Pet-Friendly Interior Design: Top Advice from Industry Experts

Anyone who has a pet knows how important the choices you make in terms of your interior are. If you have a furry friend living in your home, it’s likely that you want your interior to be as clean as possible. Clutter can make it even harder to clean up any mess and loose hair. It’s important to think about the fabrics you’re going to use as some materials gather fur much more than others. All areas should be considered including your furniture, paint, colours of furnishing and flooring. 

But, this isn’t just about you and your home. It’s also important that your pet feels at home too. Taking your pet into consideration when choosing your interior can go a long way for both you and your pet. We asked experts to give their top tip on how to ensure you have interior that makes both you and your pet happy! 

pet friendly interior design

Full Advice: Pet-Friendly Interior Tips

Matt Deighton, Managing Director at Sofas by Saxon

Having a pet doesn’t mean you need to cover your beautiful soft furnishings up with plastic, but you do need to choose materials for your furniture with care. Think carefully about the texture of your upholstery. Generally, you don’t want to go for anything with an open weave, as your pet’s claws will catch on it and cause it to unravel. Textured fabrics can also be quite impractical: velvet might be very stylish at the moment, but it’s an absolute pet-hair magnet, so you’re better off avoiding this. Instead, pick furniture in leather or tight weave materials, as these are easiest to clean, more resistant to pet hair, and are less likely to be damaged by their claws.  

Ideally, you will want to pick upholstery in a shade that will hide stray hairs, so you don’t need to worry about cleaning your couch every time your pet joins you for a cuddle. The simplest way to prevent this is to choose a fabric shade which is a similar colour to your furry friend’s coat. White fur is often one of the worst offenders, as it shows up on most colours: in this case, your best bet is to go for a neutral or light grey sofa.

If your pet is lucky enough to be allowed snuggle up on the couch regularly, you can always put a washable throw on the sofa and encourage them to lie on this. This way, you can simply whip the blanket off for cleaning or to make space for guests.

Callum Henderson, E-Commerce Manager at I Love Wallpaper


If you have a pet, such as a cat or a dog (or both!) you’ll know the struggle to keep your home looking immaculate. When pets are venturing inside from the outdoors frequently, they can bring with them a whole host of potential mess which conflicts with your desire to live in a contemporary, clean home.

Waterproof paint and wipeable wallpaper may be the solution to maintaining your interior design style.

In high traffic areas of the home, such as hallways, landings and bathrooms, it can be a good idea to consider decorating with wallpaper and paint that have been designed to withstand the incidental splashes of water and mud that pets can add to our homes. Easy to wipe down without damaging the appearance or finish of the wallpaper or paint, we would recommend opting for this kind of decor in areas where muddy dogs might shake themselves dry!

Another way to still have a beautiful modern home whilst sharing your living space with beloved pets is to opt for wooden or laminate floors. Carpets can trap moulted fur and hold onto dirt whilst a laminate floor can be regularly swept to keep built up fur and dust to a minimum, which is also ideal for those with allergies.

With a little thought into your interior design choices, it is possible to live peacefully in a pet-friendly home with your favourite furry friends.

Emma Heath, Office Supervisor, Lakelovers.

Choosing interiors that are both aesthetically pleasing and suitable for pets isn’t an easy feat, but there are simple ways to ensure that your home can stay stylish, whilst also being suitable for your four-legged friends. Think very carefully about your fabric selection on all soft furnishings, to avoid an abundance of pet hair. Stick to leather and synthetic materials as opposed to those accustomed to pet hair such as velvet or chenille.

Nick Acaster, Managing Director at Rugs Direct

Rugs provide an easy, effective and inexpensive way to add a bit more comfort to your interior décor, and pets often love curling up on them! But, you don’t want your four-legged friend coming into contact with any harmful chemicals, so I’d strongly suggest avoiding toxic materials, glues and dyes. It’s also best to choose a low pile to reduce the risk of your pet getting their claws stuck.

Polypropylene is a great option: it ticks all these boxes and is a lot more durable than other materials, so you won’t have to worry too much about your pet causing any damage while they’re playing. It’s also non-absorbent, stain resistant and can be easily washed when they come running in with muddy paws.

While you want to pick a colour and design to suit your interior décor, it’s also a good idea to take your pet’s fur into account: you’ll do a lot less vacuuming if you have a dark rug disguising black fur! Small, intricate patterns are best for hiding any small stains that can occur.

Nina Cole, Founder of Ninas Nannies for Pets

Pet-friendly homes are all about design and fulfilling your pets needs.  You should consider how you and pets want to live and design your home in a pet-friendly way.

Cupboards/Wonderful Dens

We all love our pets and there are various ways in which we can make our home into a pet-friendly palace.Dogs adore places where they can escape the hubbub of our busy lives, so what better way than to turn our un-used cupboards into a cosy den for our dogs or cats, depending on their size.

A nice warm blanket on top of a cosy bed would be ideal but remember to remove the cupboard door first.  You could even hang a little curtain where the door used to be, opening and closing it for comfort. These specially designed spaces are especially beneficial if you are having guests or parties since they allow your dog/cat to retreat to the peace and quiet of their little den.

