Decorating Doníts When Sharing Your Pad with a Pet
By Mary Boone
You bought an off-white velvet sofa so your Bichon’s hair wouldn’t show up? Rookie mistake. You didn’t count on the fact that velvet is like a magnet for pet hair or that Fido would occasionally track in dirt and mud.
No doubt about it, pet owners love their animals. In fact, in 2011, Americans spent $50.96 billion to keep their pets happy and healthy.
Co-existing with a cocker spaniel? Sharing your living space with a Siamese? Having a pet doesn’t mean you have to give up style. It simply means you need to make decorating decisions that allow for easy clean up.
To make your non-human friend feel comfortable and to lessen your frustration, keep these eight decorating don’ts in mind:
Don’t invest in pricey, heirloom rugs
Inexpensive ones are fine. You can clean them on a regular basis, and when they start looking or smelling a bit off, you can toss them out. Wall-to-wall carpet can be tough with a pet, but you can get the same look with modular carpet tiles. If the cat vomits in the middle of the room, you simply pull up the foul tile and replace it with a new one.
Don't use flat finish paint
Flat paint is nearly impossible to clean, and no matter how precious your pup is, you’ll undoubtedly need to wipe smudges from walls. With a simple shake of his head, your English bulldog can fling drool and snot to all corners of a room. Pick a paint that makes cleaning less tedious; satin and eggshell finishes are your best bets.
Don’t upholster with plush fabrics
Heavy textures trap pet hair. Just accept it and move on. Your best upholstery choices are fabrics that are flat and matte, making them easy to vacuum or wipe.
Don't use delicate bed linens
If your dog or cat sleeps with you, there will be accidents. Even if your bed is off-limits, it’s likely that rule will be broken from time to time. Protect your mattress from vomit, urine and drool by covering it with a thick pad. When it comes to bedspreads, search out patterns that can hide pet hair and stains between washings. Duvet covers work well because you can take them off and wash them regularly.
Don’t let dog toys take over
Guests – especially non-pet people – don’t cherish the idea of stepping over chewed-up bones or stuffed toys. Wicker baskets or plastic tubs are great places to gather pet toys (unless your pooch chews on the basket, in which case you may want to use a cool-looking galvanized tub). Keep the basket in a spot where Rover can access it, and half his fun will be deciding what to drag out this time. Spend a minute each evening tossing toys back into the basket – unless you can train your pet to do that.
Don’t let pet food boxes become a kitchen accessory
Yes, convenience is key when it comes to caring for our four-legged (or two-winged) friends, but that doesn’t mean you should leave pet food containers on the counter or on top of the fridge. Wherever you store food or treats, consider stashing them in nice glass or metal containers.
Don’t tempt fate with valuables
Rambunctious dogs and cats will run and bump into things – it’s just the way things are. If a table isn’t sturdy or a fragile item is left too low, it’s likely disaster will ensue. Put your prized possessions up high, on a shelf or mantel.
Don’t let it all hang out
Crates, litter boxes and feeding bowls will clutter a room quicker than you can say, “Roll over, Rover.” Think camouflage when it comes to pet accoutrements. Litter boxes can be hidden in cabinets or a crate can be encased in stained or painted wood to create a tasteful end table. Want to hide food and water dishes? Install a low drawer front in your kitchen where kitty or puppy can chow down – and then, when company comes, you can push the drawer and bowls out of sight.
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