Anyone with a pet will know the effect they can have on our home decor. No matter how much we love them, those muddy paw prints on our brand new sofa never get easier to live with. Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice a stylish home for a pet filled one. Follow these ten easy home design tips, and you’ll never need to worry about those paw prints again.
1. Pet Furniture
Struggling to keep your pet’s paws off your furniture? Then you might want to consider investing in some furniture just for them. Sofas, chairs, and even beds can go from pristine to filthy within just a few minutes of your pet’s attentions, and short of covering them in plastic or using a pet deterrent spray, there’s not an awful lot you can do to break their attachment to a soft seat. Beat them at their own game by supplying their own miniature versions. As dogs and cats are social critters, placing their furniture next to your own will not only satisfy their social cravings, it’ll also encourage them to learn the difference between what’s yours, and what’s theirs.
2. Pet Showers
If your dog likes nothing more than rolling in mud or paddling through dirty puddles, mitigate the effects of their habits on your clean home by setting up a bathing station. Ideally, an outhouse is the best place for this, but failing that, a detachable shower hose by the bathtub can work equally well. Once they get used to it, most dogs will love a good hose down, and the benefits for your shiny floors will soon make themselves known.
3. Pet-Friendly Flooring
Decking your home out in wall to wall carpeting may create a cozy effect, but even the cleanest, most well-behaved pet will make short work of them. Hair, claws, muddy footprints, the occasional “accident” … give it time, and even the most ardent cleaner will struggle to keep things looking pristine. Make life easier for yourself by drooping the carpets for hard flooring. Both ceramic tiles and wooden floorboards make excellent, easy to clean options and fit most decors well. If you can’t resist a warm touch underfoot, throw a few machine washable rugs around to soften the effect.
4. Removable Covers
No matter how much you tell them “no”, no dog can resist the urge to occasionally plop themselves down on your sofa. Worse yet, you can almost guarantee they choose to do it straight after a particularly muddy walk. Covering furniture with plastic sheets used to be the go-to, but fortunately, the world of design has moved on a pace since then. Removable, machine washable covers are now readily available, with options in every style, color, and pattern you could wish for. Invest in one of these little wonders, and you’ll never need to worry about a grimy sofa again.
5. Pet Resistant Furniture
If removable covers aren’t your bag, consider investing in the kind of furniture that’s naturally pet-proof. Leather can be easily cleaned, with even scratches being removable with the right kit and a little patience. As an added boon, leather has a tendency to look better with a little “aging”, so even permanent marks won’t be quite so inconvenient as they would be otherwise. If your pet loves nothing more than a good scratch, give up on wooden-legged furniture and opt for steel instead (which is generally much more resistant to claw marks, and less tempting in the first place).
6. Matching Décor
Nothing looks worse (or is harder to avoid) then tufts of cat or dog hair all over your soft furnishings. Regular grooming can help lessen the problem, but short of shaving your pet from head to toe, there’s no way of avoiding it completely. Lessen the effect of your pet’s shedding by choosing a color scheme that “matches” your pet. Any loose hair will simply blend in, reducing the visual impact dramatically.
7. Prepare for the Worst
Pop your pet into a room stuffed with priceless artifacts and precious heirlooms, and sooner or later, disaster will ensue. No matter how well behaved your furry companion, pets and breakables simply don’t mix. Keep anything of either a sentimental or monetary value safe by stowing it away, either in a closed cupboard or in a room that’s kept strictly out of bounds. In other rooms, opt for decorations that either can’t break or aren’t so precious that you’ll mind if they do.
8. Choose Plants Wisely
While indoor plants aren’t strictly off the table if you have pets, it pays to research any greenery you bring into your home. Some plants can be irritating to pets, while others can be positively lethal. Even if the plant is safe, you’ll still need to pay attention to where (and how) you place it. Pot plants can be extremely attractive to dogs who like to dig, while cats may like more than just a nibble of any long, decorative grasses. Ideally, keep all grasses well away from little mouths, and consider covering any exposed soil with decorative pebbles – not only will this stop any unwanted digging, but it’ll also add enough weight to keep the plant upright (no matter how hard your pet tries to upend it).
9. Avoid Low Tables
A low coffee table by the side of the sofa may be de-rigor these days, but it can spell disaster for pet owners. Low slung furniture may look attractive, but it’s also just the right height for any table-top contents to fall victim to a sudden whip of a dog’s tail, or a crafty blow from your cat. Either avoid low furniture altogether or make sure that whatever you place on top is unlikely to come out the wrong side of your pet’s attentions.
10. Keep Things Closed
As Domain notes, hanging rails are becoming increasingly popular, especially in smaller apartments where a large, closed closet would take up too much precious space. While they’re convenient, exposed clothes racks are also an open invitation to pets. Avoid coming home to a pile of torn clothes and chewed shoes by keeping things safely under wraps in an armoire.