Cat Shelves

There are some genius designs which your cat will love and most can be made cheaply at home. For those people who like quirky designs, why not purchase some cheap wooden boxes that fix onto the wall or even the simple floating shelves from places like Ikea or B & Q.  They would need to be placed strategically enabling your cat to climb from one to the other, but they look so effective and cats adore lounging in elevated positions.

Cat Furniture

If you cannot be bothered or are not skilled enough to make your own cat shelves, there are some wonderfully designed furniture, which you can source online.  Cat cocoons will fit seamlessly into any home design and can make a real talking point. ‘ Catssup’ is a collection which can be fitted to your furniture to create a vertical cat playground, where your cats can explore without compromising your living space.

Cat Proofing your soft Furnishings

Clawing is a natural part of your cat’s behavior and there are steps that you can take to minimise what we see, as destructive behavior. Invest in scratching posts and place them strategically around areas of your home where your cats spend their time.  You can even purchase some rough hemp material and wind it around your chair legs. There are some ingenious designs, both upright and flat, that can be purchased in pet shops or online.  Be sure that any posts are secure and stabilised, so they do not tip over when in use.

To make the scratch posts even more inviting, you can spray them with catnip.  Some are made with a toy overhead, to encourage your cat to use them, but whatever shape of form, you can never have too many.

No go Areas

There will be some rooms which you wish to keep as ‘no go areas’, for your dog and small children, so consider placing a gate at the foot of your stairs. Puppies and elderly dogs could be at risk, so try and make a stair gate that is aesthetically pleasing as possible.  They can be purchased cheaply from online stores, but if you are handy with a saw and some nails, with a little imagination, it is amazing what can be achieved.


We all love to brighten our living areas with greenery, but there are many plants that can be toxic to our feline and canine friends, so always ensure that your plants are pet-friendly, before adorning your home.


These are such invaluable spaces for people with dogs since they can also double up as washing stations, where you can rinse off both muddy boots and paws.Some people opt for an elevated bath, especially useful for working dogs, or countryside living. It is also another ideal space for your dog’s bed and a place to keep their equipment such as leads, towels etc, not to mention their food and a feeding station.

Pamela Muldowney, Interior Designer at Downe & Stay Design

Pamela breaks down her advice for pet-friendly interior into eat, sleep, play and security.


Choose stylish and modern pet bowls and mats. They are easy ways to add pops of colour, whimsy, and making your pet feel fancy. Collect several dishes and change them every so often.


Beds not only provide a sanctuary for your pet but can be used to express your design style. Beds are a great way to enhance the design of your home by incorporating texture, pattern, colour into your space. If space is limited, choose a furniture piece that is also a haven for your furry loved one. Incorporate a luxury machine washable throw for extra comfort and sophistication.


Fun can be beautiful too. Choose toys that match your home’s colour palette. Think of toys as works of art and how they can be displayed and stored when not being chewed on.


Keep your pets and home safe with stylish crates and gates. It is essential for your furry loved one to feel safe in your home.

Bettina Frohn, founder of Make Them Roar

Your pets are happiest when you give them love, attention and plenty of playtime. But they also need their own quiet space to withdraw and relax, not only for a peaceful sleep but also for relaxed mealtimes.

There are a huge variety of individual dog bowls and elevated feeders in the market. As each dog has their very own taste and character, it can take a little time to get to know their preferences.

Establish a daily feeding routine with at least two meals given per day to adult dogs. Always provide fresh water and keep an eye out to not overfeed your hungry pooch.

Your dog should take a relaxed body posture when eating, neither lowering their neck nor having to stretch upwards too much. Place their bowls at the correct height with the top of the bowl sitting on level with your dog’s lower chest. Opt for non-slip and easy to clean bowls for healthy and happy mealtimes.

Sarah Barnard, Interior Designer at Sarah Barnard Design

Sarah designs healthy, happy, personalized spaces that are deeply connected to nature and art. As a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, a WELL Accredited Professional, and a LEED Accredited Professional, Sarah has created countless homes and spaces that embody wellness, sustainability, and smart design.

Sarah invites her clients to live their best lives, designing personalized spaces that support their unique needs. Sometimes this means a kitty sunporch, a tortoise habitat or a special room for the family dogs.

Because our pets love to be where we are, a dedicated pet room will likely be under appreciated. Pets tend to prefer a comfy spot in whichever room we spend the most time.

For those with allergies, I recommend selecting furniture with exposed legs (instead of fully upholstered or skirted bases) to minimize the accumulation of pet hair.

Hard-surface flooring materials like wood, tile, stone, and terrazzo are excellent choices because they are durable and clean easily.

Choose area rugs over wall-to-wall carpets. Wool rugs with high levels of lanolin naturally repel liquids, giving it a fighting chance of surviving pet accidents.

For vegan clients, I recommend indoor/outdoor rugs made of synthetic fibres. These options aren’t as soft as organic carpets, but they are low maintenance and can be sprayed off with a garden hose.

Plan for unpredictable pet behaviors by omitting long drapery where possible and by avoiding fabrics that are easily damaged or challenging to clean.

You can still enjoy all your favorite wallpapers and textures by installing wainscoting to create a hard-wearing barrier.

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