

9 Tips for a Chic, Pet-Friendly Home (5)

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Make Your Backyard Pet Friendly


See these tips for creating a safe backyard environment for your dog.

3. Use stain-resistant fabrics.

Forget silk, chintz or the pet-hair magnet known as velvet. Discover the joys of Crypton, a nearly indestructible, synthetic fabric that's resistant to stains, smells, bacteria and muddy paws.

William Wegman, the artist known for his Weimaraner photos, has designed a line of Crypton fabrics aimed at pet-obsessed style mavens that includes sturdy suedes and twills with names like Polka Dog and Material Dog. It's available in upholstery shops, from many furniture manufacturers and interior designers; you can find it online at www.cryptonfabric.com.

9 Tips for a Chic, Pet-Friendly Home (6)


Leather is a good choice, easy to clean and durable. Most grades of leather will suffer only scratches from Fido or Fluffy's claws, but hey, the scratches add patina. If you see a sad irony in buying a sofa made from an animal for your animal, try pleather. It's cruelty-free, relatively inexpensive and has a timeless appeal.

Then there's Ultrasuede, a machine-washable microfiber that feels as smooth and seductive as real suede. "I can't say enough good things about Ultrasuede," Julia Szabo says. She has covered her 1950s Heywood-Wakefield sofa and chairs in Ultrasuede and even had a couple of pet beds made of it. "It's beautiful, and it always stays cool and comfortable no matter the climate. That's important for your and your animal's comfort."

4. Put washable fabrics on your bed.

9 Tips for a Chic, Pet-Friendly Home (7)

Chihuahua in Blue Blanket

A teacup Chihuahua peeks out from underneath a blue blanket.


If your dog or cat sleeps with you there will be accidents. "Cats barf a lot," Julia Szabo says. "Deal with it." Protect your mattress from the inevitable by covering it with a thick pad. Use cotton bedsheets, preferably in a medium color or a pattern that can hide the pet hair and stains between washings. For bedspreads, duvet covers work well because you can take them off and wash them regularly. Delicate-looking matelasse coverlets are surprisingly durable; their tight quilting resists pet toenail snags and repeated washings.

5. Skip wall-to-wall carpet.

Carpet absorbs odors, traps pet hair and soaks up inevitable pet-related stains like a sponge. "I try to steer pet owners away from carpet," says Chicago interior designer Nan Ruvel, who designs animal-friendly interiors for clients and lives with three cats. "It's difficult to keep clean. It's a bad idea."

9 Tips for a Chic, Pet-Friendly Home (8)

Eclectic Nursery With Baby's Best Friend

This bright, colorful nursery is home for one member of the family, but the dog stands guard over the toys and crib.

If you must have carpet, she says, choose a low pile. "It's easier to clean if there's an accident." And avoid continuous loop carpet because a pet toenail can unravel it by catching a single woven loop.

6. Choose hard surface floors.

Bare floors are the way to go, but bare doesn't have to be boring. Painted concrete is lovely and durable, as are terrazzo and brick. Hardwood floors are simple to mop or vacuum and add a warm glow to a room, but keep in mind that large dogs can scratch wood.

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Bright Transitional Kitchen With Beautiful White Cabinetry

Natural light floods in from the large window above the sink in this lovely transitional kitchen. White cabinets help the area feel bright and spacious and pop against the dark walls. The varying tile sizes in the backsplash bring a nice texture to the design, and hardwood floors bring a soft finish to the space.

9 Tips for a Chic, Pet-Friendly Home (10)

From: Amy Cuker

Photo by: Amy Cuker

Amy Cuker

The best floor is ceramic tile, because it's easy to clean and resistant to any stain an animal can dish out. Tile is toenail-proof, it makes a room look sleek and elegant, and it gives furry animals a cool place to nap during hot weather. Porous materials like marble or other natural stones aren't as pet-proof as other hard surfaces, since acids present in pet spit-up can stain them, even if they're sealed, designer Nan Ruvel says.

