5 Ways to Make Your Home – Dog Friendly

For the 43 million of us who have dogs in our lives we understand that special bond that exists.  Studies have shown that living with pets directly relieves the daily stress and lowers the chances of heart attacks and strokes. Dogs are loyal, loving and provide us with a sense of protection. They are always excited to see us, never complain, and tolerate our shortcomings. But lets be honest.   Dogs are messy! Maintaining a clean and comfortable home without compromising style is important for a successful co-existence between you and your pet.  Combining your family’s needs along with your pooch’s – will provide you with a great sense of satisfaction and relief. So here are a few pet-friendly design and decorating tips to help simplify your life. 1.  Flooring.
  • Avoid carpeting if at all possible.  It’s a very unforgiving material to have underfoot when it comes to accidents and traipsing in dirt from the outside – not to mention the clumps of fur, hair and bacteria trapped from within.
  • If your dog has regular access to carpeted areas throughout your home have them professionally cleaned every 2 months.  If you insist on carpeting – introduce self-adhesive carpet tiles.  That way you can easily replace one soiled tile rather than an entire carpet.
  • Install easy-to-clean low maintenance materials such as ceramic tile, vinyl, stone, concrete or any hardwoods. Have your pup’s nails trimmed often to keep floor scratches to a minimum.
  • Don’t be afraid to introduce area rugs for warmth and character. Natural sisals and seagrass area rugs are very durable. Depending on the type, they can be easily cleaned and maintained.
2.  Upholstery.
  • Avoid both very light and very dark fabrics – as they tend to show every pet hair and stain known to man.  Warm neutrals and durable fabrics will be somewhat forgiving, and still lets you know when it’s time for a cleaning.
  • Some feel leather is a great upholstery solution.  It’s easily wipe-able and impervious to odors.  The flip side is, if your dog is a nester (like mine) you’ll invariably begin to see scratches and indentations on the cushions.
  • Slipcovers are a perfect solution for soft seating.  Not only will the washable fabric protect your favorite sofa – it will also provide you with an instant interior makeover while the covers are being laundered.
3.  Wall Finish.
  • Re-paint your walls with satin or eggshell paints and avoid flat entirely. Your dog may be prone to drooling and one shake after coming in from the rain will leave your flat finished wall, marked and full of stains.  Satin and eggshell finishes are wipe-able and much easier to clean. (Semi-gloss paint works also, yet shows every wall imperfection)
  • Infuse some instant character into your pets favorite spaces by introducing some wainscoting and molding approx. 42” up the wall. It will protect the wall from stains and dirt.  Paint the wainscoting with a semi-gloss, eggshell or satin finish for easy cleaning and the upper wall portion in a flat contrasting color.
  • Wood paneling, glass and mirrored walls are also easily maintained – not to mention beautiful design elements to implement into any home.
4.  Collectables.
  • Remove your priceless delicate collectables off the sofa back tables, end tables and any other low lying surface, where the swipe of a tail – large or small – will level your living space.
  • Place all these sentimental antique figurines in a special cabinet or shelving area – or in another room entirely – where Sparky isn’t allowed.
5.  Clean Up Corner.
  • This is THE ideal situation for those who have the layout and space.  It can be incorporated into a back hall area, mudroom or existing laundry space.
  • If possible provide a shower floor with a hand held showerhead, making those daily paw baths that much quicker, easier and cleaner!
  • Wall-mount some shelving units from your home improvement store and keep your dog’s food, leashes, toys and towels in one clean corner.
  • Have an absorbent dog mat and towels at the door for an immediate landing spot on those wet and miserable rainy days.

I encourage you leave questions or comments below this post, and fill out the form on the right hand side of this page to receive your free copy of my special report: “How to Avoid the 15 Most Common Decorating Mistakes” Article by Lori Gilder, Architectural Interior Designer, Los Angeles, Ca. © 2010 Lori Gilder. Interior Makeovers Inc