Home Decor

Decorating for a Pet-Friendly Home: What Works

For so many of us, our dogs and cats are just as integral to our family and our home as any of the family members who might walk on two legs. Little Rocky the pup or Jinx the cat brighten up our homes, bring smiles and create lasting memories. They can also unintentionally wreak a little havoc from time to time.

As great as our pets are, they don’t necessarily have the same respect for things like throw pillows, curtains, blinds, or the bottom of wooden doors as we do. They’re apt to chew up, slobber on, soil, and gradually destroy things if they aren’t given the proper attention. But you can head-off some of the damage by choosing pet-friendly decor. Here are a few things to consider when you are furnishing your house, all of which will deter the family pet from destruction, and keep them out of the “dog house,” so to speak.


You can’t expect your dog or cat to sit calmly beside you on the couch, or lounge in the recliner and watch the game with you without having some effect on your furniture. Give your pets their own space in the home. Provide an area with a bed and a few toys to help keep them away from the furniture you want to preserve. Whatever you choose, decorate these pet areas with neutral colors: Browns, tans, and taupe shades will mask any accidents so you won’t spend the better part of your life cleaning upholstery. Eventually, these areas will lose their look, age and fade. But that will take a bit longer with neutral colors.

pet-friendly decor: furniture

If you have a sofa or sitting area occupied more by your dog or cat than any humans, the fabric is key to saving your time and effort. Softer fabrics like suede or silk, and woven fabrics like burlap or tweed are problematic. The softer fabric will stain and flatten quickly, and any woven fabrics will be like a magnet to the claws of your dog or cat. Canvas and denim, or similar smooth yet tough fabrics are your best bet, because they can easily be wiped off and are incredibly durable and impervious to mild clawing and scratching.

Sometimes, your pets don’t like to listen to your advice. They aren’t keen on spending time away from the family in their own living space, and they want to be right next to their human friends whenever possible. If they don’t like staying in their own area, throw rugs or thick blankets are quick, temporary fixes. Cover your ottoman with a throw rug and let your pet chill out with you without the worry of them getting your upholstery dirty and dingy.


If there is one thing in your home that your pets will definitely be on, it’s the flooring. Carpets can especially take a beating when it comes to pets roaming the halls of your home; hard surfaces are more durable. But replacing a carpeted house is a bit of an expensive undertaking, so if you have wall-to-wall carpet, consider placing area rugs on top to cover up high-traffic areas in your home. Rugs that run the length of hallways, cover large areas in living spaces and shield the carpeting from tapping claws or the occasional hairball is your best bet. Rugs can be cleaned much easier than carpet.

pet-friendly decor: flooring

As for the hard surfaces, they aren’t the easiest surface for your dog to navigate, especially when the UPS guy rings the doorbell and Buster goes into full-on protection mode, flying down the hall to the front door to save his family from the evil outsider. Once again, rugs will solve this issue for the most part. They will give Buster the right amount of traction to get to that front door before it’s too late. Don’t forget to place non-slip adhesive strips between the rugs and the hard flooring so they don’t slide everywhere when your pet takes off.


No matter what you do to protect your furniture and your flooring, there is one area of the home that will incur the wrath of your fidgety, furry friends no matter what you do: your walls. Yes, dogs and cats can rub up against walls, spreading dirt and eventually discoloring the surface. And dogs can sling drool just about anywhere you could imagine. In high-traffic pet areas, painting walls with a semi-gloss color will help ensure the surface is protected from dirt and moisture. And a semi-gloss finish is also easy to wipe down.

If you aren’t keen on semi-gloss finishes, buy a matte painting that is washable. Otherwise, you will be repainting these high-traffic areas more often than you would prefer.


Dogs can really cause problems when it comes to your exterior doors. Those canines can smell the freedom of the outdoors just beyond their grasp, and they also might have to use the bathroom. Scratching and chewing can destroy your doors. The best way to combat this is to install a dog door so Buster can come and go as he needs. If you have a dog and cat, you can also teach your feline friend to use the door as well, which will rid you of the litter box.

pet-friendly decor: doors

If you aren’t comfortable adding an unchecked entrance and exit in your home via a dog door, you may need to attach metal plates along the bottom of the door to deter your pup from scratching and chewing.


Certain window treatments can be greatly problematic when it comes to dogs and cats. You want to add shades and drapes to your windows for security, privacy, and style, but an antsy feline might see nothing more than a fun climbing toy in drapes and shutters. The best way to combat this when decorating is to look for materials made of thick and tightly woven fabric so their sharp claws can’t grab a hold and begin their ascent, and order cordless lift options when possible to reduce visible cords. (Dangling cords can also be a safety issue for your pet.)

pet-friendly decor: windows

One way to avoid the allure of hanging fabric drapes all the way around is to install Roman shades to your windows. Roman shades typically fit inside the window frame, so there are no dangling fabrics onto which the cat can grab. They are sometimes pleated, and they all have the ability to raise and lower like traditional blinds. However, unlike traditional blinds or mini blinds, an eager puppy can’t stick his head in between the slats and cause all manner of destruction.

Decorating your home with your pets in mind is crucial in saving you time repairing damages or cleaning messes. Nobody wants to spend their weekend scrubbing walls, washing upholstery, or repairing damaged doors and window shades. Neutrality in color schemes and patterns, creating safe and non-slip surfacing with rugs, and installing the proper window treatments will go a long way to ensuring your home is both stylish and secure from the wrath of an excitable four-legged member of your family.

Visit Blinds.com to discover roman shades and other pet-friendly window treatment options for your family home.

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Katie Laird is the Director of Social Marketing for Blinds.com and a frequent public speaker on Social Media Marketing, Social Customer Care and profitable company culture. An active blogger and early social technology adopter, you can find her online as ‘happykatie’ sharing home décor, yoga, parenting and vegetarian cooking tips.

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