Whether you’ve got a new little companion arriving soon or man’s best friend is already by your side, one thing’s for sure: Designing a pet-friendly home that finds the balance between your desires and your dog’s needs is no easy feat.
After all, while your pets are quick to fill your home with love, they’re also quick to make themselves feel right at home. And more often than not, their idea of comfort doesn’t really align with your idea of interior styling and convenience!
It’s not just your decor choices that become problematic when it comes to considering your dog, either. Playing house with your pooch can also make cleaning tricky.
They obviously don’t do so intentionally (would our little furry friends ever do anything wrong intentionally?!), but dogs can leave behind plenty of messes on a day-to-day basis. This makes household maintenance much more challenging as a result.
So, how do you solve some of these decorating dilemmas? How do you establish a home design that’s considerate to your canine while still achieving an equilibrium that keeps the interior looking stylishly on-trend for years on end?
Allow us to show you…
1. Opt for Scratch- and Bite-Resistant Furniture
Furniture is one of the biggest considerations when performing any interior revamp — after all, these interior features can really make or break a room’s design.
While, of course, you’ll require very different furniture in your living room than you will in your kitchen, you’ll also need to consider which pieces best suit (or don’t suit) your dog’s daily habits and pick appropriate dog-friendly furniture based on both convenience and precaution.
For example, even if your cute little terror is able to resist the temptation of scratching that new sofa, that set of wooden drawers may well look just too tantalizing to resist!
If you’ve had dogs (particularly puppies) before, the sight of less-than-desirable scratch and bite marks on sofas and cabinets will be all too familiar. But with these bigger furniture items serving as such staple features of any room, how do you combat this issue without compromising your interior plans?
Well, to ensure the longevity of your furniture, it’s best to just avoid certain materials and builds altogether. Exposed wood rattan drawers and baskets, for example, can be all too tempting for tiny teeth and paws looking to explore.
Opt for solid furniture materials such as metal instead — not only will these materials stand up better to your pup’s adventurous side, but they will hopefully look less appealing to their gnashers too.
With this in mind, be sure to still provide plenty of soft chew toys and treats to help your pet through the teething process and reinforce that your new aluminium kitchen fitting isn’t for chewing!
2. Ensure Upholstery Stays Fur-Free
While some breeds are more inclined to claw and scratch than others, protecting upholstered furniture from marking is always a good idea. Of course, this all depends on how many luxuries your dog is given around the home.
Plastic sheets around chair and sofa legs should be enough to deter little puppies on the floor from scratches and nibbles during the early stages of their growth, and we’d recommend choosing a thick woven fabric that doesn’t easily pucker to drape over your furniture, should you have a spoiled pooch who’s allowed to sit on the sofa!
Sure, we’re all guilty of curling up on the sofa or in a comfy chair, giving in to pets who also want a piece of the action — after all, who can resist those puppy dog eyes?
With this in mind, it might be worth considering the materials you use to upholster furniture items. Fabric throws may provide short-term protection against claws and teeth, but they’re sure to pick up plenty of fur in the process.
Unfortunately, common upholstery materials such as silk and velvet are magnets for dog hair, so we recommend avoiding them where possible to ensure the aesthetic longevity of your furniture.
More practical alternatives include leather, which is not only easy to wipe down, but it also provides all the comfort both you and your dog need, meaning it really does provide the best of both worlds!
Be sure to also consider the color of your materials, too. Darker shades are a more sensible option, as these will allow your four-legged friend to curl up and get comfy without hair immediately showing up on your furniture.
If you’re particularly concerned about appearance and the hygiene issues that come with dogs shedding on your furniture, it could even be worth sourcing a fluffy blanket or comfy dog bed that can be kept next to your furniture items. A dog couch cover is another option for keeping your furniture fur-free!
This way, your dog can remain both comfy and by your side (without the worry of dog hair ruining your new chair) when the time comes to sit back and relax.
