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How To Make Your Interiors More Pet Friendly.

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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.

Imagine the scene: You’ve just been out on a fabulous walk, exploring the vast open fields and returning with wellies caked in mud and a pup that is full of it too. The door opens – the gateway to your beautiful home. And before you know it, your hound is through that entrance, drying off on the sides of your magnificent new sofa.

Avoid: Thick fabric curtains – don’t deprive them of their joy!

Avoid: Letting your energetic little friend run riot around the whole house. They need to chase balls, roll excitedly around and play tug of war, but there are some areas of the house in which this is less desirable.

These beautifully-decorated Pupcakes are just the sweet treat man’s best friend desires.

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Above: A yellow Lab lays on the marble floor of this Kirsten Kelli–designed entryway in Dallas. Photo by Max Kim-Bee

In terms of aesthetics, you’ve probably figured out that light-color carpets will showcase pet stains and hair. Instead, look for darker earth tones or multicolor patterns to mask the debris that goes along with owning a dog or cat. You may even want to match the color of your carpet to the color of your pet’s fur. Not sure which hue to choose? Take a look at your sweaters. The one that hides fur the best should guide the color of your carpet.

Is your home the perfect sanctuary for your pet? Latest figures estimate that 12 million households (44 per cent) in the UK have pets, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association’s Pet Population report.

Dogs adore pigs 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.

Avoid: A highly-textured wall will attract pet fur, even if the little rascal isn’t rubbing against it.

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, she 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.)

Tip: Neutral-color sisal or seagrass mats are durable enough to stand up to pet traffic, and inexpensive enough to toss when they lose their looks.

Above: Daisy poses in the living room of the Hudson Valley home. Photo by Francesco Lagnese

Your goal: To create an entry way or mudroom that stops grime at the door. Choose flooring (see slide No. 2) that’s impervious to dirt and easy to wipe clean. Paint the wall with semi-gloss, satin, or egg-shell paint for protection against spatters. Any soft furnishings should be stitched from stain-resistant fabric. Install wall hooks to keep leashes tangle-free. Include a cabinet or set of bookshelves where you can store all your pet supplies: spare collars, outdoor apparel, treats, dog food, medicine, and toys. Keep an old towel handy for wiping muddy paws clean before your pet has a chance to track dirt through the house.

Learn how to choose pet-friendly area rugs on the next slide.

Opt for: Laminate flooring, stone or ceramic tiles. These also have the additional benefit of keeping your pets cooler during hotter weather.

Pet experts — Julia Szabo, columnist for the New York Post and author of Animal House Style: Designing a Home to Share With Your Pets (www.animalhousestyle.com), and Chicago interior designer Nan Ruvel, who designs pet-friendly interiors for her clients — share tips on pet-friendly decorating.

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.”

Got an incredible heirloom Persian rug you absolutely cannot live without? Treat it as art and hang it on the wall, where your dog or cat can’t reach it.

Beware of any exposed wood on your furniture – an excitable puppy may see it as their new favourite teething toy!

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  • Brush your pet regularly to prevent fur from collecting on floors, fabric, and furniture.
  • Choose couches and chairs with exposed legs instead of skirts that attract pet hair and dust bunnies.
  • Wipe paws clean—especially during inclement weather—to protect susceptible furnishings from stains.
  • The same goes for window treatments. Long drapes that pool on the floor will collect pet debris, so you may want to choose Roman shades or simple, easy-to-clean wood blinds instead.

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, throw pillows and 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.

Even if you match your chaise to your Siamese so perfectly that 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. 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.

Repositionable carpet tiles (such as FLOR) create the look of wall-to-wall carpeting or area rugs, but with fewer maintenance issues. Keep in mind you can easily remove a FLOR tile for cleaning or replace a section of tiles without having to replace the whole rug. Order or borrow lots of samples to check out which texture, pattern, and color suits Max or Fiona best.

“High-performance fabrics are so great now. I try whenever possible to use them on upholstery because red wine, food and anything else can be cleaned up so easily. Solution-dyed fabrics allow you to use a 1/3 bleach and 2/3 water solution to clean up. Amazing!” — Doug Meyer

Above: A pair of pups pose on the striped stairway of this California home by Burnham Design. Photo by Christopher Patey

Your pup won’t have to paws for thought over this meal! The carrots in this recipe are a great source of vitamin C, benefiting your dog’s vision, heart, skin and lungs!

Don’t overlook walls – they could become a headache to clean if you don’t consider their texture.

Opt for: A pet bed made of high quality materials, creating a sumptuous space for them to relax, unwind and recharge after their busy day of play.

Flat-finish paint is nearly impossible to clean; try to wipe off a dirty spot and some of the paint comes off as well, leaving an unsightly mark that must be repainted. Semigloss is the easiest to wipe down, but its sheen will call attention to every ding and irregularity in your walls. Satin or eggshell finishes are more elegant and as easy to clean as glossier paint.

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.”

If Gordie ignores your pleas to stay off the furniture, place throws on the cushions or chair backs where your dog or cat is most likely to lounge.

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.

