6 pet friendly home design tips

home design

Our homes are our sanctuaries — the last couple of years have certainly taught us that. If you share your space with a beloved four-legged friend, though, your sanctuary may be experiencing some dog-related interior design woes.

Fortunately, there are tons of ways to pet-proof your home from a design perspective so you don’t need to compromise your decor and aesthetic! Check out these tips from interior designer Alessandra Wood.


Dog toys and accessories have a way of exploding all over the house. So why not have a dedicated place to store them? Baskets are a great option, as the open-top means your pet can “self-serve” in retrieving his toys, but they can also integrate into the rest of your decor. Just consider the height of your basket in relation to the size of your dog, so he can reach inside with ease. You could also add a basket in your entryway for your dog’s leash, harness, waste bags, and any Frisbees or balls you might want to bring to the dog park!


Naturally tanned leather is a great pet-friendly furniture upholstery option — and is especially great for those who love antiques and pieces that tell a story because of the way leather ages. However, this is not a good option for type-A personalities who want to keep everything in pristine condition. A leather sofa with dogs will definitely experience some wear and tear. But, if you invest in a sofa made of high-quality leather, it will age beautifully and develop an attractive patina. The inevitable scratches and scuffs will only add to the beauty and personality of the piece, whether a sofa or accent chair.

Bonus: Leather is also super easy to clean and vacuum, making banishing dog hair a breeze.


If leather isn’t your vibe, there are plenty of other upholstery options to consider. People often think that dark fabrics and rugs are the key to hiding dirt and spills — but dark upholstery can end up highlighting certain stains. (Plus, a whole room of dark furniture will visually weigh down your space.) However, you’ll also want to steer clear of super light colours, unless they’re slipcovers that you can bleach. So, when thinking about the best couches for dogs, opt for performance fabrics that are easy to clean and, ideally, machine washable.

In terms of colour, greys are a perfect option to keep the room feeling light without being a stain magnet. When it comes to rugs, instead of dark colours, opt for multi-coloured patterns to help hide any stains that you can’t get out while adding life to your space. If you’re more concerned about pet hair than stains, you could also match your rug or sofa colour to your pet’s coat colour, so that hair is less visible.


If you’re worried about your dog causing your furniture to age prematurely, you can also cover it up. No, we’re not talking about a plastic cover a la the 70s or keeping a drop cloth over your furniture when not in use. Simply have a few machine washable throw blankets on hand that you can toss on your sofa or bed before your dog jumps onto the furniture. This way, most of her hair and oils will be contained to the blanket, which you can wash whenever it needs to be freshened up.

home design5. VACUUM REGULARLY

Pet hair and dust bunnies can make even the most beautifully designed space feel dingy and dirty so regular vacuuming is a must. Consider getting two vacuums: a heavier-duty one for large, weekly vacuuming, and a smaller handheld unit for quick vacuuming throughout the week and for spot-cleaning furniture.


For dogs that have a hard time jumping as they age, you’ll want to invest in solutions that make hopping on the sofa and bed a bit easier. While pet stairs are always an option, they can be a bit of an eyesore and may not fit your space. Instead, consider adding an ottoman next to your sofa or bed, which offers a lower surface to hop onto. Rugs can also give older dogs the traction they need to make the leap (and will help protect hardwood floors from scratches!).

Karina Lameraner
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