Did you know Sunday the 20th of February is National Love Your Pet Day? It will come as no surprise that we are truly a nation of animal lovers with around 59% of UK households estimated to have pets in 2021. That's quite a jump from 45% back in 2011. Our lovely pets are part of the family and share our homes, but what with them having four legs, a lot more hair (and fur!) than most of us and a tendency for muddy paws, sharing our living spaces needs a bit more consideration. In this blog, we look at a few ideas to create a harmonious living space that works for both you and your pampered pooch...
Help make your living room people and pet-friendly
1. Choose fabrics carefully
Ideally you need fabrics that are tough and durable - leather, faux leather, smooth synthetics and microfibres as well as outdoor fabrics like canvas are ideal and can look stylish when styled well. A tan leather sofa or a faux leather couch is a good choice as it can be easily wiped clean of mucky paws, plus they're strong enough to withstand small scratches - a weathered brown leather chesterfield may even look more at home with a few lived-in marks and scratches. Another great option is to have removable covers on your sofa that can be machine washed along with cosy blankets and cushions - just make sure to steer clear of cushions made from delicate fabric, such as silk.
Now, you may think velvet as a fabric is a definite no-no when it comes to pets, but don't be too quick to discard it. Some velvet is not as delicate as you might first assume! It can actually be very resistant to wear and tear and animal fur can easily be brushed off - so a velvet armchair is a good choice for both you and your pet to curl up on!
If you really don't want your pets on the sofa, but want them close to you, how about placing their bed on the sofa? Or maybe a large footstool with a blanket or throw that be washed? This way they can be part of the family movie night without any risk of making a mess in the living room. Cats and dogs love to curl up in front of a fire, so this is an obvious place to add a pet bed to your living room - they will get used to lying on it pretty quickly!
2. Think about flooring
The type of flooring you have in your living room is important if you have pets in the home. If you have a small dog and usually walk them on pavements then you will most likely get away with a carpeted floor possibly with a rug or two where they walk across to their bed. However, as a rule, carpet is best avoided when cats and dogs are part of the family.
Tiled floors are best when it comes to being washable but can feel a bit cold for pets and humans alike, especially in a living room in the UK. A hardwood floor or engineered wood are best options - with some washable rugs for added warmth. Another flooring worth considering is vinyl. Durable, waterproof and cost effective, vinyl has come a long way since the orange incarnations of the '70s and can be purchased in planks to replicate a wood or tile floor, as well as a range or different styles and patterns. You can even get antimicrobial vinyl flooring that hinders the growth of bacteria.
3. Pick furniture best for two and four legs
Furniture style is also an important consideration and not just when you factor in scratching and chewing. If you have a larger dog with a waggy tail think about the height of your furniture. Your gorgeous rustic coffee table with books, ornaments and a small vase expertly styled on top may look perfect in the centre of your living room, but one swipe from an excited tail and it's ruined. Wooden side tables are generally a bit higher than coffee tables, so a couple of these at the ends of your sofa may be a better solution. Or you can position a wooden sideboard or rustic console table against a wall in your living room to use as a spot to add your stylish ornaments and drinks on - the higher surface is a safer bet to prevent any four-legged accidents.
4. Industrial furniture - a pet-friendly solution
Reclaimed wood furniture is a favourite in the living room, but its tactile quality is also admired by claws and fangs! If you don't want to worry about your pets scratching or ruining your rustic furniture, solid industrial style furniture is a sturdy and perfect compromise as it mostly features wonderful powder-coated steel legs and feet that are less interesting to pets. They are very unlikely to get much satisfaction from scratching (or chewing) metal legs and less likely to knock it over in moments of excitement!