“She comes to the office with me every day,” Gambrel says of his Labradoodle, Sailor. “She has a favorite chair at home, which is upholstered in a rugged textile, and a nice blanket in the back of the car.”

Above: A terrier lounges on an armless chair in this mid-century Miami home by Doug Meyer Studio. Photo by Mark Roskams

If the answer is ‘not quite’ then take note of these top tips from Stacey Sibley, creative director of interior designers Alexander James Interior Design, and also the proud owner of two Westies, Alfie and Piglet. Here, Stacey shares her expertise and eye for design to help you to transform your home into a ‘purrfect’ sanctuary for your four-legged friend:

“Our dog, Daisy, has full run of the New York apartment and the Hudson Valley house. There is no place that she is not allowed to sit or sleep. The only rule we have is that there’s no eating or drinking allowed in bed, and for her bed refers to any and every piece of furniture or furnishing. Eating is only in the kitchen.” — Brian J. McCarthy

Tip: Get a cat-scratching post to discourage clawing on carpets, furniture, and drapes. Place the post close to Felix’s favorite scratching spot.

Tip: Belle will appreciate having more than one bed—especially when it’s hot outside and her usual bed gets too warm. Consider giving her multiple options.

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

Above: Teddy (top) and Gypsy Marlow perch on a sofa at Alex Papachristidis Interiors. Photo by Michelle Rose, from K9-5: New York Dogs at Work (Pointed Leaf Press)

“Pet beds have become somewhat of an accessory in homes. We like using coordinating fabrics to create custom beds. Consider appliquéing your pets name on the bed in a contrasting color to make even more of a statement.” — Kirsten Kelli

Tip: Be prepared to act immediately if a pet eliminates on the carpet or barfs on your favorite chair. Keep a stash of cleaning rags and enzymatically formulated cleaning products (especially for use with pets) in easy reach of likely rooms.

Treat your feline friend to a delicious cookie treat, made by its favorite human.

You already know how area rugs enhance a room. But area rugs also protect floors from claws and stains. They muffle the sound of dropped dog toys and thumping tails. They offer pets comfy spots to snooze. And they protect your pet (especially senior dogs and cats) against slipping on polished floors.

