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Pets and kids have a lot in common. For starters, they offer cute companionship and Instagram content. They also know how to leave a wake of destruction behind them. If you’re pondering simply bubble-wrapping all your upholstery to avoid the stains, tears, spills, and smells pets or kids can leave behind, don’t despair. There are lots of options for fashionable and comfortable furniture that can stand up to the worst chaos from your smallest housemates.
These days, you can buy couches made of synthetic materials that look as good as their natural counterparts. Materials like polyester are surprisingly versatile: You can get a stain-resistant couch with cozy, overstuffed pillows and a soft, open weave polyester cover, or a velvet couch that looks luxe while actually resisting scratching from your cat’s claws. Even more traditional materials like leather are excellent at standing up to wear and tear.
So now that you know all the options that are out there, are you feeling a bit overwhelmed? Don’t worry, we’ve rounded up the best pet- and kid-friendly sofas for every style, space, and budget.
Best Overall: West Elm Henry Sofa
West Elm’s Henry sofa is the Goldilocks of couches: With a medium density support and a classic yet streamlined silhouette, it’s a “just right” couch that will look great with a number of styles. Choose between seven fabrics designed for high-traffic use, including performance velvet and a soft eco weave made from 70 percent recycled plastic.
Best Budget: Wayfair Kaila 91" Recessed Arm Sofa
Thankfully, advancements in synthetic materials mean you don’t have to spend big to get a durable, attractive couch. This classic sofa from Wayfair offers many of the same materials and features as our other picks, like high-density foam and soft, easy-clean polyester fabric, at a budget-friendly price. Another perk of this pick? The cushions are reversible, making it easy to permanently hide any mistakes that can’t be scrubbed away.
Best Sectional : Floyd The Sectional
No one has ever argued that sectionals aren’t comfortable. It’s just that, too often, they might not be the most attractive option out there. Leave it to Detroit-based Floyd to bring the sectional firmly into the modern era with a pared-back, modern silhouette that still gives you that over-stuffed comfort.
You can choose which side of the couch the chaise goes on, and the fabric is durable and stain-resistant. Plus, the wooden base is great for thwarting would-be leg scratchers. Easily put together and taken apart, Floyd’s couches are also great for moving—and all components of the sofa are tested for 10 years of use.
Best Slipcover: IKEA EKTORP Sofa
Pets and children come with plenty of stains, so having a washable option is a real game-changer. Take IKEA's EKTORP Sofa, for example, which features a removable cover that's easy to clean when the sofa could use a refresh.
The budget-friendly, timeless sofa fits three people comfortably and is available in a neutral color that'll match just about any décor style. The sofa cover is a polyester and cotton blend that can be easily zipped on and off so you can spruce it up no matter how much dog hair and spilled food ends up on it.
Best Sleeper: Joybird Braxton Sleeper Sofa
Guests, like pets and kids, can bring joy and chaos to your home. Be ready for any overnight visitor with this sofa from Joybird, which cleverly hides a pull-out memory foam mattress. When it’s tucked away, you’ll still enjoy the sofa, which has high-density foam cushions and over 27 pet-friendly fabrics to choose from. Not sure which to pick? Joybird will send you swatches so you can really think about the feel and color you want for your space.
Best Modern: Burrow Range 4-Piece One Arm Sectional
Burrow’s line of fast-shipping couches proves that modern silhouettes, comfort, and durability don’t have to be sacrificed for price. Their flat-packed sofas can be customized to fit your space, and you can pick the exact length and shape you want. And don’t let the sleek shape fool you: The cushions are designed for sitting and napping without losing their shape.
Plus, the stain-resistant fabric is great for life’s unexpected mishaps. Their couches are also designed to be rearranged as needed, so you can expand and rearrange the corner seat as needed after moves or just when you rearrange your furniture.
Best Leather: Allform 3-Seat Sofa
Leather is an investment-worthy option for so many reasons, but especially because it ages beautifully and is incredibly resistant to tearing. Extra-tough ‘performance leather’ can often be tempting for those with pets and kids; however, it’s often a faux leather substitute.
