I’m going to make an assumption now, based on an entirely narcissistic self evaluation. You’d pretty much do anything for your pets, right? I would. I recently considered genuinely ending things with my partner when he revealed he had a mild canine allergy (we’ve since settled on a hypoallergenic breed and the relationship lives to fight another day). You might never have considered yourself to be the type of person to entirely redesign your life to accommodate these furry creatures that seem to have burrowed their way into your heart. But here you are. You are this person now, the pet person. The person who promised the cat would never be allowed on the sofa but ultimately couldn’t resist those doe eyes. And if we’re being frank, cuddling the kitten is far cheaper than putting the heating on. The only thing to do now is to try to make the best of the situation and adapt your home to suit.
It’s easy to develop a love-hate relationship with pet fur. You can wait all day to come home and cuddle up next to it, but it is murder for getting off of your upholstery. The easiest way to pet proof your house, is to invest in fabrics that are fur friendly. Upholstery that is tougher to damage and simpler to clean is the best way to retain pride in your home and in your pet. Here we take a look at the ultimate do’s and don'ts for designing your upholstery tailored to the true head of the house, your pets.
Go Hell For Leather
Pet owners, this is your lucky year. Leather might actually be cool again. Sultry tan leather certainly seems to have had a resurgence. Leathers and faux leathers are the perfect upholstery for keeping pets as they are super easy to clean. Pet hair is easily cleaned off of leathers, even brushable with the palm of your hand. It’s also easily wiped down with commercial cleaner to remove saliva or any other nasty surprises, an inevitable part of owning a pet. It’s true that leather ages and pet claws can do damage through scratching. But the beautiful thing about weathered leather is that it doesn’t look bad, it forms a textured patina that can often add value to the chair.
The popularity of leather amongst pet owners may lull you into a false sense of security when it comes to suede. But suede is the softer alternate to leather and it is incredibly difficult to clean. It’s tough, like leather and will last you a long time, but if it gets soiled your options for cleaning are limited. It’s also easily marked on the surface, kittens that are just about learning the difference between a sofa leg and a scratching post can do more damage to suede than a bulldozer.
If you don’t want to spend a fortune on pet pedicures for your fluffy household members, it’s best to avoid high maintenance fabrics altogether. Velvets and silks are so easily marked and snagged by claws and sometimes pets can even tear straight through. In softer fabrics like this, the only option is to reupholster your furniture and unfortunately these materials tend to be far more expensive to replace after your dog has taken a fancy to it. Velvet in particular is also a magnet for hair and due to its weave the hair gets stuck down into the fibres and becomes increasingly more difficult to move.
Pet fur has a life of its own. Once it’s detached itself from its host body, it builds a new home for itself amongst your furniture, burrowing so far into the upholstery it becomes damn near impossible to reach even with the most impressive of hoovers. To keep pet hair on the surface, use fabrics with a tighter weave. Canvas, microfiber and some forms of twill are harder to damage due to their tightly packed weave. Claws have a tougher time getting through these tighter fabrics and as do errant hairs. Using a lint roller, or even just your hand fur is easily rubbed away from microfiber materials, while loose canvas covers can be removed and put directly into the wash.
You want to take this outside?
Bare with us, because this may seem quite obscure. But have you considered using outdoor fabrics to upholster your indoor sofa? They are designed to be durable, using acrylic to seal their colour and form. It may sound like a daunting prospect considering the association with outdoor furniture is that it’s tough and not all that comfortable, in order to ensure it’s outdoor resistance. You might even be imagining a cushion covered in a layer of waterproof plastic, but the reality is far from it. Companies like Perennials now offer textured weaves and softer versions of outdoor fabrics that are incredibly durable that they have even begun to use them as indoor upholstery.