7. Set up an animal room near an entry.

(Video) 9 Tips For Choosing Pet Friendly Furniture

9 Tips for a Chic, Pet-Friendly Home (11)

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"It's important to consider your pet's lifestyle when you establish the layout of your house," Nan Ruvel says. "If your dog goes outside, make sure he can come back in through an area that's super-impervious." She just finished a project in which she converted a breakfast room into a mudroom for a client's two dogs. "She wanted a place where she could get dirt off them before they came in the house," she says. To do this, she put porcelain tile on the walls and floor of the breakfast room, which opened onto the backyard. She replaced the table with a banquette upholstered in stain-resistant fabric and equipped with under-the-seat storage for leashes and food. Nan also installed built-in shelves on the walls where the client could keep towels used to wipe the dirt off the dogs when they came inside from the yard.

8. Give your pet tidy, attractive treats and toys.

Dogs adore pig's ears and rawhide bones, but Julia Szabo says they're a bad idea. "They're hideous, they're smelly and they're as bad for your pet as they are for your floor," she says, pointing out they're coated in nitrates and leave greasy stains on floors and furniture.

9 Tips for a Chic, Pet-Friendly Home (12)

Attractive Pet Chew Toys

Rubber squeaky toys are 100 percent fun for pets, but 50 percent eyesore and 50 percent annoying racket for pet owners. Instead, opt for fabric pet toys, made from natural materials like cotton, wool, linen, felt or hemp. They're machine washable and cute enough to hang out on the sofa instead of being hidden away in the toy box. Etsy favorite Wags and Wiggles is a great online source for affordable fabric pet toys.

It's important to give your dog something to chew on, or he might go after a chair leg. Julia suggests rubber toys like the Kong or the Super-Tuff Rhino. For cats, Szabo recommends Everyday Studio's Cat Tree (www.everydaystudio.com), a scratching post/climbing tree combo that hangs on the wall. It's a chic, geometrically shaped concoction of colored metal and cardboard that offers a stylish alternative to homely, carpet-covered scratching posts and plywood climbing trees. "It's like a work of art for your pet; it's beautiful and it's functional," she says. Another option that will allow your cat to get out his inner panther, stylishly: shelves for him to perch on. Julia sells "Tiger Branches," a set of wooden demilune shelves that attach to the wall. (Visit www.animalhousestyle.com for prices and ordering information.)

9. Match colors to your pet's fur.

Your pet can be a source of inspiration when choosing colors for your room. Paint a concrete floor the same shade of gray as your cat. Cover your sofa in a honey microfiber that matches your golden retriever. This isn't just an aesthetic shout-out to your pet; it's also a practical choice because the hair they leave behind won't be as visible. "Put a white floor in a house with a black Lab, you're going to have black tumbleweeds everywhere," says Nan Ruvel.

Julia Szabo tells of a New York artist who painted a room in his Manhattan digs a brilliant shade of green inspired by his Amazon parrot. "It reminds the parrot of his ancestral home in the jungle. The wall is gorgeous, and it makes the bird much happier," she says. Painting walls white is a bad idea aesthetically and practically, she says. "Let's face it; a white wall goes gray in a minute around dogs." This forces you to be more creative and daring when choosing colors, Julia says. "Pets present you with the opportunity to really work with color."

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What color hides Dog Hair Best? ›

Steer clear of light colors—even if you have a well-behaved and well-trained pet—and instead choose charcoal grey, brown, or camel-colored couches that hide fur and fit into the color schemes of most rooms.

What does pet friendly home mean? ›

/ˌpetˈfrend.li/ used to describe a place that is suitable for pets or where you can stay with your pet: You can find lists of pet-friendly motels on the internet.

What is pet-friendly furniture? ›

Leather. Most interior designers will say that leather, surprisingly, is one of the best materials for pet-friendly furniture. Your pet's claws won't snag on the material, and the surface is smooth and wipeable, making it easy to clean off pet hair and other dirt.

