Living With Pets? How to Decorate Without Sacrificing Style

by Carlisle Homes

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If you share your home with a furry companion (or two), you’ll know that creating a space that’s both pet-friendly and stylish is a careful balancing act – here’s how to do it.

For many of us, a pet is an essential member of the family. But furballs, chew marks and scratched surfaces are hardly the thing elegant interiors are made of. The key to a well-designed, pet-friendly home is to balance your pet’s needs and your personal style.

Follow these tips to create a welcoming, comfortable space for every member of the family – pets included.

Keep delicates out of reach

If you have large dogs who greet you with an enthusiastic tail wag, it’s a good idea to keep breakable items well out of range – think high up on shelves or tucked away behind cupboard doors. The same goes for precious rugs and pricey electronics.

A practical sofa

If you can’t say ‘no’ to a cuddle on the sofa with your four-legged friend, you’ll want a durable style in a forgiving fabric. Leather is extremely hardwearing, plus it’s easy to vacuum or clean with a damp cloth and mild soap. While it can get scratched, this will only add to its character.

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Your sofa is a key piece of furniture – and your pet will probably love spending time on it just as much as you, so choose a durable, easy-clean fabric in a forgiving colour.

Hardwearing fabrics

As many a homeowner has learned the hard way, pets and delicate fabrics do not mix.

Instead, when it comes to fabrics for your sofa and soft furnishings, think high performance and washable. Canvas, denim, microfibre, microsuede and tight-weave tweed are all great choices – they’re tough, won’t snag or tear easily, and muddy paw marks generally come out with little effort. Removable, washable covers are a boon, as you can simply run them through the machine when they get grubby.

If you’re looking to add luxury and softness to your living space, performance velvet is another good option, particularly if you have cats. It’s both hardwearing and luxurious, and most cats will generally just curl up on it once they realise their claws have nothing to hook into. On the downside, velvet is a magnet for pet hair, so you’ll want to keep the lint roller on standby.

The colours and patterns you pick matter too. Patterned and textured fabrics tend to hide stains. If you prefer solid colours, choose ones that are similar to the colour of your pet as this will help conceal stray hair.

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For upholstery in rooms like living areas, bedrooms and activity areas, choose pet-resistant fabrics that can cope with the odd mishap, such as denim, leather, canvas, microfibre, microsuede or a sturdy, tight-weave tweed.

Pet-friendly flooring

If you’ve ever had a pet jump straight into your lap and dig in, you’ll know how sharp their claws can be. And they can do just as much damage to your floors, if you don’t choose the right type.

Timber floors, though elegant, can be prone to scratches. Better options include ceramic and porcelain tiles, laminate and vinyl, all of which are scratch-resistant, highly durable and easy to clean.

If you want carpet in rooms where you wish to relax, like bedrooms, opt for a cut-pile style – no loops or plush, tufted finishes that claws can hook into – in an easy-to-clear fibre like wool or synthetic. Or, bring in softness and warmth by laying washable area rugs over hard floors.

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Protect floors from damage with scratch-resistant and easy-clean flooring like porcelain or ceramic tiles, laminate or vinyl. You’ll find styles that create the luxe look of natural stone and timber, but with pet-friendly durability.


Protect your furniture

If you have cats, you’ll know how important it is to safeguard furniture from their playful scratching. There are a couple of ways you can do this, without compromising on style.

First, add furniture protectors to sofa arms and corners, chair legs, bedframes and headboards. There are various styles on the market, many of which are practically invisible to the eye. They will act as a barrier, keeping claws at bay while maintaining the look of your furniture.

Another option is to invest in a cat scratching post. Position it near furniture and redirect your cat’s attention towards it whenever they look like a ‘stretch and scratch’ session is coming on.

Create a dedicated pet space

Set aside a specific area for your pets in order to keep clutter and mess from creeping into the rest of your home.

Place all your pet’s essentials here, including their bed, toys and feeding bowls, to make it feel their own. You might even personalise the space with a photo of your pet, and add a basket or two to hold their toys, leads and spare blankets for those chilly nights.

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Having appliances like a pet vacuum and an air purifier on hand make it easy to keep your home clean and sweet-smelling, and reduce the risk of allergies and pet sensitivities.

Top tip: You’ll find pet beds today that double as designer furniture, making it easy to find a stylish design to complement your interior. Choose from sleek, minimalist pet beds, styles in woven natural-fibre style to match your outdoor setting, and even scaled-down version of classic sofa designs.

A good vacuum

Be it fur or feathers, you’ll be vacuuming a lot more when a pet enters the household, so make sure you have a vacuum that’s up to the task. A pet vacuum cleaner is a great investment. It has extra suction power and a special filtration system that specially targets pet hair on your floors and furnishings in order to keep surfaces clean and clear.

Air purifier

Whether you’re concerned about visitors coming to your home who might be allergic or sensitive to animals, or you simply can’t bear that doggy smell, having a decent air purifier is a good idea. Purifiers work by filtering the air, removing pet dander, dust, pollen and other allergens. If you’re keen to neutralise odours, choose one with a charcoal filter.

Purifiers come in different sizes to suit different-sized rooms, so be sure to check the room coverage before you buy. Some experts advise choosing a purifier that covers a larger space than you need, so you can keep it on the lowest setting to minimise running costs.

Planning to build your own home? First step, come and visit one (or more) of our incredible display homes, which you’ll find throughout Melbourne and Geelong. Many of our displays are open seven days a week, so you can pop in any day you like!


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