9 Tips for Buying Pet-Friendly Furniture

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It’s painful to invest in a piece of furniture and then watch your dog or cat slowly destroy it. It’s not only rough on your wallet, but it can be heart-breaking when you have an attachment to grandma’s roll-top desk. I wish some super fab designer would create a truly pet-friendly furniture line. I would buy all the things. Don’t get me wrong. I still believe you can live in style and have pets right now. It just requires some creativity and nine tips for buying pet-friendly furniture. 

#1 Be Strategic

The first step is to build a strategy around the habits of your pet. Play defense on the behaviors that add wear and tear and then go hog-wild with the design for everything else. For example, if your pup refuses to have his nails cut but isn’t a chewer, get a couch in a durable fabric. Then dress it up by adding throw pillows with chew-licious tassels. It doesn’t have to be a “destructive” habit for it to be rough on your furniture. Our pup, Mort likes to sunbathe on our couch, which is totally acceptable in our house but adds some stress to the sofa. We add a soft blanket on his favorite spot stop some of the wear and tear.


#2 Go for Metal Legs

For the dog or cat that loves to chew, look for furniture with metal legs. It will stop them from gnawing on the table legs. If your couch or coffee table already has wood legs, it is often easy to switch them out. There are companies like pretty pegs that make replacements in sleek and stylish designs. Amazon has a couple of sleek options in brushed brass and chrome.

#3 Secure A Sturdy Coffee Table

If your pup is playful or your cat is on the curious side, it’s a good idea to get a sturdy coffee table. You want something that can stand up again spontaneous playtime and keep the items on top secure. Don’t let your Voluspa candle get taken down by a kitty VS puppy wrestling match. Like a larger leather or fabric ottoman.


#4 Leather is Better

Leather is known for being easy to clean and an excellent option for a pet-friendly couch. The type of leather is crucial. Once you get a tear, there is no going back. Opt for thick, durable leather with a distressed look to hide the paw action.

#5 Opt for Industrial Chic and Farmhouse Design

Some design styles naturally cover up the pet-effect. If you are into Industrial Chic or Rustic Farmhouse, no one will know the difference between a cat scratch and a distressed finish. Mid-modern and Scandi lovers are out of luck. Although, if someone asks, just play the patina card. Check out our full Design Guide for pet-friendly Industrial Chic furniture.


#6 Choose the Right Fabric

Tight woven fabrics like canvas and denim stand up to a rogue claw or two. Microfiber or high-performance fabric is excellent for pets and easy to clean. There are beautiful options in velvet and tight weave fabrics. Choose busy designs to hide dog hair. If you’re not wild about patterns, try to match your couch to your dog. It doesn’t need to be an exact match, although that could be fun. If your dog has black hair, a white couch is probably a bad call.


#7 Bring Outdoor Furniture In

Since outdoor furniture is made to withstand the elements, it can also take on the fur-kids. Sunbrella fabric works for throw pillows or furniture that gets plenty of four-legged attention. If you like Boho chic design like rattan and cane furniture, outdoor versions will have more of a fighting chance that standard interior pieces. This wicker garden stool could make a great boho side table.


#8 Bore Pets with Your Furniture

Another strategy is to buy furniture that doesn’t interest your pet. You would have to give your dog a zillion treats to get them to sit in a butterfly chair. This is a place where you can max out design. No dogs will want to crawl up in a butterfly, ghost, tulip, or Wassily Chair.


#9 The Benefit of Washable Rugs

Tight woven, low pile rugs are the way to go when you have pets. Our dogs are tough on our hardwood flooring so we were desperate to find something that would protect the floors. Ruggables were a game-changer for us. They are washable and they come in plenty of great design options.

We have four Ruggables in our house. Two runners, an entryway rug, and one by the back door. They come in two pieces. The top portion is removable and you can toss in the wash. We bought our runners a few years ago and we had some problems with them rolling up on the sides and shrinking a little bit. Ruggable has since then made some adjustments and we don’t have the same problems with the two new ones.

Another strategy is to buy inexpensive rugs knowing they will need to be retired. I learned this lesson the hard way. When I moved into my house, my co-workers bought me this room-sized gorgeous, and expensive throw rug. It was beautiful. Scout loved it too. It was her favorite place to sit and clean her paws or gnaw on a dirty tennis ball. It was nice to see her so happy, but eventually, the spot cleaning stopped working. Stanley Steamer and every dry cleaner in town refused to clean it.

Finally, we rented a carpet cleaner from the grocery store. We have hardwood floors, so we had to put down durable plastic to prevent the steaming from hurting the floors. Then we had to figure out how the heck to dry it out. We ended up rigging this ridiculous scheme of ropes and pulleys on our front porch. I am sure the neighbors were overjoyed with the circus-like display.

The drying process took days. It wasn’t great for the rug, and I could never imagine going through that process again. I ended up gifting it to one of my other co-workers who could properly take care of it. I miss you, yellow rug. I hope you are happy with your new family.

Learn from my mistakes. Take the time to search for what works for you and your pets. Don’t feel obligated to sacrifice style. Get a little creative and have fun with it. Jonathan Adler, if you are reading this, we are ready for your pet-friendly furniture line.

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