How to Choose Pet-Friendly Furniture for your Home

There are two kinds of pet owners in this world:

Those who let their furry BFFs climb up and cuddle on the couch

And those who spend their whole lives trying to keep them off.

We know how difficult it can be to balance beautiful home design with functional, pet-friendly furniture and fabrics. And if you've decided you want to keep Little Miss Fluffy off the furniture at all times, we don't blame you for one second!  But we promise there's a very stylish common ground that you can land on to keep all your two and four-legged residents equally pleased. And if you love snuggling up with your dog or cat (or bird or lizard?) as much as we do, then you'll definitely want to make sure you've chosen the right styles and fabrics for both you and your pets.

Whether you're getting ready to take home a brand new puppy or just redesigning to better accommodate your old friend, we’re about to take you through some of our simplest and most cost-effective tips to achieve  pet-friendly home design.

What kind of fabrics are good for pets?

As a general rule of thumb, if you have pets that like to climb up the couch, you should choose fabrics that are tightly woven — such as microfibers, mohair, and acrylic. For starters, these materials don't trap in as much dirt, fur, and dander, making them a whole lot easier to keep clean. And they're also less likely to get tattered up by your little buddy's claw marks and fruitless attempts to bury bones under the couch cushions.

Loose weave fabrics like corduroy and high-maintenance (albeit beautiful) silk and velvet styles are a lot less likely to hold up in the long-term and significantly harder to clean.

There’s more to think about than couches

Before we dive more into the best fabric solutions for pet-friendly setups, we should also remind everyone that pet-proofing goes beyond the couches and chairs in your living room. You should also consider pieces like side tables and storage consoles, whose wooden legs can become unintended chew toys and scratch pads for mischievous pets. If your little friends have a habit of chewing things up, you may want to opt for some more industrial metal designs. A perfect example? RealRooms stylish collection of metal locker storage units, which are highly durable, easy to clean, and available in a great range of bold colors.

Pets and patterns = a great match

As any experienced pet owner already knows, the chance of your animal accidentally dragging in dirt and leaving marks on your furniture is pretty close to inevitable. You should realistically expect some light wear & tear to occur, but if you choose the right color and/or pattern, those little love marks will become a lot less noticeable.

Sadly, this might mean you may have to give up your hopes for an immaculate white cushion décor plan or a bright solid color that will cause even the slightest stain marks to stand out as real eye sores. Different fabric prints and layered patterns are a great solution since they’re so effective at masking subtle wear spots. If you want to choose a solid furniture color, earthy tones and calming neutrals are a good way to achieve a similar blending effect without drawing attention to any marks that your cute crawlers may leave behind. 

A slipcover might be all that you need

As much as you love your pet, you might not feel like spending thousands of dollars to buy a brand-new piece of furniture simply to accommodate your furry friend's couch-cuddling needs. We get that. And if you're just looking for a simple, quick, and budget-friendly fix, a stylish slipcover for your pre-existing furniture might be all that you need.

The same general recommendations outlined earlier in this article will apply here when it comes to choosing the right fabrics — but you don’t necessarily have to stress as much about it, since you'll likely find a good option for around 100 bucks. Slipcovers are especially good if your pet is still in the process of being house-trained, since you can quickly remove the whole thing and throw it in the washing machine. Just promise us you won't shame them too harshly. They're trying their best!

Or just start off with a great throw blanket

We never need an excuse to go shopping for beautiful throw blankets — but these stylish accessories can actually be really useful for pet owners. They can be draped over the back or arm rests when you want a smart look, and quickly spread across the cushions when the pets come indoors to protect your couch from scratch marks.

So how do you choose the right throw blanket for your couch? It’s ultimately a matter of personal preference (and perhaps finding one you won’t mind getting covered in fur), but we love to use throws as an opportunity to add texture or depth to our furniture. Don’t feel like it has to perfectly match the color of your cushions; a contrasting pattern or striped design can give your furniture a whole new feel. 

Consider a spray guard

While we're on the topic of preventative treatments, you can also take a look at pet-safe repellent sprays that you can apply to your upholstery to keep it protected from pet marks (and human food + drink spills!).  Typically, these sprays aren't very expensive and they're easy to apply (and reapply) after you've got your furniture all set up. Just make sure that the stain repellent is appropriate for your upholstery type so that it won’t cause any unintended fabric damage or discoloration and find a certified pet friendly option that is completely safe for your little buddy.

And if a spill does happen? Check out our Clean & Care Guide for tips on how to clean each kind of fabric.

At the end of the day, there are plenty of ways to achieve pet-friendly home décor — even with existing furniture. The right blend of style, durability, and smart fabrics will make a big difference. But we predict all those worries about claw marks and stains will go right out the window the second  your little besties cuddle up against your lap...

Are you a pet owner? What kind of furniture suggestions would you recommend? Tag @RealRooms on social media and let us know what you think…and maybe send a few dog + cat pics our way while you’re at it!