5 Interior Decorating Ideas for Pet Owners - QC Design School

You don’t need us to tell you that people love their pets! But whether you’ve got clients who are crazy about their cats or you’re a big-time dog lover yourself, you know the struggle of keeping a pet-friendly house looking its best.

Does it come down to a choice between your best animal buddies or a stylish home? Definitely not! Designing an attractive, pet-friendly home just requires a little bit of expert know-how—which you, as your clients’ interior decorator, can supply! Check out our 5 top tips for what to focus on.

1. Pet care comes first

The easiest way to keep your home looking its best? Grooming your furry friends regularly at home! Regular brushings, claw-trimmings, and baths are the obvious place to start. Get rid of all that excess hair before it starts collecting on the carpet.

cat grooming to get rid of hair that will end up in home

But dedicated pet owners know that good pet care goes beyond grooming. Make sure your pets have their own toys to keep them from chewing on furniture, shoes, pillows, or anything else around your home. For cats, a scratching post can also help protect your favorite carpets and furniture. Try rubbing a little catnip on it to grab their interest.

And, of course, you need to take the time to play with your pets! A pet that’s exhausted from a long walk or a vigorous game of chase-the-string is way less likely to wreak havoc on your living room.

2. Indoor/outdoor rugs are your friends…

No matter how well-behaved your pets are, accidents happen. Rather than letting stains ruin your rug, opt for a durable indoor/outdoor fabric. Dash and Albert have a whole range of stylish selections to compliment any room in your house.

home design interior carpeting cat knocking over plant

What makes these indoor/outdoor fabrics so awesome is how amazingly easy they are to clean. Since they’re designed to withstand outdoor conditions, all you need to do is take them outside and give them a good hosing down every once in a while.

Dogs and cats love having a rug to nap on, so if you’re working on a room with hardwood flooring we definitely recommend going for one of these hardy area rugs. But you don’t have to stop there—you can also look into indoor/outdoor pillows and furniture. Not every indoor/outdoor piece will work in your space, but many pieces are just as stylish and comfortable as regular indoor furniture.

3. … But you can play it smart with other fabrics as well

There’s no way to get around it: some fabrics are more pet-friendly than others. Making smart fabric choices now can save you or your clients years of headaches and frustration down the road.

dog hair on couch of interior decorated home

Look for…

  • Leather: Doesn’t pick up hair easily, plus the smooth surface can make simple messes easier to clean up without staining.
  • Velvet: Perfect for cats who are chronic scratchers. Will they still scratch? Absolutely. But unlike other household fabrics, velvet doesn’t have a looped thread structure, so cats have nothing to hook their claws into. Approach with caution, though: it’s a bit of a pet-hair magnet and it can be tough to clean.
  • Denim or canvas: Durable and easy to clean.
  • Crypton: Resistant to stains, moisture, odors, and germs. This high-tech fabric is basically designed for pet-lovers!
  • Ultrasuede: Easy to clean (machine washable, in fact)—plus it feels just like the real thing!

cat and dog pets on throw blanket for interior decorating

Stay away from…

  • Linen: Tough to protect and clean—which is too bad, since it’s so common as upholstery. Linens are also easily hooked by claws.
  • Silk: Beautiful, but so, so fragile. Save yourself the heartbreak and pick something more durable.
  • Wool: Tough to clean.
  • Chenille: Cats love digging their claws into this looped fabric—and once the loops have been pulled, there’s no easy way to fix them.
  • Tweed: Durable, but good luck getting the fur out! The uneven surface traps hair easily, making it a huge pain to clean.

4. Plan your color scheme around your pet

color scheme for interior decorating jobs

Picking a sofa that’s the same shade of grey as your furry friend isn’t just a sign of your love. It also makes it way easier to hide their hair! Of course, there’s no substitute for regular vacuuming, but matching your carpet or upholstery to your pet’s fur makes their hair less visible in between big cleans.

Love that beige-brown color on your dog, but balking at the idea of doing your upholstery over to match? Patterned rugs and fabrics are another way to minimize how much hair shows in your house. Small, tight patterns can help to hide hair, as long as you’re careful with your colors. A lighter pattern will still show lots of dark hair, and vice versa.

A strategically placed throw blanket can also go a long way. If your cat loves to nap on the back of the couch, drape a throw across it to make clean-up quick and easy.

5. Make your pets the center of attention

cat and dog sleeping space can be decorated to be trendy

Yes, the places where your pets like to hang out are going to see some wear and tear. That doesn’t mean you should give up on them, though. Rather than tucking a ratty old pillow out of the way for your pet to sleep on, invest in a stylish (and comfy) bed. You can display it proudly wherever your pet likes to snooze.

Same goes for your four-legged friend’s food bowl. Many designers have started making luxury pet products. You’ll have to splurge a little, but for your beloved pet (and your beautiful home) it’s totally worth it. Or look for jars, bowls, dishes, and boxes you can use for serving and storing food, treats, and toys. As long as they’re durable and made out of pet-friendly materials, they don’t have to be specifically pet-designed.

Check out fabric toys to replace squeaky rubber eyesores. Online stores like Wags and Wiggles sell adorable toys that are durable, machine-washable, and cute enough to keep on the couch (or wherever your pet sees fit to stash them!)

bunny pets decorate their cages

For pets like fish, birds, lizards, or bunnies that don’t get to roam free, think about investing a little extra in a classy cage or tank and accessories. Your pet’s stylish home can take center stage in your house—and having it on display will remind you to clean your little friend’s space regularly.

Bonus Tip: Even the best-groomed pet will leave a few smudges and stains on your wall. Cats always have a favorite corner for rubbing their faces on, and some dogs can spatter drool everywhere with a shake of their head. When you’re painting, go for semigloss paint instead of flat finish. Semigloss is way easier to wipe down, whereas flat finish is tough to clean properly. A satin or eggshell finish also cleans up easily.

Do you live with pets? Have you worked with pet-lover clients? Share your top tips for pet-friendly interior decorating in the comments below!

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Kimberly says:

    This is a very well written article. I agree that keeping a well groomed pet is very important to maintain an organized and clean home. I have two dogs and personally I have to clean up after them from when they start to shed around the house to keep everything presentable. I have to vacuum our couches because of the material it is made of. I personally would recommend getting leather type couches for pets who tend to shed more like Huskies or Golden retrievers.

Leave a Reply