  • Fur-Toned Fabric Decorating around your favorite furry friend can help mask pet hair, so every time Whiskers hops up on his favorite sofa you don’t go running for the lint roller. Choose fur-toned upholstery for best results, and then dress it up with fun accent pillows in easy-to-clean fabrics.  Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Creature Comforts Choose a round coffee table or one with rounded edges to save Bowser from getting bruised as he chases the cat. For the sake of your floors and glass-front bookcases, provide a safe space where your pet can play with treat balls and toys. Cats typically need less human companionship than dogs, and like to seek out quiet spots to be on their own. This might mean hiding beneath the couch or snuggling inside a cat condo. Make sure you offer your cat places to spend alone time. Both cats and dogs often look for warm—or cool—spots to rest. So they will often hang out on or near the heating/air conditioning ducts. Keep that floor space clear for your furry friends that can’t add or shed clothing to accommodate temperature change. Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Love animals? Enjoy these decorating ideas that incorporate animal themes. Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Pets and Hardwood Floors So you think you (and your dogs) want a hardwood floor? Keep in mind that hardwood scratches and dents more easily than laminate flooring, stone and porcelain tiles, or concrete. You need to clean up puddles right away to keep hardwood planks from staining or warping. Still, it’s hard to beat wood’s traditional beauty. So if you pick planks, choose harder woods such as oak or mahogany. Stay away from softer, easier-to-dent woods such as pine and fir. And protect high-traffic areas with rugs. Tip: Preserve hardwood floors by trimming your pet’s nails regularly and keeping toys (which encourage activity) in another room. Learn how to choose pet-friendly area rugs on the next slide. Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Add Slip-Proof Area Rugs You already know how area rugs enhance a room. But area rugs also protect floors from claws and stains. They muffle the sound of dropped dog toys and thumping tails. They offer pets comfy spots to snooze. And they protect your pet (especially senior dogs and cats) against slipping on polished floors. From a pet-owner’s point of view, the best area rugs feature patterns with a multitude of colors that draw the eye away from dirt, stains, and pet hair. All-wool rugs (the more lanolin, the better) do a great job of resisting stains, but some synthetics can be taken outside and hosed clean. Check the rug label for details. Whichever option you choose, include a no-skid pad or double-sided tape beneath the rug so Fido and Fluffy can run safely through the house. An alternative: Anchor the area rug with heavy furniture placed on the edges. Tip: Neutral-color sisal or seagrass mats are durable enough to stand up to pet traffic, and inexpensive enough to toss when they lose their looks. Interior Design: Timothy Corrigan Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Carpet-Cleaning Tips Extend the life of your carpet by keeping your pet’s claws clipped to avoid pulling up carpet fibers. Vacuum regularly to rid the carpet of hair and other debris. Brush your pets often to keep their hair from reaching the carpet. And keep a bottle of non-toxic pet-specific cleanser on hand to remove stains and odors before they have a chance to set.  Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Think Vertically Although Fluffy sleeps A LOT, she’ll also be interested in an elevated spot to nap or view her surroundings. Add a stylish cat tower, or build in climbing opportunities through securely wall-mounted shelves (shown), partial walls, and deep window sills.  Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Protect Walls with Paint Pets, like kids, can do any number of things to damage walls. Pets like to rub up against walls as they pass by. Dogs with jowls can spray a wall with drool by shaking their heads. Cats may be tempted to scratch a wall papered in beautifully textured grass cloth. So add pattern, if desired, with all-over stencils;  save your favorite wallpaper for rooms that the dog and cat seldom visit. Instead, paint your walls in beautiful colors and keep paper towels ready to wipe away slime. Semi-gloss-finish paint is a great choice for rooms that see lots of activity and moisture (think kitchen or bath), while satin- or eggshell-finish paint make elegant choices for living areas. If you still covet a matte finish, make sure you choose a washable flat paint. Tags: PetsPost a comment
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  • Decorator-Friendly Furnishings You love your pet, but may not want the look of plastic dog and cat paraphernalia to intrude upon your beautifully styled rooms. Consider furniture-style designs, whether in the form of a DIY dog-feeding station made out of a two-seater bench (shown), or mission-style toy chests and more from bungalowpet.com (for Arts-and-Crafts style homes). Choose dog crates integrated into furniture by Amish crafters at petclassics.com. Get a French Country canopy pet bed at poshpuppyboutique.com or a traditional-style mahogany cat litter-box cabinet from wayfair.com. Above all, enjoy your pet and resolve to laugh the next time you step on something unexpected.   Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Create Special Spaces Dogs like their own dens as much as teenagers like their own rooms. Cats love to perch and climb. If you aren’t crazy about ready-made dog crates or climbing trees, incorporate these features into your room’s design. Find a space for your dog’s bed beneath cabinetry (shown) or under a window seat. Build or custom-order an MDP cat perch painted the same color as your room’s architectural trim. See more tips for pet spaces on the next slide. Design: Rosemary Merrill Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • If you’re looking at this slide show, you’re the type of person who can’t imagine living without a dog or cat. But nor do you want to compromise your sense of personal style in order to accommodate your four-legged friends. Thankfully, you don’t have to. Just consider how you really live, then design and furnish your home in pet-friendly ways. Keep clicking through to find out how. Interior Design: Mary Foley & Michael Cox Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Beautify the Dog Bed For Belle’s sake, choose a dog bed that’s large enough to accommodate her frame comfortably. For your sake, choose a dog bed that complements your décor—with stylish upholstery fabric that’s easy to keep clean. Tip: Belle will appreciate having more than one bed—especially when it’s hot outside and her usual bed gets too warm. Consider giving her multiple options. Interior Design: Stephanie Wohlner Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Install Cat- and Dog-Friendly Carpet Why choose (or live with) wall-to-wall carpeting when you have pets? Let’s be honest; dogs and cats spend a lot of time lying around doing, well, nothing. When the carpeting is wall-to-wall, they get lots of options for naps. Plus, carpeting is safer for pets because it offers a nonslip surface for moving about. And for your sake, carpet is a good choice because it absorbs sound and eliminates the clicking of claws on a hard surface. In terms of aesthetics, you’ve probably figured out that light-color carpets will showcase pet stains and hair. Instead, look for darker earth tones or multicolor patterns to mask the debris that goes along with owning a dog or cat. You may even want to match the color of your carpet to the color of your pet’s fur. Not sure which hue to choose? Take a look at your sweaters. The one that hides fur the best should guide the color of your carpet. Choose a stain-resistant low-pile carpeting to make it easier to clean up accidents. Avoid continuous loop carpet that can unravel when caught by a claw. And install an anti-microbial, moisture-resistant pad for long-term durability and to protect the floor beneath. See the next three slides for more carpet tips. Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Fashionable Furnishings Your goal is to choose upholstery fabrics that create less work for you. Think carefully before you buy chairs and sofas covered in velvet or chenille (they’re magnets for pet hair) or delicate fabrics that can be easily ruined by pets. If you want to use silk, reserve it for window treatments instead of furniture. Surprisingly, tweed can also be a nightmare to clean because pet hair gets caught in its uneven surface. See the next slide for fabrics that suit households with pets. Design: Janet Simon Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Choose Paw-Safe Fabrics For easier-to-clean options, choose denim, canvas, or sturdy synthetic options such as Crypton super fabrics (shown). The latter resists the stains, moisture, odor, and germs that go hand-in-hand with owning pets. Microfiber or microsuede fabrics (such as Ultrasuede) look great, wear well, and can usually be cleaned with soap and water. Indoor-outdoor fabrics resist moisture, UV rays, and most stains. Note: This pet-friendly room features a Queen Anne sofa upholstered in drool-resistant “Hound-in-the-Round” Crypton Super Fabric and “Adopt Me” wallpaper (with drawings of shelter dogs) by Tyler Hall. Interior Design: Eric Cohler  Also enjoy looking at “Decorating Ideas: Animal Magnetism.” Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Stylishly Safe The heart wants what it wants. So if you must have delicate designer fabrics, invest in washable slip covers made from heavy fabric such as canvas or denim. Many designers swear by white slipcovers that can be washed—and bleached—if needed. Take the slip covers off before company comes—if desired. Or try and strictly enforce a “no-furniture” rule for your pets. (Good luck!) Interior Design: Gary McBournie Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Keep Collectibles Safe You already know this is true if you live with a Golden Retriever, a Chocolate Lab, or any other big dog. One sweep of its mighty tail and that collection of figurines on your coffee table will go flying. The same goes for breakables that stand in the way of cats that clamber where they shouldn’t. So either stick to collecting sturdy cast-iron treasures, or display your fragile favorites from within the relative safety of a china cabinet or hutch. Interior Design: Randy Korando and Dan Belman Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Dress Beds in Washable Fabrics Admit it. You sometimes share your bed with a furry four-legged bundle of joy. Help protect that bed against the inevitable hair, tracked dirt, and accidents that will happen if you let your dog or cat sleep with you. Duvet covers work better than bedspreads or quilts in this situation because the former can be removed and washed whenever needed. Choose sturdy sheets in a medium shade or multi-color pattern that can hide a little pet hair between washings. Protect the mattress with a moisture-resistant mattress pad. Tip: Is your dog too old or too small to hop up into bed with you? Consider a mini-staircase or a ramp to make it easier for Barney to reach the top of the mattress. Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Choose Durable Floors Pets, paw prints, and piddle: You need hard-surface flooring to keep pet-occupied rooms in tip-top shape. Choices such as laminate flooring, stone or ceramic tiles, or painted concrete might be easier to keep clean and stain-free than carpet. Such floors are also cooler in hot weather, an important consideration for pets with thick or long fur. Tip: Polished planks or tiles can be slippery, especially for older dogs and cats. You may need to add area rugs or rubber mats for safety’s sake. Read more about hardwood floors on the next slide. Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Temporary Measures If Gordie ignores your pleas to stay off the furniture, place throws on the cushions or chair backs where your dog or cat is most likely to lounge. Tip: Be prepared to act immediately if a pet eliminates on the carpet or barfs on your favorite chair. Keep a stash of cleaning rags and enzymatically formulated cleaning products (especially for use with pets) in easy reach of likely rooms. Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Provide a Window View Both cats and dogs (especially those that spend most of their lives indoors) will appreciate the entertainment value of a large window overlooking the street. You may need to place suitable furniture below or alongside a window to make that possible. Make sure you’re able to close off the view with a window treatment or external shutters in case your pet barks excessively at the mail carrier or other pets seen “trespassing” on the property. Tip: Make sure any screens or bars are properly installed to prevent escape—or accidents—if the window is open.  Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • One Tile at a Time Repositionable carpet tiles (such as FLOR) create the look of wall-to-wall carpeting or area rugs, but with fewer maintenance issues. Keep in mind you can easily remove a FLOR tile for cleaning or replace a section of tiles without having to replace the whole rug. Order or borrow lots of samples to check out which texture, pattern, and color suits Max or Fiona best. Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • A Few Words about Keeping Rooms Clean(er) Choose couches and chairs with exposed legs instead of skirts that attract pet hair and dust bunnies. The same goes for window treatments. Long drapes that pool on the floor will collect pet debris, so you may want to choose Roman shades or simple, easy-to-clean wood blinds instead. Brush your pet regularly to prevent fur from collecting on floors, fabric, and furniture. Wipe paws clean—especially during inclement weather—to protect susceptible furnishings from stains. Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Patterned Picks You won’t be surprised to hear us say, “Avoid white!” when it comes to upholstery. Instead, choose tightly woven upholstery fabrics with patterns, textures, and darker colors that help camouflage stains and pet hair. Not sure which pattern works best? When ordering furniture, bring home several fabric samples and use them to “pet” the dog or cat. The winning sample is the one that does the best job of disguising your pet’s hair. Interior Design: Christopher Hyland Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Leather: Pros and Cons Leather is also a good choice for a pet-owner’s furniture because it’s durable and easy to clean. But leather is not indestructible. It can be punctured by big claws, and those holes can be tough to repair. Leather can be scratched, too, so make sure you’re comfortable with the natural patina that is sure to develop. For best results choose top grain, semi-aniline leathers; those hides are dyed through and then treated for additional protection. Check out the next slide for more upholstery tips. Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Create a Pet-Friendly Entry Your goal: To create an entry way or mudroom that stops grime at the door. Choose flooring (see slide No. 2) that’s impervious to dirt and easy to wipe clean. Paint the wall with semi-gloss, satin, or egg-shell paint for protection against spatters. Any soft furnishings should be stitched from stain-resistant fabric. Install wall hooks to keep leashes tangle-free. Include a cabinet or set of bookshelves where you can store all your pet supplies: spare collars, outdoor apparel, treats, dog food, medicine, and toys. Keep an old towel handy for wiping muddy paws clean before your pet has a chance to track dirt through the house. Wintertime Tip:  Keep a bucket handy for filling with warm water and thoroughly cleaning paws that may have come in contact with ice melting products. Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Beautifully Blended For less time spent vacuuming, choose carpet and/or area rugs that coordinate with your pet’s fur. The same thing goes for upholstered furniture.  See the next three slides for advice about choosing upholstery. Tip: Get a cat-scratching post to discourage clawing on carpets, furniture, and drapes. Place the post close to Felix’s favorite scratching spot. Tags: PetsPost a comment
  • Neutral Territory Neutral-color sisal or seagrass mats are durable enough to stand up to pet traffic, and inexpensive enough to toss when they lose their looks. Tags: PetsPost a comment

