Pet Hair, Stains, and Decorating Lessons Learned the Hard Way

joy of nesting

We have always had pets.  Cats, dogs, mice, hamsters, and leopard gecko’s in the early years when my son Christian was little and later, just dogs and cats.

It’s true, they are a lot of work.  There are the walks every morning and night, the aspirin administered daily to old timer Spreckles, and the occasional accidents on my hardwood floors.  However, the unconditional love they give and the fun they add to our lives is beyond measure.

Choosing the correct fabrics are the most important decisions you will make when decorating a home around pets.  There are simple do’s and dont’s to make life easier and more pleasant with pets in the house. 

Prints such as subtle florals, stripes, checks, or tone on tone fabrics hide pet hair, spots, and stains better than solid fabrics.  Textured fabrics such as washed chenille’s repel them better than smooth or polished cottons.  Mohair’s and velvets will repel stains and dirt but pet hair sticks to them like Velcro.

My cats have always been on the furniture and my dogs on beds on the floor.  Riley my two year old adopted cocker spaniel didn’t learn this rule early on and I’ve tried in vain to teach him.  He has claimed my master bedroom reading armchair and prefers it especially when I’ve been courteous enough to warm it for him.

Stormie, my 18 pound, plus-size cat has claimed the slip covered armchair I designed for and placed in the best sunny window in the house.  Cats have a way of winnowing out the best perches.  

There are many tricks for containing and controlling pets indoors.  One of my own rules is that my pets live indoors with the family.  When I’m away for more than a few hours, I have gates for closing them off in the kitchen where the floor is pet friendly…just in case.  I’ve built an outdoor dog run off the main patio where they can spend the afternoon when the weather is mild.  It’s shaded and cool in our hot California summers.

Slipcovers are especially pet friendly because they can be stripped off and either washed or dry cleaned.  Don’t wash slipcovers unless you are absolutely certain the fabric was pre-washed before fabrication.

Upholstery can often be professionally cleaned on site by a professional carpet cleaner or drapery cleaner.  A word of warning here: If the fabric is older than 4 years, have them do a spot test.  The little welts on the back and arms are prone to fraying.

Set your pets up for success by making sure they know the rules of the house.  Consistency is key with dogs.  Cats of course, can’t be trained so if you don’t care for their characteristics, best to stick with dogs.

May 16, 2011

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Pet Hair, Stains, and Decorating Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Pet Hair, Stains, and Decorating Lessons Learned the Hard Way

Pet Hair, Stains, and Decorating Lessons Learned the Hard Way