3. Choose a Flooring That’s Easy to Clean
Sure, carpet can be cozy underfoot, but as any experienced dog owner will tell you, it’s not always the most dog-friendly flooring option.
From accidents during the early toilet training stages to the carnage following wet or muddy walks, a house with a dog rarely stays clean for long — especially when carpet is involved!
With this in mind, think practically about your flooring options, being sure not to sacrifice style all the while.
For example, opting for popular flooring solutions such as smooth laminate or cool floor tiles will ensure your home stays both effortlessly on-trend and easy to maintain. Simply sweep, whip out the powerful pet-hair-proof vacuum, and then mop as and when required to combat tough stains and difficult hairs.
Also remember that every hair you vacuum up from the floor and furniture is one more piece of dog hair that won’t be stuck on your clothes on laundry day!
The practical advantages of paneled or tiled flooring don’t just serve you, either — your pooch is sure to thank you too! Unlike carpet, which can often become warm underfoot during the hotter summer months, sensible flooring alternatives can help your canine stay cool when the temperatures rise too high.
Alternatively, by pairing an underfloor heating system with your flooring, you can provide your pup with a toasty surface to ensure they’re staying warm during the colder winter periods.
If this can’t be accommodated within your budget, opt instead for low-pile dog-friendly rugs that can be scattered around the home. Not only will this approach allow you to let your decorative flair run wild, but it also ensures your dog can stay comfy and warm as and when needed.
Better yet, rugs can be easily moved and maintained, providing the utmost convenience to both you and your pooch.
4. Avoid Textured Walls
While they might not be at the top of your list when it comes to designing a home for you and your pet, walls can actually be the source of many problems if they’re not given the appropriate attention.
From the texture to the finish and all the decorative accessories in between, there’s more to consider than you may have originally envisioned!
From dirty paw marks to sticky fur, walls can be very problematic to wipe down should they require it. With this in mind, it is sometimes a good idea to avoid textured wallpaper, as this will typically make it harder to cover up marks and stains.
The same consideration should be made about color, too. Lighter shades will show up marks more obviously, so these should be avoided if your ‘artistic’ pup is particularly inclined to producing muddy prints!
To remain both practical and cost-effective, look to finish your walls in a satin or gloss finish. This will ensure your walls are easier to clean and maintain, especially in high traffic areas of the home, meaning you won’t be tasked with a mammoth cleaning job every time your mucky mutt strays a little too close to those walls!
5. Paw-Proof Your Windows
From nose prints on glass doors to paw prints on accessible windows, our furry friends are curious creatures, meaning they’ll be exploring each and every crevice they can get to.
Unfortunately, without the necessary precautions, this can spell bad news for your windows. Of course, your dog should be allowed to run free in your home — after all, it’s their home too. So, you’ll need to accept that smudge marks may be a regular occurrence.
Be sure to invest in some pet-friendly cleaning products nonetheless, keeping them on hand to ensure a certain standard of cleanliness and aesthetics.
When it comes to dressing your windows, it’s best to avoid thick curtains that block your dog’s view. After all, watching the world go by is an age-old hobbie of dogs, young and old.
So instead, opt for pull-up dog-proof window blinds, being sure to keep cords out of reach of younger, inquisitive pups who champion a play time of tugging and chewing over the quality of your interior style!
On the other hand, if you have a dog who is very reactive and barks at everything they see outside, you may actually want thicker curtains or window clings.
Designing a home for you and your canine companion doesn’t have to mean choosing between style and functionality — armed with the right know-how and some careful considerations and creativity, you can establish a harmonious interior that benefits both you and your pooch.
Do you have any helpful home decor hacks for making your house pup-friendly? Share your tips in the comments!
Author Bio: Suhayl Laher works at Tiles Direct, one of the UK’s largest independent tile distributors and retailers – bringing design inspiration to homeowners, architects and developers with an extensive collection of traditional and contemporary tiles ranging from classic Victorian style to modern brick-effect tiles.