Avoid: Tables that sit too low – the candles, glasses and other breakables sitting atop may fall to their calamitous end if a tail wags too close.

Nan Ruvel suggests displaying fragile valuables in a china cabinet with glass-panel doors. “That way you can see them, but your pet can’t break them,” she says.

Pets, paw prints, and piddle: You need hard-surface flooring to keep pet-occupied rooms in tip-top shape. Choices such as laminate flooring, stone or ceramic tiles, or painted concrete might be easier to keep clean and stain-free than carpet. Such floors are also cooler in hot weather, an important consideration for pets with thick or long fur.

Learn to make these yummy-looking Dream Puffs, and your dog will be forever grateful.

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.”

Tip: Polished planks or tiles can be slippery, especially for older dogs and cats. You may need to add area rugs or rubber mats for safety’s sake.

“The key is choosing the right materials and accommodating your animals’ needs,” says author Julia Szabo, who shares her digs with a dozen rescued dogs and cats. She 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.”

The House Counselor Answers: How Do You Protect Hardwood Floors From Pets?

Leather is also a good choice for a pet-owner’s furniture because it’s durable and easy to clean. But leather is not indestructible. It can be punctured by big claws, and those holes can be tough to repair. Leather can be scratched, too, so make sure you’re comfortable with the natural patina that is sure to develop. For best results choose top grain, semi-aniline leathers; those hides are dyed through and then treated for additional protection.

Photo by Michelle Rose, from K9-5: New York Dogs at Work (Pointed Leaf Press)

Opt for: Carefully considering the space in your home and thinking about how you can avoid any unfortunate mishaps – after all pets aren’t always aware of their surroundings and they don’t mean to cause any trouble.

Tip: Make sure any screens or bars are properly installed to prevent escape—or accidents—if the window is open. 

So you think you (and your dogs) want a hardwood floor? Keep in mind that hardwood scratches and dents more easily than laminate flooring, stone and porcelain tiles, or concrete. You need to clean up puddles right away to keep hardwood planks from staining or warping.

“My trick is placing miniature furniture, such as a divine antique child’s chair, around the home. This allows your pet to easily reach a bed or sofa, wherever needed.” — Alex Papachristidis

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.

Still, it’s hard to beat wood’s traditional beauty. So if you pick planks, choose harder woods such as oak or mahogany. Stay away from softer, easier-to-dent woods such as pine and fir. And protect high-traffic areas with rugs.

For Belle’s sake, choose a dog bed that’s large enough to accommodate her frame comfortably. For your sake, choose a dog bed that complements your décor—with stylish upholstery fabric that’s easy to keep clean.

Above: Katie Ridder and Peter Pennoyer’s dachshund, Teddy, stands at the door of their Millbrook, New York, home. Photo by Eric Piasecki, courtesy of Vendome

Neutral-color sisal or seagrass mats are durable enough to stand up to pet traffic, and inexpensive enough to toss when they lose their looks.

An essential part of pet friendly interior design must surely be the addition of their very own comfy pet bed.

Note: This pet-friendly room features a Queen Anne sofa upholstered in drool-resistant “Hound-in-the-Round” Crypton Super Fabric and “Adopt Me” wallpaper (with drawings of shelter dogs) by Tyler Hall.

Decorating around your favorite furry friend can help mask pet hair, so every time Whiskers hops up on his favorite sofa you don’t go running for the lint roller. Choose fur-toned upholstery for best results, and then dress it up with fun accent pillows in easy-to-clean fabrics. 

Admit it. You sometimes share your bed with a furry four-legged bundle of joy. Help protect that bed against the inevitable hair, tracked dirt, and accidents that will happen if you let your dog or cat sleep with you. Duvet covers work better than bedspreads or quilts in this situation because the former can be removed and washed whenever needed. Choose sturdy sheets in a medium shade or multi-color pattern that can hide a little pet hair between washings. Protect the mattress with a moisture-resistant mattress pad.

Fill your kitchen with the scent of fresh-baked cookies, and make your pup drool at the same time with these yummy peanut butter treats.

Your goal is to choose upholstery fabrics that create less work for you. Think carefully before you buy chairs and sofas covered in velvet or chenille (they’re magnets for pet hair) or delicate fabrics that can be easily ruined by pets. If you want to use silk, reserve it for window treatments instead of furniture. Surprisingly, tweed can also be a nightmare to clean because pet hair gets caught in its uneven surface.

Dogs and cats can reek havoc on hardwood flooring. Laurie March has some tips on finishes and maintenance that will keep your floors looking great.

