Pet-Friendly Scandy Design Guide

After many decades Scandy home design is still all the rage. It’s open and airy with lots of natural light and elements. I get the appeal when you stuck inside for long periods like a Swedish winter or American quarantine. Some Scandy elements like snuggly hygge dog beds and sisal-covered cat walls are such an excellent fit for people with pets. However, the Scandy addiction to white textiles and easy to scratch light wood can make it a challenge. This Pet-Friendly Scandy Design guide will help you create and maintain the look!

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Scandy Basics

Scandinavian design is all about minimalism, simplicity, and functionality. The natural world is brought inside with large windows, house plants, and nature prints. There are very few Tchotchkes. Everything has a place, and storage is essential. The color scheme is layers of light neutrals with soft hues of color as accents. While the furnishings are restrained, the textiles are unabashedly cozy. 

Brave the White Couch

If you have a dog who likes to cuddle on the furniture after a walk in the rain or a black cat that spends the entire day sleeping on your sofa, getting a white couch seems like a bad call. At one point, I had an IKEA Stockholm pullout couch that had white slipcovers. It was initially in a pet-free guest room but eventually became the main couch in the living room. I was pretty sure it was a goner, and I would need a replacement within a few months. I sprayed scotch guard on it and hoped for the best. The fabric was thick and similar to canvas or denim. It surprisingly lasted for years. We were able to wipe most dirt and pet hair off of easily. Wine became more of a threat than anything pet related.

The upside with the white fabric was that when bad things happened, we could spray it with some Oxyclean before it went into the wash, and we didn’t have to worry about bleaching out the color. (Although you can push it and even discolor white fabric). We washed it so many times that it eventually shrunk and became impossible to fit back on the couch. At that point, we replaced it with a dark blue version, but having a white sofa with pets wasn’t as crazy as I expected.

If you want the Scandy white couch, you can make it happen if you get a thick washable fabric and embrace the Scotch Guard.

Hide Everything Baskets 

Depending on your personality, the Scandy way of leaving every surface free from clutter can be a #lifegoal or a personal nightmare. I lean towards everything being tucked away in storage, but there is some serious resistance from our dogs and their toys. There are so many adorable Scandy baskets to put dog toys in that we have one in every room. Check them out along with other pet toy storage ideas here. They also make great cat beds. We throw in a faux sheepskin rug, and the cat hangs out there all winter.

Here are some of my favorite styles:

Jute Basket

Seagrass Basket

Rope Woven Basket

Safely Bring the Outside In

Pet-Freindly Scandy Design
Photo by Evelin Horvath on Unsplash

Another theme in Scandy design is bringing the outside in with huge windows, natural fibers, and potted plants. The house plant situation can be a challenge to make pet-friendly. However, you can make it happen with a little strategy. The first step is knowing your dog or cat. Do they like to dig and chew or swing from hanging plants? If so, place them where pets can’t get to them. You can also do some research and avoid house plants that are toxic. Here is a list of common houseplants that are toxic but you should check out the ASPCA’s incredibly thorough list here.

Some Common Toxic Houseplants to Avoid:



Asparagus Fern


Birds of Paradise

Elephant Ears

Fiddle Leaf

Jade Plant

Another option (and don’t freak out), is fake plants. They are some great option now. They don’t have all the benefits of live plants, but if your dog or cat will kill them anyway…

Here are a few great options.



Faux Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

If you want to skip this plant thing entirely, another way to bring the outside is through graphic prints. These are lovely and super affordable.

Botanical Prints

Wall Art Prints

Cozy and Washable Throws

To get you and your pets through that nordic winter, you will need to get curl up with some cozy throws. This is one of my favorite parts of pet-friendly Scandy design. We use these sheepskin throws as layer or protection on all our furniture. 

This one is even washable.

Faux Sheepskin

Another super snuggly textile is the Best Friends by Sheri Calming bed. I have mentioned theme before. My good friend Philip recommended them and it has transformed our home. We now have four of them because the dogs were competing for a chance to sleep in them. They fit the Scandy look, and our dogs luvvv them. 

Best Friends By Sheri Calming Bed

And last but certainly no least, If you are looking for a pet-friendly rug option, Ruggables has a washable shag rug.

IKEA Hacks for People with Pets

There is so much more to Scandy design that IKEA. You can also get your Scandy fix at All Modern, Urban Outfitters, and Design within Reach, to name a few. IKEA’s new line of cat and dog accessories doesn’t really hit the mark in my opinion. Everything is for cats or very small dogs. They also break out the paw print a few times. I don’t know why everyone still gets tripped up on this paw print design. I love my husband but I don’t want a shower curtain with his footprint all over it.

One of my favorite pet-friendly items at IKEA is their shoe cabinets. It’s a skinny cabinet that attaches to the wall and is so cute you could put it in a hallway or a mudroom. On top of it protecting my shoes from the dog, it also creates a shelf where you can add some minimalist Scandy decor. The plastic ones are $25, and the fancy ones are about $100. To put that price into perspective, the first month we had August, he chewed three sandals, Birkenstocks, two pairs of Chacos, four sneakers, and a couple of boots.

Where IKEA’s truly shines in inspiring so many DIY’ers to tweak these affordable and modular pieces into something that works specifically for their lifestyle. For those of us that have been searching for pet-friendly options, it gave us an opportunity to create solutions for our homes. On top of IKEA’s affordable baskets and textiles, they also have floating shelves that can become climbing walls, lack side tables transform to become dog hideouts and thousand of other hacks. If you feel inspired to create some pet-friendly home decor, IKEA is a great place to start. Then share it with the #barkingbarking community #social.


Swedish Pets

Some of my closet friends live in Sweden, and I have had the chance to visit a couple of times. I will say that I have never seen a dog or cat while visiting. I reached out to my friends to see if they had any pet-friendly recommendations. They said that cooling mats are very popular right now. I checked the weather in Malmo. Huge heatwave this week with highs nearing 66 degrees (Fahrenheit). Meanwhile, It is 95 degrees here in Tennessee, our AC is struggling and our dogs are snuggled up in furry calming beds. Even with dogs, it’s all about perspective.

Scandy design has a soft place in my heart. There is something about the simplicity of the dwellings that is incredibly relaxing. I wonder if the minimalism leaves space for reflection. What is your favorite pet-friendly Scandy design trend? Let us know in the comments below.

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