Can Pets And Decor Coexist?

Dear Style Studio,

I spent a small fortune just two years ago with a designer updating our 12-year-old living room only to have our dogs and cats take what was once beautiful and make it look/smell like I need a new decor.

My white Lab sheds and leans against the backs of the upholstered pieces, leaving body oil and much white hair (the chairs are in a charcoal cotton blend). My 100-pound AmStaff loves to lay on the sofa (a driftwood-toned synthetic linen-look blend) or a chair — who can blame her — leaving behind drool stains, hair, and rumpled fabric.

Mary H 4

Mary H 5

The several indoor/outdoor cats, even though I have done EVERYTHING to deter them, have clawed up several corners of the upholstered pieces, marked the bottoms of all the sateen drapery, thrown up numerous fur balls on fabrics and cut berber carpet.

Mary H 1

I had switched out the once beautiful chairs for some inexpensive leather club chairs, which I disliked because of the heavy look, but the cats left them alone and the dog hair didn’t stick to them.

I put an area rug under the sofa and chairs to save the carpet, but it is difficult to vacuum.

I also removed the upholstered accent chairs and brought in simplistic and utilitarian hardwood chairs to avoid the continuous shredding.

Needless to say, my beautiful, inviting living room is hodgepodge and uninviting, IF you are a human!

Before I can ever even consider other guests, I must attack the remnants of stain removing, odor removing, fur removing, and to heck with the clawed parts, to even make it appropriate for me, let alone guests.

I don’t know if your designers can master the problems of wanting to enjoy a pleasing decor with displeasing animals.

I also can’t believe I didn’t correct the designer when all these non-animal-friendly textiles were considered. My fault.

Is there ANY hope? I don’t want to live in a plastic environment just so the humans and animals can get along.

You will be able to deduce by my photos that I have lost almost all pride of ownership in my decor. I would love to regain it…

-Mary H


Hello Mary,

We understand the passion for pets and providing a good home for them but they don’t always understand beauty do they?

Although we can’t give advice on animal behavior, we can suggest furniture pieces for you that will make your room easier to maintain.

We have several furniture frames that can be ordered with slipcovers. We think this will be the best direction for you since the slipcovers can be removed and washed when they become soiled.

Our Lenoir Sofa works well with your current style and we think the slipcover would be perfect in Sunbrella Heather Gray. To keep a simple furniture profile in your space, add in two of our Lenoir Chairs and slipcover them in Sunbrella Sand.

Mary H collage

With low maintenance anchor pieces in place, have fun with pillows on your sofa! Also consider switching up your cocktail table with a Bornova Cocktail table in brown.

Using our Inwood Rug in black as a replacement rug is a good solution for several reasons … it has a color palette that works with your existing style, it is very easy to maintain and the chevron pattern is a fresh look that will disguise animal hair.

We suggest that you consider adding some interest to the wall behind the television. A collection of our Suzanne Kasler Sepia Botanical Prints grouped with the Antiqued Mirror Sconces will create a sophisticated focal wall.

A beautiful and low maintenance room is possible when furniture pieces and textiles are carefully selected. We hope this direction is a help for your space and we wish you luck!

Happy Decorating!

The Style Studio Team

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.