When it comes to pet-proofing your home, you want your four-legged friend to be as comfortable as possible — but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice on style for the sake of your pet. Just because your furry friend is a whirlwind of chaos doesn’t mean your home can’t be designed to weather the storm. You can be both cautious and chic, with interior design and pet-friendly remodeling ideas framed around styles that can survive the most ferocious of teeth.
1. Skip the Shag
Shag carpet, fringe, or anything with stringy textures can make for a nightmare when it comes to your pets. Anything that dangles or anything with unique textures is an enticement to your pet, one that screams “eat me” and “shred me.” Once your cat has shredded your fringe or your dog has chewed the shag rug down to its base, repair is almost impossible — and many shag and fringe items are too delicate to wash in the event of messes.
Instead, stick to low-pile carpet, preferably something with a tight, smooth nap that doesn’t unravel or pill easily. Smoother carpet is also easier to clean and doesn’t absorb liquids as much. For furniture, throws, and pillows, unless it’s something you can easily replace, avoid anything with fringes, frills, appliques, or other bits your canine or kitty companion might mistake for a toy or an appetizer.
2. Hold Off the Hardwood
Many pet owners’ first instinct is to search for hardwood floors. It’s easier to clean pet messes off hardwood than carpet, but it’s also much more difficult (and expensive) to fix or replace. Wood floors require special treatment and care, and they can sometimes stain as much as carpet. If your four-legged companion is a galloper, then puppy or kitty claws can leave scratches you’ll struggle to get out. There are many pet-friendly flooring alternatives that are more durable, easier to clean, or easier to replace, including:
- Removable carpet squares
- Vinyl and laminate flooring
- Granite and other stone flooring
3. Picky About Patterns
It doesn’t matter if you have an Ibizan or an iguana, pets shed. You’re likely to find fur, feathers, scales, shed claw sheaths, old whiskers, you name it — and the most likely place you’ll find them is on your furniture. Unless you want to carry a hand-vac 24/7, you’ll want to choose furniture patterns that help conceal these omnipresent gifts left behind.
Avoid overly pale or overly dark colors, but stay away from patterns that are too busy; busy patterns are more likely to show rents and tears from claws. Instead, aim for neutral colors and muted patterns that help blend your pet’s decorative contributions into the fabric, at least until you have the energy to vacuum for the fourth time that day.
4. Personalized Pet Palaces
Pets are less likely to claim your possessions in interesting ways if they have places they can claim specifically as their own. Pets are territorial, and one reason they tend to take out a vendetta against your furniture is because they’re marking it as their own. Investing in pet furniture as part of your interior design plan gives them uncontested sovereignty over their own domain, and keeps both fur and claws off your furniture.
5. Skimp on the Small Stuff
One often-overlooked part of interior design for pets is the hazard inherent in small items. While your tchotchke shelf may be adorable, if it’s within reach of your pets, it also poses a choking hazard. Even if your pet isn’t in danger of swallowing smaller items in your home, they may still take the size and accessibility of your knick-knacks as an invitation to play. Keep everything that could be mistaken for a chew toy above any levels your pets can reach.
6. Room Reservations
One way to let your pets go wild is with a room of their own. Reserve a separate room in your house strictly for your pets. Dress it up with play centers, toys, and treats that act as triggers to let your pets know this space is just for them to feel the call of the wild.
7. Wash and Wear
Upholstered furniture suffers the most from attentive pets, and unless you want to continuously reupholster your furniture, you’ll invest in pieces that come with removable covers. Not only can removable covers be easily washed, but you can mix and match your style with different covers any time you need a replacement.