Pet friendly fabrics with durable designs that don’t compromise on style

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Each week, Mansion Global tackles a topic with an elite group of designers from around the world who work on luxury properties. This week, we’re discussing tips for designing the living room with beautiful materials that your pets won’t destroy.

You don’t have to compromise on luxury to incorporate your pets into living room designs.

While animals and upholstery generally don’t mix, some high performance materials and dog bowl camouflage tips and chew toys can ensure your living space is pet friendly and stylish.

Interior designer Carolina Gentry and her dog take comfort in knowing her living room is pet-friendly

Korena sinnett

Wool and crypton turn sofas scratching posts into durable anchors for the living room, wicker baskets hide odds and ends, and a built-in cabinet drawer conceals pet food.

“Luxury living now means that we can enjoy our pets and at the same time enjoy our luxurious homes,” said Amy Lau, New York-based interior designer of Amy Lau Design. Rich and sophisticated performance textiles and rugs are now available that resist stains and fading. Perfect to withstand daily use by pets, children and late night wine spills.

We asked a select group of designers to comment on what materials are suitable for pets and how to style them in the living room.

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Think livable luxury with high-performance fabrics

“For living spaces, we always like to know whether or not a client’s four-legged children are going to jump on a dog bed, and we integrate that into the furniture arrangement. We love to use perennial fabrics made from fiber technology and acrylic fibers dyed in the mass. We’ll have full upholstered sofas and ottomans so you don’t panic if someone has a dog sleeping on them or you spill some wine. We even made custom dog crates.

“We love anything that is washable. We do a lot of washable throws in our knit design that you can throw away in the wash and feel comfortable snuggling up to your pet. It’s not just dry cleaning. Wool is a very good material. A wool rug is easy to clean and antimicrobial. If you buy a 100% wool carpet, you can put anything on it, take it to the carpet cleaner and they can wash it with shampoo and water and take it all out. Now, many fabrics have built-in performance solutions like crypton to use for pillows. And the faux suede is a super durable fabric for the sofa.

Gentry loves using perennial fabrics with fiber technology and dyed acrylic fibers to keep sofas stain free.

Courtesy of Caroline Gentry

– Carolina V. Gentry, Principal Interior Designer and Co-Owner of Pulp Design Studios in Dallas and Seattle

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Designate pet friendly areas with a design

“Natural fibers still work, especially wool, which is inherently water, stain and fire resistant. But this new generation of high-performance fabrics makes real pets living inside and outside and suitable for the family. We suggest that you target furniture that you know will be used the most and cover it with a new generation performance material for that extra layer of protection. Getting rid of, playing, eating treats and wet faces from cold drinks always end up on our furniture, no matter what training we have in place. Wiping ability and stain removal are the keys to success. Great Plains by Holly Hunt and Perennials by David Sutherland are go-to sources for performance materials. A little extra protection is to bring in Fiber Seal and apply a protector to the fabrics to make them easier to clean if stained.

“We love convenience too, and in my kitchen I had my contractor dig some space in the adjacent cupboard to create a food drawer for. [my dog] Cookie bowls. They tidy up easily when guests come and keep the area cool and clean. It’s a great solution for hiding your bowls, and just above is her closet filled with her leash, bones, toys, and food. Everything Biscuit needs is in one place and easily accessible.

Wilkinson is a fan of the built-in drawer for pet food to store in your kitchen or living room.

Courtesy of Kendall Wilkinson Design

– Kendall Wilkinson, designer at Kendall Wilkinson Design, San Francisco

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Camouflage is the key

“I have two dogs now. I have a brown sofa and I still have the dogs on one of the cushions. I bought a chocolate colored towel from The Company Store, they have hundreds of colors. It’s very tight in the cushion, so it looks like it’s a blurry accent and everyone is like, “wait, what is this? It blends in, you don’t see it right away, it saves my dear sofa and it doesn’t look terrible.

“I also have two large wicker baskets next to each other. I put all the toys there. One is low enough for them [the dogs] to grab toys from the inside, and you don’t see the toys immediately. It is a great solution to make toys disappear. Then I made this Navajo rug into a big pillow to rest on the floor in front of my fireplace and make it look like someone can sit in front of the fire, but it’s really for my dogs, but you would never know.

Darryl repurposed a Navajo rug and made it into a stylish pillow that doubles as a bed for her dog.

Courtesy of Ashley Darryl

– Ashley Darryl, interior designer at Ashley Darryl Interiors, New York City


Anti-chewing furniture with easy access

“I adopted my dog, Coco, when she was four or five, so she was in the puppy stage but still needed to get to know her new home and had accidents. If you have a young puppy, you may have to go through a chewing stage. Rather than furniture with wooden legs, you can opt for furniture with a metal frame. This will help curb your puppy’s desire to chew.

“As someone who enjoys vintage, antiques, and pieces that tell a story, I think naturally tanned leather is a great option for pets. It’s not a good option for Type A personalities who want perfection, but like an incredible leather handbag, a sofa can also age beautifully. We have a cognac colored leather sofa that has seen more than a few mishaps and scratching sessions to make it comfortable, and it looks rich and warm and beautiful in the space. It is also very easy to vacuum all dog hair.

“For animals who have trouble jumping as they get older, you’ll want to invest in solutions that make jumping on the couch and bed a bit easier. At one point I had pet stairs for little Coco, but they were such an eyesore and I regularly hit my toe on them. Two key things I’ve learned that make a puppy’s jump easier are traction and shorter jumps. For my bed and sofa, we added a low ottoman to allow for an easy path. Rugs can also help create traction, making Coco feel more stable and secure as she pops up.

– Alessandra Wood, VP of Style at Modsy, San Francisco

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