“Depending on the color of your dog, some fabrics will show more hair. With dark-haired dogs, stay with darker fabrics. With lighter-haired dogs, lighter colored fabrics are your friend. It is always a good idea to make slipcovers that can live on the sofas, so your dogs can sit with you. It is also a fun way to change up decor.” — Sara Gilbane

Choose a stain-resistant low-pile carpeting to make it easier to clean up accidents. Avoid continuous loop carpet that can unravel when caught by a claw. And install an anti-microbial, moisture-resistant pad for long-term durability and to protect the floor beneath.

Wintertime Tip:  Keep a bucket handy for filling with warm water and thoroughly cleaning paws that may have come in contact with ice melting products.

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, makes a room look sleek and elegant and 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.

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Baking homemade snacks for your dog or cat is a fun way to show you care. Follow these simple recipes for dog biscuits and cat treats so you’ll know exactly what your pet is eating.

The pet population currently stands at around 54 million, and of this, 27 per cent of households have dogs and 17 per cent have cats, but have you created a harmonious living space that your pet will love and equally feel at home in?

In light of the inevitable rainy, muddy days and those early months when your puppy/kitten is still learning to toilet-train, we highly recommend flooring that is easy to clean.

“I have two giant Labs, and they go everywhere with me. I have no problem with them getting on the sofa with me for movie night cuddles, but I am also aware that guests may not want to leave my home covered in dog hair after sitting on my furniture. I use these heavy-duty canvas blankets from Utility Canvas. They’re super durable and come in a ton of colors, and are easy to toss in the wash.” — Nathan Turner

“Over the years, we have learned that pets love carpet just as much as we do. It is soft on their paws, provides traction for playing and is a great place to nap. Choosing a lower carpet over a deep or shag is a must, as the latter types are easily confused with grass or a litter box.” — Kirsten Kelli

Every pet loves to peer out of the window to watch for their owners coming home and to bask in the sunshine on those sunny days.

Love animals? Enjoy these decorating ideas that incorporate animal themes.

Both cats and dogs (especially those that spend most of their lives indoors) will appreciate the entertainment value of a large window overlooking the street. You may need to place suitable furniture below or alongside a window to make that possible. Make sure you’re able to close off the view with a window treatment or external shutters in case your pet barks excessively at the mail carrier or other pets seen “trespassing” on the property.

Opt for: Install an entryway door to offer you an entrance space in which to dry off and wash down your doggy before they can enter the home. Store pet wipes, dog treats and other essentials in a cupboard at this entrance to keep the area harmoniously tidy.

From a pet-owner’s point of view, the best area rugs feature patterns with a multitude of colors that draw the eye away from dirt, stains, and pet hair. All-wool rugs (the more lanolin, the better) do a great job of resisting stains, but some synthetics can be taken outside and hosed clean. Check the rug label for details.

Pets, like kids, can do any number of things to damage walls. Pets like to rub up against walls as they pass by. Dogs with jowls can spray a wall with drool by shaking their heads. Cats may be tempted to scratch a wall papered in beautifully textured grass cloth. So add pattern, if desired, with all-over stencils;  save your favorite wallpaper for rooms that the dog and cat seldom visit.

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“Rugs are always better in wool, which is cleanable, or olefin, which is outdoor and can be hosed down.” — Trip Haenisch

For less time spent vacuuming, choose carpet and/or area rugs that coordinate with your pet’s fur. The same thing goes for upholstered furniture.  See the next three slides for advice about choosing upholstery.

the dog lies on the beige carpet and looks at vacuum cleaner

Avoid: Fabrics that are a magnet for pet hair e.g. velvet, mohair, corduroy, velour or chenille. Steer clear of any delicate materials that could be damaged by your adorable little friend e.g. silk.

From flooring to furniture, snag some great ideas here for creating a pretty pet-friendly environment.

Even if your pet goes to the groomer regularly, he or she will still leave smudges on walls and door jambs. A basset hound can sling drool across a room and onto a wall with a shake of his head, and a parrot can fling all sorts of goo out of his cage and onto the wall.

Dogs like their own dens as much as teenagers like their own rooms. Cats love to perch and climb. If you aren’t crazy about ready-made dog crates or climbing trees, incorporate these features into your room’s design. Find a space for your dog’s bed beneath cabinetry (shown) or under a window seat. Build or custom-order an MDP cat perch painted the same color as your room’s architectural trim.

Whichever option you choose, include a no-skid pad or double-sided tape beneath the rug so Fido and Fluffy can run safely through the house. An alternative: Anchor the area rug with heavy furniture placed on the edges.

See the next slide for fabrics that suit households with pets.

Instead, paint your walls in beautiful colors and keep paper towels ready to wipe away slime. Semi-gloss-finish paint is a great choice for rooms that see lots of activity and moisture (think kitchen or bath), while satin- or eggshell-finish paint make elegant choices for living areas. If you still covet a matte finish, make sure you choose a washable flat paint.

