If you have indoor pets, you can expect a collection of pet hair, scratches on the furniture, and some stains. Some fabrics last better than others in homes with dogs, cats, or both. Also, consider getting a couch with fewer seams; they are chewing, clawing, and digging magnets.
High-maintenance fabrics—like silk, velvet, or suede—should be avoided at all costs if you want less to worry about. Also, consider getting a furniture color that matches (or comes close) to your pet's hair color. If you get a couch fabric that has patterns, it can help hide any scratches.
Leather makes a good choice for people with pets because fur and hair won't stick to it. You can vacuum it and use a commercial cleaner to keep the leather supple. Also, it doesn't absorb odors like other materials. Leather is also less porous than other materials, so if a pet has an accident and you get to it right away, the damage will be significantly less than if it occurred on another material.
After a while, leather develops a patina that can add character to the couch. A pet can contribute to the darkening of leather, especially if it has a favorite spot on the couch. If you want your leather to stay pristine, keep your pets off the sofa. Or if that's not possible, consider using a slipcover or blanket to protect your sofa.
If you have a cat, keep its nails trimmed as sharp claws can puncture the leather, leaving tiny holes. Genuine leather is more rigid than pleather, vinyl, or synthetic leather and is harder to puncture. Take measures to deter your cat from making a cat scratch post out of a corner of your couch.
Synthetic microfiber's strong threads hold up against pets. It doesn't rip or scratch easily, and you can quickly remove accumulated hair with a lint brush or by wiping it with your hands. Most stains come out of microfiber with mild soap and water. The fabric's tight weave and dense texture prevents pet dander from permeating the fabric. Microfiber is also a harder material for pets to leave scratch marks.
Rugged, durable, and easy-to-clean denim makes a good choice in casual rooms. While the informal fabric may look out of place in fancier living rooms, comfy family rooms, sunrooms, and cottage interiors can benefit from denim furniture. You can spot clean denim with mild soap and water or a baking soda paste, which is great if you have a housetraining puppy or a particularly drool-happy pooch. And the tight weave of the fabric makes it easy to vacuum off any stray pet hair.
Canvas slipcovers make an especially good option in homes with pets. The durable cotton fabric doesn't tear easily, and you can remove the slipcover if it gets dirty and toss it in a washing machine. Canvas is also relatively inexpensive—especially when comparing the price to the cost of a new couch. Although canvas is hard to puncture or stain, it doesn't cost much to replace if it should become ruined with claw marks or a pet accident.
Stain- and odor-resistant treated outdoor fabrics repel moisture and even fend off bacteria, so you can share your couch with your pup without compromising comfort. You could bring outdoor furniture into the house or get slipcovers made from outdoor fabrics to cover pre-pet purchases. Design-minded pet owners have an extensive selection of outdoor materials, styles, and colors to choose from to upholster a new piece of furniture.
- As a general rule for choosing pet-friendly fabrics, look for something with a tight weave.
- Patterns, textures, and darker colors help hide pet hair and dirt until you have a chance to clean.
- Match your pet to your furniture or vice versa. If you have a pet with white hair, a lighter fabric will be a better choice.
- Pet owners should avoid chenille, velvet, silk, and tweed when shopping for pet-friendly furniture.