• Stephanie Sarris

Living Beautifully - with Pets!

Companion animals, and their ability to unconditionally love us, enrich our lives. These “furry babies” enter our hearts and become members of the family.

On the other hand, pets can be really tough on your home’s furniture and finishes. How does having a pet influence your efforts to live beautifully? Do you simply give up having an elegant home with pets? Modern design technology has some answers for pet owners with a penchant for beautiful interiors.

Portrait of Laddie
Laddie Dog

Laddie (pictured above) is a typical dog in that he enthusiastically greets every new experience with unalloyed joy. Like exuberantly splashing in mud puddles on a rainy day’s walk. At this point, your first line of defense is giving your buddy a good rinsing and toweling off – preferable before he enters your home! One terrific idea I’ve been seeing for mud rooms is building an enclosed dog washing area, complete with a faucet and a drain, at the back door of the house.

Of course, mud and water aren’t the only potential hazards to the pet lover’s home. While hard flooring surfaces, such as hardwood and tile, can be surface cleaned, area rugs are a different matter. Generally, it is a good idea to stay with wool area rugs and steer clear of silk or viscose fibers. Even with wool rugs, it is recommended that you consult with your designer or rug vendor about treatments that can be professionally applied to your fine wool rug to help protect it from long term damage by Fido and Mr. Whiskers.

Portrait of Wendy Cat
Wendy Cat

Whether or not to allow pets on your home’s upholstered furniture is generally a conscious choice on dog parents’ parts, at least. As a cat mother, my best intentions have been ceaselessly subverted by Wendy’s (pictured above) insistence on claiming “her” seat on the family sofa. Today’s high performance fabrics are up to this challenge. One name to remember in your next upholstery fabric search is Crypton. This proprietary process begins with the fabrics fibers, so that its stain, spill and odor-resistant qualities do not wear off, as was the case in previous surface anti-stain treatments.

Another way to safeguard your upholstered furniture is to bring a bit of the outdoors inside, with indoor/outdoor fabrics. You may have heard of these type of fabrics under the trade name, Sunbrella. If you haven’t checked indoor/outdoor fabric out in while, it’s time to change that. The newest of these fabrics include lush velvets and sturdy chenilles – all solution dyed and light fast. A lot of them can be cleaned with a bleach solution (check individual fabric care instructions). A great place to begin your search is via Fabricut’s Bella Dura and Crypton fabric collections (https://www.fabricut.com/).

With today’s design technologies, pet lovers can enjoy their homes and their beloved pets – relatively worry-free. Have you found another idea for living beautifully with pets? Please share your ideas in the “Comments” section below.