dog on a fabric rug
Dog on a fabric rug

Decorating your home can be difficult if you have pets. In this article, Nick Acaster, Managing Director at Rugs Direct, shares his advice for homeowners looking to choose interiors that can stand up to the wear and tear of their four-legged friends.

A dog can turn any house into a home. However, they can often cause accidental damage to your sofas and soft furnishings through claw-marks, bite-marks, stray hairs, and stains. Here, I’ll give you my tips for choosing fabrics that are pet-friendly and stylish. S0, that you don’t have to choose between your dog and your dream design.

Fabrics to look for

A general rule of thumb is to look for tightly woven fabrics. Tough cotton, for example, is rugged, durable, and easy to maintain. This is because it can be spot cleaned with just mild soap and water. The tight weave makes it easier to vacuum and stray pet hairs don’t get embedded. Cotton, along with other tightly woven fabrics like canvas and linen, is also extremely versatile style-wise and comes in a variety of colours. The patterns that can disguise stains, scuffs, and pet hair.

Leathery fabrics are also ideal for pets as they can be wiped clean. This means that most stains can be avoided. The dog hair will sit on the surface rather than settling into the fabric, so they can be easily vacuumed up.

Another material that’s resistant to doggy wear-and-tear is microfibre. Synthetic microfibre fabrics have been designed to not rip or scratch easily. You can even use a lint brush or vacuum to remove any trapped hair. Some synthetic fabrics are even designed for use outside on patios and balconies; they are stain and odour resistant, perfect for pets, and they repel liquid and bacteria.

When choosing a palette, look for funky patterns and colours. These are more likely to disguise stains and make pet hair less noticeable. Look for rugs, cushions, and blankets that provide pops of colour: these come in styles to suit every home, from geometric and modern to rustic tapestries.

Fabrics to avoid

There are some fabrics that are, unfortunately, hardly pet-friendly at all. You can still pull off using these materials in the design of your home. However, they will require a lot of extra care and maintenance.

Velvet, for example, can be very easily crushed and its plush fibres collect stray hairs like a magnet. Silk is also very fragile and susceptible to rips, tears, and fraying. Both velvet and silk can soak up a lot of liquid, so stains are especially noticeable, and they can become quite unsanitary as they are too delicate to clean regularly.

It’s best to avoid any fabrics made from a loose weave or knit. Even tweed and corduroy. Although, durable and easily washed, have loose, rough surfaces that trap a lot of stray hairs that can be difficult to remove with a hoover or brush.

Cleaning and maintenance tips

While choosing the right fabrics can make cleaning up after your pet a lot easier, there are still some special tricks you could be doing to keep your home in top condition.

Leaving stray hairs behind is inevitable, even for dogs with short fur. It’s important to regularly brush your pets to limit the amount that they shed. You should also keep a few lint rollers handy about the house so that you can quickly spruce up where your dog has been sitting. Another tip is to be sure to hoover your sofas, rugs, and curtains as often as necessary. You could even try the rubber glove method for picking up hair: put on a glove, lightly dampen it, and then rub your soft furnishings. This technique makes the hair lift easily and it’s gentle on your fabrics, too.

Many factors, health or otherwise, can lead a dog to chew, scratch, and claw your furniture. Even if they are fully trained, it’s best to keep their nails trimmed. It helps to provide them with plenty of toys to minimise damage and keep them otherwise occupied. Protect your carpets and hardwood floors with rugs, and your sofa with cushions and blankets that can be easily removed and replaced.

The occasional accident can play havoc with your fabrics as they cause odour, breed bacteria, and can bleach the dye. Which causes permanent discolouration and damage. Time is of the essence when it comes to accidents. So, as soon as you spot a potential stain, clean it up and use pet-specific cleaning products to thoroughly remove it. Pets may return to the same spot time and time again if it’s not completely cleaned, so it’s good to get deep into the fibres.

You shouldn’t have to choose between your dog and dream interior. With these tips, you can choose pet-friendly fabrics that look good and keep scuffs, stains, and accumulated hair at bay.

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