Pet-Friendly Decorating: 6 Mistakes to Avoid

By: Victoria Schade, CPDT-KAUpdated:

Pet-Friendly Decorating: 6 Mistakes to Avoid

Living with dogs can be messy, and if your home is not built for it, it can make tidying up difficult. Everything from fabric selections to a room’s layout can impact the pet clean-up factor. Up your tidy-home potential by avoiding these six pet-friendly decorating mistakes.

1. Installing Light-Colored Carpets

Light-colored carpets may look amazing and can help to make a room appear more open, but it doesn’t take much canine traffic for a white or light carpet to start looking muddy.

Unless you’re a diligent paw wiper every time your dog comes in from the yard, there’s bound to be eventual floor fallout. Couple that with canine tummy troubles that could lead to an eruption from either end, and the result will be a spotted rug no matter how much steam cleaning you do.

Pet-Friendly Decorating Tip: If you have your heart set on cream-colored carpet, opt for carpet tiles that can be popped out and replaced as they start to show wear or stains. Another thing to keep in mind is that patterned rugs are less likely to show dirt.

2. Picking the Wrong Paint

Walls can take a beating, particularly down low where tails and bodies come in contact with them. And it’s not just the dirt and oils on our dogs’ coats that leave traces; pet parents must worry about the shake-factor, too. Dogs coming in from the rain, drying off after a bath or trying to dislodge drool can also leave evidence on the walls.

Pet-Friendly Decorating Tip: Flat and eggshell paints typically can’t stand up to scrubbing, so opt for a semi-gloss or enamel paint that’s easier to clean.

3. Choosing Fancy Bedding

It’s fine to let your pup sleep with you, but if your bedding and pillows are made of silky gold fabrics that look like they belong in the Palace of Versailles, they probably won’t stand up to the rigors of nighttime snuggling. Not only do dogs shed, drool and lick, many like to kick up the bedding as they settle in, which can snag delicate fabrics.

Some luxury linens can’t stand up to the cleaning required to deal with the dirt and fur that comes with a canine bedmate.

Pet-Friendly Decorating Tip: If you’re serious about snuggling with your pup at night, go for easy-to-maintain fabrics, like high thread count cotton or microfiber. A duvet that can be slipped off for quick cleaning is a better bet than a heavy bedspread that might overload your washing machine or requires a trip to the dry cleaners.

4. Selecting Dark Couch Fabrics

Furniture is a minefield of possible mistakes when it comes to pet-friendly decorating. If you think a darker color will hide canine accoutrements like mud and fur, think again. Dark colors highlight every dusty paw print and white hair.

A sturdy nubby fabric might seem like a good choice to camouflage the evidence left by furry housemates, but an uneven weave can get ripped by claws. Worse yet, those microscopic nooks and crannies can trap canine odors as well.

Pet-Friendly Decorating Tip: Slipcovers are a pet parent’s best friend. Heavy canvas or denim slipcovers can withstand canine abuse and go right into the washing machine. Microfiber is another great option for people with pets at home, as the tight weave makes it more durable and resistant to odors.

Alternatively, there are many pet-friendly furniture options available on the market that are designed to withstand hair and dirty paw prints.

5. Opting for Long Curtains

Sure, those drapes made of dove gray silk that pool on the ground might look amazing, but only if you don’t look too closely. While drapes are a quick way to transform a room, they’re also a quick way to create expensive dust-traps.

Any fabric that touches the ground in a dog household is almost guaranteed to wind up frosted with fur. Worse yet, they could get accidentally snagged by your pup and pulled down.

Pet-Friendly Decorating Tip: Go for curtains or valances that don’t touch the ground. For added pet safety, watch out for dangling pull cords that could tangle and choke your pooch.

6. Placing Breakable Objects on Low Tables

Dogs don’t mean to be clumsy, but sometimes a happy sweep of a tail can tip the collectibles arranged on a table. In fact, anything breakable that’s low enough for your dog to reach might become an accidental target, like the porcelain umbrella stand by your front door or the collection of succulents on the edge of a window sill.

Pet-Friendly Decorating Tip: Consider your dog’s vantage point when picking a spot for anything fragile. Low tables, center-leg pedestal tables that easily are tipped or top-heavy items like vases might end up caught in the canine crossfire.

It is possible to have a stylish and tidy home with dogs. Keep these pet-friendly decorating tips in mind to create a space that works for you and your pets.

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Victoria Shade

Victoria Schade has been a dog trainer and writer for over seventeen years. Her dog duties have included working on Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl as the lead animal wrangler, appearing on two seasons of the Animal Planet show Faithful Friends, creating dog training content and appearing in videos for a variety of sources, and writing two dog training books, Bonding With Your Dog and Secrets of a Dog Trainer.

You can keep up with Victoria, Millie, the Smooth Brussels Griffon and Olive, the mixed breed dog, on her blog and on Twitter @VictoriaSchade.


By: Victoria Schade, CPDT-KAUpdated: