7 Ways To Keep Your Home Dog-Friendly Without Sacrificing Style

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

April 2, 2015

This article is part of our BarkPost Home vertical, The Dogified Home, full of tips, tricks, product suggestions and styling ideas for creative ways to show off your dog love in your home schweet home.

As a designer, I love filling my home with beautiful, well-designed things. As the mother of two tiny wolves (ahem, Chihuahuas) Fidel and Tito, I have to be practical in my interior decorating choices. Anyone who lives with dogs knows that nothing in your home is safe from the triple threat of pee/puke/poop, not to mention the dirt, mud and endless amount of pet hair that becomes part of your daily life. I’ve learned some valuable lessons in how to craft a living space the dogs and I can all enjoy – without compromising style.

1. Choose durable fabrics.

I was surprised to learn that velvet is one of the best upholstery choices for dog parents. Unlike woven fabrics like linen and tweed, velvet isn’t looped, so it doesn’t get snagged by dog nails or trap pet hair. It’s super easy to spot clean and dirt just wipes away. I’m so happy with my West Elm Henry Sofa in performance velvet. It’s done a great job repelling the mud that inevitably comes with two dogs in winter.

2. Throw blankets are your new best friend.

Not only are they a great way to add a splash of color or a bold pattern to your decor, but they’re also a stylish option to protect your upholstery from dirty paw prints and dog hair. If you just can’t resist that beautiful white sofa, drape a throw blanket over it to save yourself a lot of stress.

Throw blankets can also hide ugly metal crates from view. Especially in small NYC apartments, the crate can be a real pain point. I hide Tito’s crate in the corner next to the sofa and cover it with textured throw blankets so it’s mostly out of sight. It serves double-duty as Fidel’s squirrel watching station.

3. Use duvets and slip covers for worry-free snuggling.

Tito has a very sensitive stomach – and living in NYC means he occasionally finds a pizza crust or chicken bone on the sidewalk. I can’t even tell you how many times my comforter has been barfed on. Removable duvet covers in place of quilts have saved me a lot of time and money since they can get thrown in any washing machine and don’t require special laundering. Same goes for sofas, always make sure cushion covers unzip for easy removal – or opt for slipcovers.

4. Choose rugs wisely.

Hands down, rugs have been the biggest challenge in pup-proofing my home. I’ve thrown out more than my fair share of rugs that wound up being impossible to clean. Hardwood floors are the easiest option, but at 10 years old, Fidel has arthritis, so bare wood floors are a nightmare on his little joints.

When I’m shopping for rugs I look for these 4 things:

• Low pile rugs (so much easier to clean.)
• Dark colors.
• Small patterns (they hide stains better than large blocks of color.)
• Fibers that are color-fast and can be scrubbed.

Dash & Albert indoor/outdoor rugs are easy on the eyes and can also handle scrubbing, bleach and are UV treated to prevent fading. A more budget-friendly version that has been a lifesaver for me are FLOR carpet tiles. They have a lot of great options that are designed to withstand high-traffic (i.e. pup messes) and the tiles can be removed and rinsed in the sink – or just replaced.

Here’s a list of rugs that have all ended up in my trash can. Avoid them at all costs:

• Shag or chunky wool – It should be a no-brainer, but still I tried. It’s impossible to get dirt or liquid (i.e. pee) out of these high-pile rugs.
• Jute – I love the look of a hand-crafted jute rug. Unfortunately, the deep weave of these rugs brings the same issues as shag rugs. Plus, the natural fibers aren’t colorfast, so if you attempt to spot clean the colors will fade and turn yellow when wet.
• Sisal and other natural fibers – a lot of these rugs claim to be highly durable, but the natural fibers stain the second they get wet, making them impossible to clean.

5. Look for closed storage options.

Thankfully both Tito and Fidel are well out of the destructive puppy stage, but if you’re co-habitating with a puppy, heavy chewer, or just a trouble-maker, closed storage will make your life infinitely easier. Tuck away anything that would be delicious and tempting for a pup to chew on in a credenza or closed cabinets. How awesome is this IKEA hack “fauxdenza”?

6. Choose where to save and where to splurge.

We can do our best, but the reality is dogs come with muddy paws and the occasional “accident.” Sofas and bedding will get dirty and rugs will get stained, which is why I always choose budget-friendly furnishings and instead invest in accent pieces like framed art and vintage accessories. This salon wall of vintage dog art would be the perfect statement piece in any pup ruving home.

7. Embrace imperfection.

Face it: your house will not always look like a spread from Domino magazine – and that’s ok. A beautiful house or apartment is nice, but ultimately, it’s more important that it feels like home and that you share it with the ones you love. My dogs are family, and I want to create a space that they enjoy as much as I do.

Happy decorating! Please share any of your pup-friendly decorating tips in the comments!

Featured image via @id.beds

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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

April 2, 2015

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