The best pet friendly fabrics and finishes to protect your furniture and floors

Taking care of an animal is as much responsibility as it is joy. Along with training, staying on top of feedings, making sure your pet is exercising, and visiting the vet, you’ll need to protect your home from pets. But that doesn’t just mean putting up barriers and keeping chemicals out of reach. If you want to ensure the longevity of your furniture and floors, choose fabrics and finishes that are resistant to pet wear.

In general, it is best for pet owners to opt for durable, easy-to-clean materials that are stain resistant and do not readily absorb odors. Russell Hartstein, Los Angeles Certified Behaviorist and Dog Trainer and Founder of Fun Paw Care, adds that properly training your pets on where to do their “business” and what is appropriate to scratch or chew is going to be everything. also far in protecting your furniture and floors.

If there is a mess, always try to clean it immediately to avoid lasting stains and odors. Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice your interior design sensibility to incorporate animal-friendly fabrics and finishes into your home. Here are some of the best options, according to experts.

Ceramic and porcelain tiles

When choosing a floor, aim for a tough material that won’t highlight your pet’s scratches. Mark Cutler, an interior designer in Los Angeles, suggests using ceramic or porcelain tiles. They’re scratch-resistant and easy to clean, and because they’re non-porous, they don’t easily absorb odors from dog or cat accidents.

“The only thing to worry about is that the grout can be more absorbent, so keep the width to a minimum and be consistent by applying a sealer twice a year,” says Cutler.

Treated wood or faux hardwood

If stone isn’t your style (or if it’s too cold), hardwood isn’t out of the question. Cutler suggests a factory finished floor rather than real hardwood if your goal is to prevent wear and tear. Just keep in mind that even treated wood is naturally more porous than other materials, so you’ll need to notice – and clean up – spills and messes quickly.

For those with a large dog or more than one pet, Hartstein suggests using a luxury vinyl plank, which is more resistant to scratches and liquid damage than the laminate or engineered wood options.

Indoor-outdoor carpet

Carpet isn’t ideal when pets live with you, but if that’s what you have, protect yourself as much as possible from messes and pet hair by investing in rugs. Keep in mind, however, that rugs made from natural materials can be more difficult to clean than synthetic rugs.

Nichole Schulze, Cutler’s design partner, recommends investing in a few indoor and outdoor rugs, designed with stain and odor-repellent synthetic materials. When your pet does a mess on the mat, you can take it out, clean it with detergent, and spray it with a hose. You can even disinfect it with diluted bleach. (On any fabric, it’s always a good idea to do a spot test first.)

With an indoor-outdoor rug, Cutler suggests using an underlay and replacing it about once a year. “A lot of times animal messes seep into the carpet and cushion, which is more difficult to clean,” he says.

Wool rugs

There are plenty of attractive outdoor rugs, Cutler says, but if you want a more traditional look, a low-pile wool rug may be the best option. Sarah Tringhese, Creative Director at Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries, says wool is naturally water resistant, so animal damage shouldn’t seep into it. It’s also relatively easy to clean, but for stubborn stains, consider professional cleaning, which Tringhese says works extremely well with wool.

Either way, avoid shag rugs if you have a pet. “These types of rugs are the most difficult to vacuum thoroughly, and it may take a few days to properly remove odors as it is difficult to reach the base and takes a long time to dry,” says Irina Nikiforova, owner of Los Angeles. Rocket Maids based cleaning company.


To avoid getting scratched upholstery, Schulze suggests using fabrics that pets can’t easily claw in. “Ultrasuede or mohair, if you’re looking for something a little more luxurious, are great choices that Kitty won’t be able to master,” she says. Ultrasuede, a synthetic form of suede, is also designed to be stain resistant; follow the instructions that come with your furniture to clean it effectively.


Because it doesn’t absorb animal odors and is easier to clean, leather might be a reasonable choice for furniture. “Regarding the material of the sofa, leather or imitation leather is my first choice, because you can just wipe your hair,” says Nikiforova.

But keep in mind that leather is easy to scratch. Schulze suggests choosing an aged leather rather than a smooth option. “If the leather already looks worn, it will be more tolerant if a dog or cat scratches it,” she says. “But leather may not be the best option if you have a cat who regularly shreds your furniture.”


For a more casual and easy-to-clean look, Nikiforova suggests using canvas, as animal hair is not as noticeable on the natural woven material.

Choose a sofa with removable cushion covers that you can regularly throw in the wash, or throw a blanket over the cushions for extra protection.

Washable covers

While treating your upholstery with a layer of Scotchgard can keep stains from absorbing into any chair or sofa, Cutler says you may want to consider a slipcover for better protection. Fortunately, he says, slipcovers have evolved a lot over the past few years, so you should be able to find one that fits your sofa perfectly.

If your furniture doesn’t have a standard silhouette, Cutler recommends using a custom slipcover, ideally in an easy-to-clean outdoor material that will stand up to use. You can also find covers for chairs, headboards and ottomans. Because covers are relatively inexpensive, Cutler says, you can grab a few and swap them out seasonally.

About Oscar L. Smith

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