According to the results of a recent survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, approximately 85 million families in the United States own at least one pet. This fact suggests that nearly two-thirds of American households include an animal of some type. Perhaps not surprisingly, the most common animals found in people’s homes are cats and dogs. For most pet owners, these lovable furry critters occupy their hearts and minds as well as their furniture.
Fortunately, if you’re part of the majority and have a pet in your home, there are several things you can do to keep your furniture in good shape. Here are a few simple tips for selecting and maintaining pet-friendly home furnishings:
Keep Fabric in Mind
Upholstery fabric is the most important thing to consider when deciding on a piece of furniture for your pet-friendly home. In addition to avoiding pet-hair magnets such as chenille and velvet, look for stain-resistant fabrics and those that can hold up to some wear and tear.
Although it costs a bit more than other options, leather is an excellent investment for pet owners because it is durable and easy to clean. Synthetic alternatives such as microfiber, microsuede, and Crypton are also tough and simple to maintain.
Use Colors and Patterns to Your Advantage
Along with considering a fabric’s strength and care requirements, pet owners should keep color and overall design in mind when choosing furniture for their home. It may sound somewhat strange, but matching the color of a sofa or chair with that of your furry friend may be a good idea. Doing so can help hide pet hair and keep you from having to constantly vacuum or wipe down your furniture. This is particularly helpful if your dog or cat has solid white or black fur, which is very noticeable on contrasting colors.
Opting for complex or multicolored patterns may also cut down on the headaches associated with keeping your furniture looking clean and hair-free. In addition to camouflaging hair, patterned furniture can hide stains that you’re unable to remove. Blocks of patterns can also conceal small areas of damage your pet has caused.
It’s important for pet owners to look beyond the upholstery to evaluate a piece of furniture’s overall durability. A sturdy couch or chair will hold up over time to rowdy dogs, frisky cats, and careless family members and guests. You may also want to choose wooden or metallic legs over pieces with fabric skirting, which can rip and tear quickly in a home with animals.
The importance of finding durable pieces also extends to your home’s accessories. Be sure to look for sturdy coffee tables and end tables that won’t easily tip over if they’re bumped or jumped on. It’s also a good idea to keep vases, knickknacks, lamps, and other breakable items off of surfaces within reach of a curious cat’s paws or an excited pup’s wagging tail.
Get Prepared to Clean
Regardless of how prepared and careful you are, accidents are bound to happen in a home with pets. If you’ve purchased pieces with the right upholstery, the stains and damage will be kept to a minimum, but you’re still going to have to clean up from time to time. You’ll want to soak up liquid messes as soon as you notice them. Be sure to blot rather than rub to help remove as much of the liquid as possible without damaging fabric fibers or spreading the mess.
You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with upholstery fabric cleaning codes. These tell you which types of cleaners can be used on the product. For pieces that haven’t been reupholstered, these codes are typically found on the furniture tag.
Some of the basic codes include Code W, which calls for water-based cleaners, and Code S, which indicates that the piece must be cleaned with dry solvents. A “W/S” code means that you can clean with both water-based and dry solvents, and an “X” code means that only vacuuming should be used. Regardless of the code, be sure to pre-test all cleaning products in an inconspicuous area before proceeding with the cleaning process.
Don’t Forget the Small Stuff
In a home with pets, you can take steps to keep your animals happy and your furniture protected. Slipcovers are always an option, but you can also deter animals from hopping on your favorite sofa by adding a few throw pillows to the piece. Another way to keep animals out of certain areas is to use ottomans and other small furniture items as blockers. This is a good idea around areas with nice rugs, hard-to-clean furniture, or breakable décor.
Finally, if you really want to keep animals off your furniture, get them their own. Investing in a comfortable pet bed that can be placed where your animal can see or be near their favorite human will go a long way toward protecting your favorite furniture.