“Dog-friendly design is so easy today with outdoor fabrics and rugs that are so luxurious and cleanable. Whether you use a dressy velvet or linen texture, it’s not a problem to find durable but beautiful textiles. Being a whippet owner and a cat lover, I have lived with pets and beautiful surroundings that harmonize.” — Tara Shaw

Yes, you can use rugs. The trick is to buy inexpensive ones. Unlike carpet, rugs can be picked up and cleaned or thrown out. Sisal or seagrass mats are a good choice, says Julia, because they provide an elegant, neutral backdrop that will go with any decor. They’re durable enough to withstand pet traffic, and they’re cheap enough to toss when they get grungy. If disposable rugs strike you as an expensive way to keep your house chic, consider that it’s cheaper to toss that $99 sisal rug than it is to pay for the skin problems your Newfoundland mix will develop when you put her in the yard in July.

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 and from many furniture manufacturers and interior designers; you can find it online at www.cryptonfabric.com.

Avoid: Mismatching with the rest of the room’s decor i.e. don’t place a traditional tartan pet bed into a swanky, sleek apartment, rather select a simpler, more contemporary design that will enhance the rest of your interiors.

You already know this is true if you live with a Golden Retriever, a Chocolate Lab, or any other big dog. One sweep of its mighty tail and that collection of figurines on your coffee table will go flying. The same goes for breakables that stand in the way of cats that clamber where they shouldn’t. So either stick to collecting sturdy cast-iron treasures, or display your fragile favorites from within the relative safety of a china cabinet or hutch.

Don’t let your house go to the dogs and the cats. Follow these tips and you can keep your floors, walls and furniture looking great.

If you’re looking at this slide show, you’re the type of person who can’t imagine living without a dog or cat. But nor do you want to compromise your sense of personal style in order to accommodate your four-legged friends. Thankfully, you don’t have to. Just consider how you really live, then design and furnish your home in pet-friendly ways. Keep clicking through to find out how.

Is Fido having trouble getting up on the sofa or getting into the car? Build a portable ramp that extends from 16 to 30 inches so he can be right next to you.

Above: At Gambrel’s New York office is Scottish terrier Wallace, who belongs to the firm’s head project manager, Elizabeth Stanton. Photo by Michelle Rose, from K9-5: New York Dogs at Work (Pointed Leaf Press)

You won’t be surprised to hear us say, “Avoid white!” when it comes to upholstery. Instead, choose tightly woven upholstery fabrics with patterns, textures, and darker colors that help camouflage stains and pet hair. Not sure which pattern works best? When ordering furniture, bring home several fabric samples and use them to “pet” the dog or cat. The winning sample is the one that does the best job of disguising your pet’s hair.

Extend the life of your carpet by keeping your pet’s claws clipped to avoid pulling up carpet fibers. Vacuum regularly to rid the carpet of hair and other debris. Brush your pets often to keep their hair from reaching the carpet. And keep a bottle of non-toxic pet-specific cleanser on hand to remove stains and odors before they have a chance to set. 

  • Cats typically need less human companionship than dogs, and like to seek out quiet spots to be on their own. This might mean hiding beneath the couch or snuggling inside a cat condo. Make sure you offer your cat places to spend alone time.
  • Both cats and dogs often look for warm—or cool—spots to rest. So they will often hang out on or near the heating/air conditioning ducts. Keep that floor space clear for your furry friends that can’t add or shed clothing to accommodate temperature change.
  • Choose a round coffee table or one with rounded edges to save Bowser from getting bruised as he chases the cat.
  • For the sake of your floors and glass-front bookcases, provide a safe space where your pet can play with treat balls and toys.

Above: Tara Shaw’s dog relaxes on a daybed in her New Orleans home. Photo courtesy of Tara Shaw Design

Although Fluffy sleeps A LOT, she’ll also be interested in an elevated spot to nap or view her surroundings. Add a stylish cat tower, or build in climbing opportunities through securely wall-mounted shelves (shown), partial walls, and deep window sills. 

“In New York City, Chiccio’s favorite chair is a Marco Zanuso Martingale chair in Holland & Sherry wool. We also use in these spaces antique rugs with enough pattern and color contrast to allow inevitable stains to disappear. ” — Michael Haverland

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Think carefully about the fabrics you choose to upholster and how likely they are to gather fur.

“For dogs, I prefer open-grain wood like a fumed oak floor. I also like nubby textiles, heavy linens and cottons. The more texture you add, the better chance of it aging gracefully.”

Fragile items and animals don’t mix. One bat of a dog’s tail or swat of a cat’s paw will send your collection of Will-George flamingo figurines skittering across the room like bowling pins. “If you must collect something, collect cast-iron doorstops,” Julia Szabo says. “Put them where your dog won’t trip over them. They look great in a room, and your pets can’t hurt them.”

“We love to use indoor/outdoor rugs for clients with dogs. The polypropylene makes it especially easy to wipe away any mess, including accidents, with just soap and water. Swahili-style baskets are also a great-looking way to contain dog toys and treats.” — Katie Ridder

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An all-important part of a pet’s day is the need for space in the home to play.

“For pets, leather has to be our favorite no-stress upholstery choice. Cleaning is as easy as a wipe-down, and it’s one of the more odor-resistant materials out there. Avoid heavier textured fabrics, as shedding dog hair can easily get trapped!” — Consort

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.

