Design Dilemma: Finding Pet-Friendly Fabrics | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Finding Pet-Friendly Fabrics

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Got a cat or a dog? Then you know the pain of selecting a fabric for sofas and chairs. Within a week of obtaining that beautiful new couch it could be shredded to bits or filled with animal hair. And that’s a painful thought when you’ve just plunked down several thousand dollars for a couch you had hoped would last for years.

So if you’re looking to avoid that tragedy, which fabrics work? There’s no perfect solution and people’s experiences vary, depending on the type of animal they have and the quality of whatever covering they’re using, but here’s what we’ve found works best for pet owners:

1) Microfiber for hiding stains.

Pros: It’s easy to clean and easy to find. Seems like just about every couch or chair these days is outfitted in microfiber. It’s especially valued among catowners who say that this fabric is less likely to catch on cats sharpened claws.

Cons: The most common microfiber fabric is pretty boring to look at. More interesting microfiber fabrics can be found, but you have to really search and be prepared to pay extra. Many cat owners say that microfiber attracts cat hairs.

2) Leather for repelling animal hair.

Pros: It wipes up easily and resists stains and dirt. It does not collect fur. Many cats are not attracted to a leather surface for scratching. Leather can be an especially good choice for dog owners, as long, of course, as the dog is not a chewer.

Cons: A cat doesn’t have to actively scratch a leather couch to inflict damage. Many leather couches get damaged just by a cat’s routine leaps and runs which puncture the leather.

3. Patterned fabric.

Pros: Patterned fabrics are more forgiving when it comes to dirt and stains. If you have an animal who is a shedder, animal hair is less likely to stand out on a multi-colored surface.

Cons: Patterns go in out and out style more quickly than a solid-covered couch.

4. Cotton slip covers.

Pros: They can easily be changed and laundered. When stains or tears do occur, they can easily be replaced.

Cons: Not all slip covers are easy to remove. Also, more modern furniture styles don’t always lend themselves to slip covers.

5) 100% wool Oriental Rugs for resistance to stains and for hiding hair. We’ve had a lot of rugs and we’ve consistently found that many types of oriental rugs can handle the rigors that pets subject them to. Colorful patterned rugs are great at hiding and repelling dirt and hair. The weave of many carpets stands up to cat scratching well.

And what should you stay away from?

  • Nubby fabrics and tweeds, including chenille and boucle that will catch on a cat’s claws.
  • Silky fabrics which are also likely to attract a cat’s interest and snag.
  • Velvet which will collect hair quickly, although some cat owners say it doesn’t show scratches.
  • A definitive color, such as black or white. Black will show dust and light fur easily, white will show everything. Grays and browns are probably a better choice.

The bottom line: If you’re a dog or cat owner, the reality is that you will have to expect less than perfection at home. On the other hand, with a little trial and error, most pet owners are able to come up with a happy compromise. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the love that Fifi and Fido are prepared to give you. Just expect to vacuum a little more often.

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