Pet-Friendly Home Design

Our pets are often like part of the family and we can’t imagine living without them. Whether they are brand new or fully trained, they come with lots of responsibilities. We need to consider their habits and tendencies when designing and decorating the home. We don’t want to compromise our sense of personal style to accommodate our four-legged friends. Consider how you live, then design and furnish your home in pet-friendly ways.


Pets, like kids, can do any number of things to damage walls. Pets like to rub up against walls as they pass by. Dogs can spray a wall with drool by shaking their heads. Save your favorite wallpaper for rooms that the dog seldom visits. Instead, paint your walls in beautiful colors and keep paper towels ready to wipe away slime. Add pattern, if desired, with all-over stencils.  Semi-gloss-finish paint is a great choice for rooms that see lots of activity and moisture such as kitchen or bathrooms while satin- or eggshell-finish paint make elegant choices for living areas. If you still want a matte finish, make sure you choose a washable flat paint.

Stencil-Painted Wall


Bare floors are the best choice when living with pets. Hardwood floors are easy to sweep, vacuum and wash. They add a warm and inviting feel to a room. Just be sure to keep in mind that dogs can scratch wood. Choices such as laminate flooring, stone or ceramic tiles, or painted concrete are also easier to keep clean and stain-free than carpet. Tile makes a room look sleek and stylish. Absorbent materials like marble or other natural stones aren’t as durable as other hard surfaces. Acids in pet accidents can stain them, even if they’re sealed. Painted concrete is beautiful and very durable, same with terrazzo and brick floors. These types of flooring are also cooler in hot weather, an important consideration for pets with thick or long fur.

Ceramic Tile

Carpet and Area Rugs

If you prefer carpet or need to replace existing carpet, go with a low-cut pile. It is much easier to vacuum and spot clean. It can also be professionally cleaned every few months or as needed. Avoid loop carpet because dog’s nails can pull and unravel it by catching a single loop. Choose carpet such as wool, nylon or polyester that can be cleaned easily. Natural jute and sisal can not only serve as a scratching post for animals, but is much harder to vacuum and clean.

Keep your pet’s claws clipped to avoid pulling up fibers. This, along with proper cleaning, will extend the life of your carpet. Also, brush your pets often to keep their hair from getting on the carpet. Vacuum regularly to get rid the carpet of hair and other debris. Finally, keep a bottle of non-toxic, pet-safe cleaner to remove stains and odors before they have a chance to set.

Area rugs are a better alternative to carpet. Rugs can be taken up and cleaned or easily replaced when needed. The easiest rugs with pets are polypropylene, PET or any other stain resistant type. They are durable enough to endure pet traffic and inexpensive enough to replace when they are damaged. Wool rugs are a little more formal and can also be spot cleaned and professionally cleaned when needed. Rugs give you the opportunity to create a warmer, cozier feel in a room while still being practical.

Dog on low-pile, durable carpet

Furniture and Fabrics

Cover your sofas and chairs in durable fabrics that match the color of your dog. It’s a smart choice because the hair they leave behind won’t be as noticeable. Practical, cleanable materials will make life a lot easier if your dog likes to curl up on the furniture. But, they shouldn’t be spoiled and always get to be on your sofa, especially when you have visitors. Consider high-quality pet beds that compliment your room’s style and provide a comfortable place for dogs to rest their heads.

Sofa in tan-colored Krypton fabric to match dog fur

Materials and Fabrics

When it comes to your upholstery and bedding in a pet-friendly home, materials are extremely important. Indoor/outdoor fabrics resists moisture and most stains. Teflon is a stain repellant chemical that can come on many fabrics or can be coated on after. Krypton is an almost indestructible, synthetic fabric that’s resistant to stains, odor and bacteria.

Krypton upholstered chair

Leather is also a good choice for seating in your home. It’s easy to wipe clean with a cloth and is very durable. Pleather is another option. It’s relatively inexpensive and has the timeless appeal of leather. Another great option is Ultrasuede, a washable microfiber that feels as smooth as real suede. Both are beautiful, and always stay cool and comfortable through the seasons. That is important for you and your pet’s comfort.

For when your dog hops into your bed, for a quick nap or for the night, protect your mattress by using a thick pad. Use cotton sheets. Duvet covers are the best choice for bedspread because they can be washed regularly. Matelassé coverlets are tightly woven so they will resist snags and can be washed often.

Pet Rooms in your Home

It’s very important to think about your pet’s lifestyle and tendencies when designing the layout and décor of your home. Consider where they will come in the house, where they will eat and sleep, etc. If your dog goes outside often, make sure that you have an area for them to go in and out of that’s resistant to stains and damage, a place to get dirt off them before they come in the house. An entry or mudroom with bare floors and durable furnishings is perfect. Keep towels and wipes handy to clean the dirt off the dogs when they come inside, before they track it throughout the house.


Most pet owners allow their pets to curl up on the furniture and beds and sleep with them. But if you’d like to repossess your space, consider setting aside a part of the house that is exclusively for the dog. Many animal experts agree that your pet needs their own space to rest after the stimulation of being with the family. It can be as simple as a bed or crate in the corner of your room, or as excessive as giving them their own “pet room”, possibly an unused room or closet.

Dog Area in Bedroom doubling as a side table

Whether you are designing a new space or making changes towards a dog-friendly home, planning and making these considerations can help to prevent damage and frustration in your home.

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