Fur on the furniture, muddy paw prints across the kitchen floor and chewed table legs, it’s just some of the things we pet owners learn to live with, but there are ways to live in interior design harmony with a pet.

Stacey Sibley, Creative Director of leading interior designers Alexander James Interior Design, and owner of two Westies, offers her top 10 tips for transforming your home into a ‘purrfect’ sanctuary for your four-legged friend.

Fur-free upholstery

Think carefully about the fabrics you choose to upholster and how likely they are to gather fur.

Avoid: Fabrics that are a magnet for pet hair e.g. velvet, mohair, corduroy, velour or chenille. Steer clear of any delicate materials that could be damaged by your adorable little friend e.g. silk.   

Opt for: Smooth tapestries, leathers and synthetic fibres. Invest in quality textiles that will withstand the test of those claws.

Furniture – not toys

Beware of any exposed wood on your furniture – an excitable puppy may see it as their new favourite teething toy!

Avoid: Furniture with exposed wicker, rattan and sisal furniture.  

Opt for: Metal and chrome will leave your would-be teether searching for another toy.  

Squeaky clean flooring  

In light of the inevitable rainy, muddy days and those early months when your puppy/kitten is still learning to toilet-train, we highly recommend flooring that is easy to clean! 

Avoid: Hardwood floors that dent/scratch easily and require rapid cleaning should a puddle appear (hardwood floors stain very quickly)! If you are absolutely set of those beautiful wooden floors, then opt for harder woods e.g. mahogany or oak.  

Opt for: Laminate flooring, stone or ceramic tiles. These also have the additional benefit of keeping your pets cooler during hotter weather.

The ultimate playzone

An all-important part of every pets’ day, they need space in the home to play.  

Avoid: Letting your energetic little friend run riot around the whole house. They need to chase balls, roll excitedly around and play tug of war, but there are some areas of the house in which this is less desirable.  

Opt for: Creating a designated ‘play space’ which your pet knows is suitable for play and where they can enjoy some quality ‘me’ time. Keep their toys stored neatly away and out of view but easily accessible.  

Spotless kitchens

Pet-friendly interiors are all about keeping your space as tidy as possible, allowing that stunning new kitchen to glisten without unsightly doggie/kitty bowls smudging that perfect vision.   

Avoid: Leaving food bowls out in plain sight.  

Opt for: Sliding them underneath the toe kick of your kitchen cabinetry, bringing them out for food time, and slotting that water dish around a corner so your furry friends always have fresh water available. 

Furry walls

Don’t overlook walls – they could become a headache to clean if you don’t consider their texture.  

Avoid: A highly-textured wall will attract pet fur, even if the little rascal isn’t rubbing against it.  

Opt for: Satin or a semi-gloss paint, helping to repel fur and to keep those walls glistening clean.  

A throne for a king/queen

An essential part of pet friendly interior design must surely be the addition of their very own comfy pet bed.

Avoid: Mismatching with the rest of the room’s decor i.e. don’t place a traditional tartan pet bed into a swanky, sleek apartment, rather select a simpler, more contemporary design that will enhance the rest of your interiors.  

Opt for: A pet bed made of high quality materials, creating a sumptuous space for them to relax, unwind and recharge after their busy day of play.   

Mud room sanctuary

Imagine the scene – you’ve just been out on a fabulous walk, exploring the vast open fields and returning with wellies caked in mud and a pup that used to be white but is now an unattractive murky brown colour. The door opens – the gateway to your beautiful home. And before you know it, your hound is through that entrance, drying off on the sides of your magnificent new sofa.  

Avoid: Allowing this nightmare to happen.  

Opt for: Install an entry-way door to offer you an entrance space in which to dry off and wash down your doggie before they can enter the home. Store pet wipes, dog treats and other essentials in a cupboard at this entrance to keep the area harmoniously tidy. 

Savvy window treatments

Every pet loves to peer out of the window to watch for their owners coming home and to bask in the sunshine on those sunny days.  

Avoid: Thick fabric curtains – don’t deprive them of their joy! 

Opt for: Lightweight, sheer fabric curtains that will allow them to enjoy their view.  If you have blinds, make sure you pull them up so the little darlings don’t bring them down accidentally.  

Harmony at home

A pet-friendly home must make special considerations for just how many accidents can happen around bushy tails and clumsy paws.

Avoid: Tables that sit too low – the candles, glasses and other breakables sitting atop may fall to their calamitous end if a tail wags too close.

Opt for: Carefully considering the space in your home and thinking about how you can avoid any unfortunate mishaps – after all pets aren’t always aware of their surroundings and don’t mean to cause any trouble.


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