5 Easy Ways to Make Your Home More Pet-Friendly

Small adorable dog in boho lounge chair.

House of Harvee

Whether you've been longing for a pet for ages or have decided to welcome one into your home on somewhat of a whim, there is a lot you’ll want to do to prepare for your furry friend's arrival. We spoke with designers who shared their tips on getting your space ready for an active cat or dog without sacrificing your own style. 

Meet the Expert

  • Michelle Gage is the founder of Michelle Gage Interiors, a full-service interior design firm based in Philadelphia.
  • Kelsey Haywood is the founder of haywoodmade, a full-service design studio located in Chicago.
  • Caitlin Murray is the owner and founder of Black Laquer Designs.
01 of 05

Prepare for Messes

Groovy teen bedroom with small dog on top of bed.

Rikki Snyder

Adopting a dog that’s still potty training? “Roll up your rugs for the first few months,” designer Michelle Gage suggests. “Sure, it’s a hassle, but so is scrubbing puppy accidents out of your brand new rug.”

Washable and indoor/outdoor rugs are also advisable, designer Lina Galvao says. You’ll want to cover other furniture surfaces, too—Gage recommends placing a blanket over the sofa and any accent chairs. “While the fabrics may be durable enough to withstand animal paws and claws, it’s a good way to keep the hair at bay."

02 of 05

Avoid Snags

Small adorable dog in boho lounge chair.

House of Harvee

Designer Kelsey Haywood advises taking note of household items that are easy for pets to snag with claws—for example, she says, possible culprits include looped rugs, rope accents, and hide rugs. It may be worth storing these out of sight or listing them for sale in advance of welcoming a furry friend into your space.

“I’ve seen rugs completely shredded by a cat that loved to sharpen its claws,” she shares.

03 of 05

Consider Color

White apartment kitchen with small dog.

D Burns Interiors

“When designing around a pet, I always keep one thing in mind—beyond cleanability and durability, of course—the color of their fur,” designer Caitlin Murray says. “Most animals shed and the pieces that make a space feel coziest and most complete, like sofas, bedding, draperies, and rugs, often fall victim to that unwanted fuzz.”

You’ll want to select a fabric color and material that won’t draw attention to your cuddly golden retriever’s bright blonde fur. “To reupholster my couch, I just ordered a textural black and white woven acrylic linen that’s suitable for indoor and outdoor use—and hides the fur of my new Dalmatian puppy," Murray shares.

And don’t feel like you can’t still make your space nice and glam. Designer Amala Raj adds, “Velvet is a great fabric to use in your decoration because it’s very low pile and easy to wipe clean of pet hair and dirt.”

04 of 05

Be Cautious With Plants

Two cats on top of washer and dryer.

Cathie Hong Interiors

Some of your favorite green friends may actually be detrimental to your pet’s health. Sites such as Bloomscape allow customers to filter plant selections by a number of parameters, including pet-friendliness. And when you do select a safe plant, you may wish to style it so that it’s high up, Bloomscape’s Plant Mom Joyce Mast advises.

“If you need a plant that’s out of paw’s reach, consider a vining plant,” she says. “They are perfect for hanging baskets, placing them on a shelf or top of the cabinet, and allowing the vines or ‘runners’ to spill over the edge of the pot.

05 of 05

Select Furniture Accordingly

Fun living room with velvet sofa and dog.

D Burns Interiors

You’ll want to choose furniture that both accommodates your lifestyle and your pup’s, Raj adds. She suggests opting for metal furniture legs instead of wooden ones, which can be tempting for dogs to chew on.

Additionally, establishing a system for keeping pet toys out of sight when guests stop by will be key, Raj notes. “I love storage ottomans and benches for this reason.”

Just skip anything boucle, interior stylist Dominique Gebru notes. “My pups love to ‘dig’ in our sofa, presumably to find the comfiest spot,” she explains. “Any fabric with a tighter weave is a good idea, and bonus points if it's easy to clean.”

Related Stories