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 bed sheets, 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.

“It’s fair to say that our clients who have pets are laissez faire when it comes to their furry family members. Of course, if you have a dog that sheds, you might make some choices about where they are allowed and where they are not. It is either that or have fastidious housekeeping!” — Brian J. McCarthy

For easier-to-clean options, choose denim, canvas, or sturdy synthetic options such as Crypton super fabrics (shown). The latter resists the stains, moisture, odor, and germs that go hand-in-hand with owning pets. Microfiber or microsuede fabrics (such as Ultrasuede) look great, wear well, and can usually be cleaned with soap and water. Indoor-outdoor fabrics resist moisture, UV rays, and most stains.

Tip: Preserve hardwood floors by trimming your pet’s nails regularly and keeping toys (which encourage activity) in another room.

Avoid: Hardwood floors that dent/scratch easily and require rapid cleaning should a puddle appear (hardwood floors stain very quickly)! If you are absolutely set for those beautiful wooden floors, then opt for harder woods e.g. mahogany or oak.

Above all, enjoy your pet and resolve to laugh the next time you step on something unexpected.  

Opt for: Lightweight, sheer fabric curtains that will allow them to enjoy their view. If you have blinds, make sure you pull them up so the little darlings don’t bring them down accidentally.

“Go with wool carpets and steel clear of jute and sisal, as the natural aroma of jute has a way of encouraging dogs to relieve themselves. Wool is easy to clean and will last you!” — Sara Gilbane

Why choose (or live with) wall-to-wall carpeting when you have pets? Let’s be honest; dogs and cats spend a lot of time lying around doing, well, nothing. When the carpeting is wall-to-wall, they get lots of options for naps. Plus, carpeting is safer for pets because it offers a nonslip surface for moving about. And for your sake, carpet is a good choice because it absorbs sound and eliminates the clicking of claws on a hard surface.

Instead, spend your decorating dollars on framed prints, photos and paintings, Julia says. “Art hangs on the walls, out of reach of your pets.”

Above: Trip Haenisch & Associates designed this bedroom in West Hollywood. Photo by Tim Street-Porter

Opt for: Sliding them underneath the toe kick of your kitchen cabinetry, bringing them out for food time, and slotting that water dish around a corner so your furry friends always have fresh water available.

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Opt for: Metal and chrome will leave your would-be teether searching for another toy.

You love your pet, but may not want the look of plastic dog and cat paraphernalia to intrude upon your beautifully styled rooms. Consider furniture-style designs, whether in the form of a DIY dog-feeding station made out of a two-seater bench (shown), or mission-style toy chests and more from bungalowpet.com (for Arts-and-Crafts style homes). Choose dog crates integrated into furniture by Amish crafters at petclassics.com. Get a French Country canopy pet bed at poshpuppyboutique.com or a traditional-style mahogany cat litter-box cabinet from wayfair.com.

Above: A maltese reclines on a sofa in an Upper East Side bedroom by Kirsten Kelli, LLC. Photo by Stephen Karlisch

Tip: Is your dog too old or too small to hop up into bed with you? Consider a mini-staircase or a ramp to make it easier for Barney to reach the top of the mattress.

Above: A children’s playroom in Los Angeles by Consort. Photo by Daniel Collopy

Opt for: Smooth tapestries, leathers and synthetic fibres. Invest in quality textiles that will withstand the test of those claws!

Above: Nacho, one of Nathan Turner’s Labs, leans against the sofa in their Malibu living room. Photo by Victoria Pearson

Above: Fifth Avenue living room by Sara Gilbane Interiors. Photo by Zach DeSart

A pet friendly home must make special considerations for just how many accidents can happen around bushy tails and clumsy paws.

Opt for: Creating a designated ‘play space’ which your pet knows is suitable for play and where they can enjoy some quality ‘me’ time. Keep their toys stored neatly away and out of view but easily accessible.

Opt for: Satin or a semi-gloss paint, helping to repel fur and to keep those walls glistening clean.

“We are dog people, like many of our clients, so we are mindful of durability and maintenance issues related to pets. At our house in East Hampton, Chiccio — our miniature poodle — loves his Marco Zanuso Lady chairs covered in Holland & Sherry wool, which is inherently durable, has enough texture to hide stains and is easy to clean.” — Michael Haverland

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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.

Pet friendly interiors are all about keeping your space as tidy as possible, allowing that stunning new kitchen to glisten without unsightly doggy/kitty bowls smudging that perfect vision.

The heart wants what it wants. So if you must have delicate designer fabrics, invest in washable slip covers made from heavy fabric such as canvas or denim. Many designers swear by white slipcovers that can be washed—and bleached—if needed. Take the slip covers off before company comes—if desired. Or try and strictly enforce a “no-furniture” rule for your pets. (Good luck!)

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.Or try modular carpet tiles. “They’re great,” says Julia. “If a dog pees or a cat vomits, you can pull up the dirty tile and replace it with a new one. It’s much cheaper than replacing an entire rug.”

Avoid: Furniture with exposed wicker, rattan and sisal furniture.

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