Pet Friendly Choices for a Beautiful Home
This week we’re going to focus on pet proofing tips for your home design featuring our four-legged New Perspective Design Team. We may be biased, but here are nine of the cutest furry family members each featuring an innovative suggestion for pet-proofing your home. Years back a vet told me pets and pretty things don’t mix – but I’m here to tell you that these days they most certainly do!
Take a peek at my best recommendations for decorating homes with pets and keep them in mind as you approach your next project.
Sydney is super friendly so she’s going to kick it off with some pet friendly fabric recommendations
1. Pet Friendly Fabrics
Outdoor fabrics are in! And I mean literally – outdoor fabrics traditionally designed to withstand the elements have now been adapted for use indoors. Sunbrella is the common name but these fabric qualities show up in fabrics such as Crypton, Alta, and Revolution. What these all have in common is they are stain resistant, odor resistant, and moisture resistant. They feature a sealed back to prevent spills from soaking through and an ability to clean with water (some are even bleach cleanable). They are soft and have interest (texture, pattern, etc.) – it’s hard to tell the difference between these fabrics and standard material blends and the beauty is they hold up to stains that come from pets, kids, and an occasional glass of red wine.
Meet Leo and Dottie... partners in design crime
Living with me, I would hope that these two know the value of a well-designed environment. But occasionally, they feel it is their duty to bring it to my attention when I make an aesthetic choice over a functional one. Recently I fell in love with a nubby woven fabric and promptly decided to reupholster my kitchen bar stools. In the second photo, Dottie is showing off their handy work on one of the worst fabrics for claws, a loose woven. Loose weaves are not a good choice because the pile is uneven and very easy for them to snag. Other no-no’s include natural fabrics like linen or silk which are delicate and easily destroyed. Lesson learned.
How do you prevent damage from claws? There really is no fool proof answer, but you can minimize the potential for damage by selecting fabrics like tightly woven ducks and chambrays or velvet and suede looks, particularly those made of one of the fabrics above like Crypton. Cats don’t enjoy scratching fabrics that are soft and smooth. Heavy fabrics like denim and canvas are good choices along with leather (easily cleaned but can be punctured by claws also).
3. Pet Hair
Within our "NPD pet team", the photo for this topic was a no- brainer.
This is Boss. He's a “fur-ball extraordinaire”.
He is generally found sitting like a human on a sofa or comfy chair or sprawled out on his back. Just a quick glance and you know he’s likely to leave an outline of himself behind.
How do you keep up with pet hair? This is a tough one – but you can minimize your issues by sticking with the tight weave fabrics or leather. Sunbrella or Crypton are great alternatives. Even slipcovers are a good choice as they are easily laundered. Avoid woven fabrics that can trap the hair. Tweed can be a tough one as the fabric weave makes it harder to vacuum out. Velvet is a hair magnet and suede can be hard to clean.
Although it may sound silly, why not buy furniture that is a similar color to the pet hair? At least its camouflaged until you get around to removing it. There are also large lint rollers on long handles available that you can easily remove hair in one or two good swipes.
Finally, a matching blanket or throw can drape over the sofa for daily use. Tucking one around the cushions (like a bed sheet) can protect the fabric underneath and easily be thrown in the washing machine.
Both Lucy and Rocco can attest that being a good watchdog is a full-time job. A clear window view is essential so make sure they have safe access. Avoid cords and tassels on drapes and blinds to prevent your pet from getting wrapped up. Make sure all wires and electrical cords are firmly secured also. Even the electrical socket covers we install for babies are a good idea to prevent an unnecessary shock. If possible, pull window treatments out of the way – both for accidental snags and also to clear the view.
If you’ve got window watchers, make sure family and friends know not to leave the window open or unlocked, and that screens are secure. And if your sofa shows signs of wear from the daily perch, consider a sturdier post such as a bench or ledge made specifically for your pet.
Where should Bromley put his stuff?
Bromley lives in a high rise in downtown Chicago, so organization options are a top priority. Look for creative ways to store pet toys that blend with your décor rather than the traditional box or basket in the corner of the room (although this is a good option if the container blends with your space), consider a dual duty ottoman with a lid that lifts so you can rest your feet and store the dog toys at the same time.
Pet organization has come a long way – we recently renovated a laundry room and incorporated a pull-out feeding system to tuck away the food bowls when not needed. It was like the one below.
There are also end tables that are enclosed and hide a litter box. -- great for tight spaces and city living
6. Pets often "Have No Rules"
This is Millie from Minnesota.
While this deceiving photo shows Millie containing herself in a box, her real life tells a different story as she can often be found at eye level ( on tables) and above (tops of cabinets) at any given time.
If you have a climber, and don’t like a carpeted pet tree in the middle of your space, here are some fun ideas that can be blended seamlessly into your décor.
Wall shelves can be staggered or run like a border about 12” from the ceiling creating an indoor catwalk.
Think about a creative look for the traditional cat tree like this one from Bear and Sheep. This one could add a rustic look tucked into a corner while providing dual duty for people watching.
Millie also is a cabinet walker – she skims across the top of kitchen cabinets. In this case, I would recommend taking kitchen cabinets up to the ceiling (just a tip to keep in mind for house purchase or remodel).
Morty is a great guy but tends to need more reminders than most on what is ok to eat and what is not. See the bare sticks in the plant next to him? That is what remains of a poinsettia plant – for those who have heard poinsettias are poisonous to animals Morty is living proof that they are merely irritating to the digestive system - but not deadly.
But that brings ups a good point. What houseplants are perfectly safe for a guy like him and which ones should you avoid?
Safe houseplants include; Areca palms, Maidenhair ferns, Rubber plant, Boston fern, Spider plants, and Staghorn ferns.
Toxic plants for pets include; Aloe, Lilies, Dracaena, Pothos, English Ivy, Jade, and Philodendrons.
When considering adding houseplants (a huge design trend right now), a quick search on Google is well worth it to make sure there is no danger to your 4-legged friends. Or check out these beautiful artificial plants that are making a comeback in design on our recent blog:
I’m not going to implicate any of our team on this one – although it probably is a good tip for pet owners across the board. There are new carpets on the market designed just for homes with pets. Stainmaster offers a pet protect product which help prevent pet stains, releases the hair, reduces pet odors, and offers outstanding fade resistance. Nothing is fool proof, but this option may buy you some time for those unexpected accidents.
Gone are the days of formal rooms where kids and pets were not allowed. Today we use our homes fully and as you can see just from the number of family members on our NPD pet team, many of us share our spaces with animals. Hopefully these tips will come in handy when you’re making purchases for your home.
If you need help finding any of the fabrics or products above, feel free to email or give us a call.
We’d love to help you with your project, just give a call for information on working with us.