If you want the real thing, Allform’s treated leather is the real deal, designed to stand up to years of use. The classic style also means you won’t mind keeping it around for a long time, either. Pair it with bright throw pillows for added warmth, or leave as-is for a simple yet impactful statement. Allform lets you customize leg finishes and add a matching ottoman and pillows if you so choose.
Best Velvet: Inside Weather Issa Sofa
“Velvet” and “heavy-duty” don’t often go hand-in-hand, but this luxe fabric has had a modern upgrade. Once made primarily from cotton, most velvet today is made from polyester, making it an excellent pet-friendly fabric. Because it’s not woven, cats have a hard time clawing it (and may not even be tempted to claw like they would with a wide-weave fabric).
Inside Weather stands out in the pet-and kid-friendly category, as each cushion has a nylon, water-resistant lining to keep spills and splashes from soaking into the couch itself. Pillows can also be removed for deeper cleaning, though the velvet cover is dry clean only. While customizable sofas are more common these days, Inside Weather takes it a step further: Eight components of the sofa, from pillow shape and style to base color, can be customized. Currently, they offer six plush performance velvets.
Best Chesterfield: Article Cirrus Sofa
A sophisticated Chesterfield couch offers a surprising benefit to pet owners: Because it is structured, cushions won’t sink as pets perch or nap on it. Article’s pared-down version keeps the classic couch feeling modern and is surprisingly comfortable for such a striking piece. The deep, tufted seats are great for anyone to relax on, and the dark velvet is especially forgiving of spills and stains.
Best Modular: Maiden Home The Jones Modular
Modular sofas make a big statement, combining comfort with a striking silhouette. There’s another reason it’s a great option for families: Toys, pets, and dust can’t gather beneath it, giving you one less spot to clean. Maiden Home's sumptuous and customizable modular sofa is the kind you’ll want to jump onto time and time again—and with a range of performance-grade fabrics, you’ll be able to do just that.
Best Loveseat: Castlery Adams Loveseat
Spaces big and small deserve protection against daily life. The Adams Loveseat from Castlery features polyester cushions that are soft yet stain-resistant, as well as dense, cushy foam fill that won’t sink or lose its shape. The striking yet versatile dove gray upholstery is great for first apartments: Wherever you go next, the color and look are sure to fit in. Covers are removable for cleaning.
Overall, we recommend West Elm's Henry Sofa (view at West Elm) for its versatile, streamlined style and range of upholstery options. For even more bang for your buck, we recommend Wayfair's Kaila 91 inch Recessed Arm Sofa (view at Wayfair), a much larger option that comes with over 150 fabric choices.
What to Look For in a Pet- and Kid-Friendly Sofa
The most important consideration? Upholstery. Synthetic materials like microfiber are the most easily accessible in terms of budget and inventory, and they are built to resist tearing and scratching. Surprisingly, leather is a great option—although you'll need to be careful when selecting the type of leather. Aniline leather is untreated, so it's the most prone to scuffs and scratches and should be avoided. Instead, look for semi-aniline, top grain leather. If you want to really make your life easy, consider a canvas slipcover sofa that can easily be cleaned.
It may seem obvious, but it's worth repeating: Dark colors are your new best friend. White and cream colored sofas already require a bit more maintenance to begin with, but add in a shedding pet or accident-prone child, and you've got a seriously rough situation. Go with darker colors like black, gray, or navy that easily hide imperfections, and strategically utilize throw blankets and pillows to hide any stubborn stains or scratches.
It makes sense that you probably don't want to spend a lot on a sofa that will get a lot of attention from kids and/or pets. That assessment is spot-on: You really don't need to shell out for a stain- and scratch-resistant sofa. Synthetic materials are much less expensive than their natural counterparts, as is faux leather and velvet. Performance fabrics vary in price, but you can definitely find affordable options.