The Dog (Or Cat) Days Of Summer:

Choosing Pet-Friendly Upholstery For Your Home

Oh hey, fellow pet lover! Look, our furry friends absolutely bring joy and warmth into our homes. But let’s face it: they can also wreak havoc on our furniture. That’s why choosing the right upholstery for your home becomes crucial when you have family members of the furrier variety. 

So here in the heart of the dog days of summer, we thought it would be fun to explore a bit about the unique — and often overlooked — considerations at the crossroads of pets and interior design. (The dog days of design, if you will.) Specifically, when it comes to your furniture upholstery. 

We’ll discuss some essential factors to consider when selecting pet-friendly upholstery with style, comfort, and durability. Yes, you can have all of the above and still snuggle up with your schnauzer, too. So, grab a cup of tea, curl up with your furry friend, and let’s dive in.

The Basic Rules Of Pet-Friendly Fabrics For Your Home Simplified

Let’s start with a pet-friendly fabrics overview. Quick scene set: You walk into a furniture store or you head over to the largest furniture upholstery store online (that’s us, btw), and — let’s be honest — it’s a lot. Picking upholstery fabrics isn’t something you do every day and it can seem overwhelming.

Good news/bad news here. The bad news first. Just as a basic rule, once you decide that your family will include some four-legged friends you’ve also decided it will not include certain fabrics. Chief among them are more delicate fabrics like genuine silk, authentic French linen, and most embroidered fabrics. But don’t despair.

The good news — actually, we think it’s pretty darn great news — is that, over the years, fabric developers have said, “Peace out, limitations!” And now, as we’ll discover ahead, you can still get most of the essential qualities of those delicate fabrics in new more durable, pet-friendly versions. Plus, you may have noticed that materials like leather and velvet didn’t make the no-no list. This was not an oversight. Stay tuned.

Pet-Friendly Fabrics That Fight Back Against Stinking Or Staining

Time to get real. However endearing, our pets have their… um… challenging idiosyncrasies. But for the purpose of zeroing in on pet-friendly upholstery fabrics you’ll love, those idiosyncrasies are also super helpful.

Does your pet bring an endless parade of mysterious — and not-so-mysterious — stains and smells? No worries. When easy to clean and hard to stain are priorities 1-10, there are fabrics for that. 

Certainly vinyl is virtually impenetrable, making spills, drools, and other leaks easy to clean up and unlikely to leave odors. So furniture done up in, for example, midnight blue automotive-grade vinyl won’t be undone by whatever liquid it encounters. Plus, there’s faux leather, like a deep merlot red, offering the durability of vinyl with the luxurious feel of leather. 

Real leather can work, too. While it may initially show liquid’s impact, with a little bit of care it restores to its uniquely-you patina.

Perhaps your pet is mostly well-behaved from a liquids standpoint but does have some unfortunate odors and such that just come built-in. Here your options expand to include microfiber, microsuede, and velvet — yes, velvet. How? Crypton. That Fort Knox-level durability that’s built into fabrics from the fiber up. We’re talking stain, bacteria, and mildew protection and it’s quick to clean and slow to attach to odors. 

So feel free to enjoy the lush comfort of a lilac purple velvet or calming juniper green microfiber on your favorite piece to settle into with your pooch or kitty.

Pet-Friendly Fabrics Up To The Demands Of Your Furry Digger

Is your pet both a joy and a Tasmanian devil of digging, poking, and tearing? There are fabrics for that, too.

Tough against liquids, vinyl and faux leather is nearly indestructible as well. So chairs or sofas in charcoal grey or pearl white faux leather are a safe bet. Same with velvet, microfiber, and even leather. They’re far tougher than you’d think. Feeling sky blue velvet or canary gold microsuede accent pieces? Go for it. 

But wait, there’s more: traditional fabrics. Yes, you can have a determined digger and woven fabric upholstery — with one key caveat. The tighter the weave the better. Embroidered fabrics or more textured weaves like a boucle might be a no-go for claws. But twill, tweed, denim, duck, and more work great. Feel free to dress that u-shaped sectional in powder blue canvas denim or almond beige tweed and let the critters have at it.

(Note: Again, you can have pets and actual leather. Because it’s a hide, it’s naturally resistant to punctures and tears. And scratches can usually be addressed with some loving lotion maintenance. Bring on the saddle brown leather loveseat.)

The Power Of Color And Patterns To Make Pet Hair Virtually Disappear

There’s a hairy situation we haven’t covered. (Or upholstered.) And we know the struggle is real.

From leather to vinyl to weaves — pet hair is okay. But certainly, some fabrics are better than others. In order of ease of shedding upkeep think: vinyl/faux leather, leather, velvets/microfibers, and then weaves. Rule of thumb: The smoother the fabric’s surface, the easier to vacuum up.

And there are more fabric magic tricks you can use. No, you can’t channel Harry Potter, utter a quick “Evanesco!”, and disappear hair. But you can use colors and patterns to minimize the appearance of unsightly hair. 

What color does your buddy primarily shed? Stay in that color space. Like an earthy umber brown Crypton for a dark-haired pet. That way, even when things get away from you, it won’t seem so messy. Mixed colored hair? Try a pattern like abstract foliage in silver and teal or a geometric pattern in cider orange and natural tones. Breaking up the color palette helps to visually redirect from whatever gathers there. 

Pet-Friendly Fabrics Quick Tips As We Lower (Or Raise?) The Curtain

As we wrap things up, let’s throw in a couple of quick tips. 

First, curtail the curtains. Generally speaking, curtain-length styles hang slightly above the floor, right at the floor, or splash on the floor. Our advice is simple: keep them as out of reach of curious or mischievous paws as possible. No sense in adding temptation. 

Second, test the fabric. As you get clear about what upholstery fabrics are calling out to be part of your home’s new vibe, try them out. In addition to helping you find the right fabrics, we’re happy to offer free swatches. Or you may consider ordering a larger piece to play with and test against the demands of your space and creatures.

Pets are priceless gifts. But their impact on furniture can prove pricey. Happily, choosing pet-friendly upholstery doesn’t mean sacrificing style and comfort for durability. By considering the material, pattern, and ease of cleaning that best meets your needs, you can have a happy home for you and your pets and furniture that lasts. Here in the dog days of summer, we wish you a pet-friendly design refresh through upholstery fabrics you love.

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