How can I make my pet-friendly city? ›

How to make the world a pet-friendly place
  1. Change starts at home. Many homes, especially rental ones, aren't pet-friendly. ...
  2. More Parks. Pets need dedicated green spaces to run, play, and explore. ...
  3. Friendly public transport. ...
  4. Businesses should welcome pets. ...
  5. Pets in politics. ...
  6. Shelters.

How do you decorate a room with animals? ›

10 Dog Bedroom Decor Ideas - YouTube

How do I dog proof my living room? ›

Living room
  1. Add anti-scratch tape to the couch to discourage scratching.
  2. Cover electrical cords to keep chewers away.
  3. Cover HVAC vents.
  4. Move or block exercise equipment to prevent injuries.
  5. Place remote controls on a high shelf. ...
  6. Put down pee pads or water repellent carpeting for accidents.
May 24, 2021

How do I get my dog a light couch? ›

How to Keep A White Sofa Looking (Almost) New, Even With Pets
  1. Performance fabric. I honestly don't know what our sofa would look like if it wasn't upholstered in Crypton Fabric. ...
  2. Spot cleaner. ...
  3. Vacuum. ...
  4. Fluff every few days. ...
  5. Wrap the seat cushion with a blanket. ...
  6. Lint remover tool.
Apr 15, 2021

What type of sofa is best for dogs? ›

Canvas, denim, and man-made microfiber couches are great ideas for dog and cat owners. Look for darker colors that don't show dirt as easily, or better yet, pick a fabric that matches your pet so the hair won't stand out at all. Next: Leather is the hands down best choice.

What is the best fabric for a sofa when you have a dog? ›

In general, the best material whether you have a dog or a cat, is microfiber. Also known as microsuede, this synthetic material is a pet-lovers dream. It's easy to clean, hard to scratch or rip, and lasts a long time.

What bedding is best for pet hair? ›

Always choose cotton bedding that is tightly woven. I suggest this because pet fur and nails are less likely to get embedded in a smoother, tightly woven fabric. Percale is usually more tightly woven than sateen, so if this is a concern of yours, opt for that. Velvet: Literally the worst textile to have around pets!

What does pet-friendly Limited mean? ›

When a hotel or other accommodation advertises themselves as pet-friendly, it means that they will allow pets - although restrictions may apply. Travelers with pets should always remember to confirm pet policies before booking.

What is considered a pet? ›

A pet is a companion animal which is an animal that lives with you in your home like a dog or cat. Companion animals are a result of domestication. They live with us because they fulfill our needs as well. They can provide us comfort, friendship and responsibility.

What does pet free mean? ›

Pet-free is a term that has become more popular lately, with many people choosing to not have pets in their home. While you might think this means no dogs or cats, it can also apply to other animals as well. Many people are now choosing to be pet-free because of the environmental impact they have on our world.

Can you use human hair color on dogs? ›

NEVER use human hair dye: NEVER. These dyes can be toxic if ingested, which is likely to happen considering how much pups love to lick their fur. Human hair dye also contains chemicals that are suited for the pH level of the human body which is completely different from that of a dog!

How do you dye a dog's hair with food coloring? ›

Food coloring is preferable. Bathe your dog prior to dyeing, so his fur is clean. Mix water and food coloring, then either place the mixture in a bath if your dog is small. Or put the dye in a squirt or spray bottle if your dog is large, or you only want to color certain areas.

Can I use adore on my dog? ›

There is no peroxide, to lift color out. That is why only white pets are ideal for dying. We use, Koolaid, food coloring, washable non-toxic marker, and professional tints (such as Manic Panic, Punky Colors, and Adore).

Is Arctic Fox dye safe for dogs? ›

In general, yes! Arctic Fox colors are 100% vegan, contain no animal by-products or any of the harsh chemicals often found in permanent dyes such as peroxide, ammonia, ethyl alcohol and PPD.


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