Our Houston Interior Designers Share How to Balance Durability and Style

For all of you pet lovers out there, we know how deep your bond is with your furry friends! Many of our clients seem to prioritize the needs of their pets over their own (hey, we get it). It’s humorous and heartwarming, and our team loves accommodating these requests. 

Pet Friendly Home Design

Designing interiors that accommodate pets’ needs while still reflecting your style is an art. The key lies in balancing durability and style—emphasis on durability. This blog post will delve into practical tips and creative ideas for achieving a pet-friendly interior design that stands the test of time.

Understanding Pet-Friendly Design: What to Keep in Mind

Durability and Style

It’s no secret that all pets, whether dogs, cats, or smaller animals, will drastically expedite the wear and tear of the materials in your home. Claws scratch surfaces, fur sheds, and accidents are bound to happen. The materials and furniture you choose must withstand and outlive these potential damages.

With that in mind, designing your home with your pet’s needs front and center doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. Today’s finishes offer numerous durable and beautiful solutions, ensuring your home remains a stylish sanctuary for you and your pet.

Know Your Pet’s Needs

Different pets have different needs. Dogs may need space to run and rest, while cats might require vertical spaces to climb and explore. Understanding these needs will guide your design choices, making your home comfortable for everyone.

Flooring: The Foundation of Pet-Friendly Design

Flooring is the most obvious pain point when it comes to pet-friendly design. Your floors will bear the brunt of claws, stains, spills, and fur, so choosing the right material is essential.

Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors add a clean, elegant feel to any home. Maintaining hardwood floors in a house with pets is much easier than maintaining wall-to-wall carpeting for many obvious reasons. On top of that, hardwood floors are much easier to clean and don’t hang onto any unwanted smells, if you know what we mean. 

Though beautiful and easy to install, traditional hardwood floors can get scratched by pet claws in an instant. When designing for families with pets, we opt for harder woods like oak, hickory, or maple to provide better resistance. Sealing the floors with a high-quality finish adds an extra layer of protection. As a finishing touch, we love to lay down some area rugs to add texture and color to the space.

Tile and Stone

Tile and stone are incredibly durable and scratch-resistant, making them excellent choices for homes with pets. These materials are also resistant to stains and easy to clean. 

Available in numerous styles, colors, and patterns, tile and stone can complement any interior design theme, from rustic to modern. Radiant heating can be installed underneath to warm these surfaces during colder months, adding a touch of experiential luxury to the home.

Houston Interior Designer

When designing for indoor and outdoor living, your tile design can be extended to your outdoor entertaining areas. We love to bring the fun of our interior designs to outdoor entertaining spaces, allowing our clients to maximize their living space in style. 

Furniture: Combining Comfort, Style, and Practicality

We are a “pets on the furniture” kind of group. Just like carpets, our beloved pets can quickly damage the fabrics and materials of our furniture. Choosing pet-friendly furniture involves considering the fabric, structure, and overall design. Furniture should withstand different types of pet activity and be easy to clean.

Pet Friendly Interior Design

Upholstery Choices

Materials like leather, microfiber, and canvas are excellent choices for pet-friendly homes, and we tend to stick to this core group of materials when designing for durability. Leather is exceptionally durable and easy to clean, while microfiber resists stains and is less likely to trap pet hair. Canvas covers can be easily removed and washed. 

It’s important to note that just because these materials are durable doesn’t mean that they require you to compromise on style. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! 

Leather Upholstery - Pet Friendly Design

These materials come in various colors and textures, allowing you to match your furniture to your decor while maintaining functionality. Leather and canvas have been having a resurgence lately as retro design has been coming back into the spotlight. There’s no shortage of style with these pet-resistant materials when selecting your, or should we say your pet’s, new furniture. 

Here’s a tip: Consider furniture with built-in storage to keep pet toys and supplies neatly tucked away.

Pet-Specific Furniture

While selecting your personal furniture pieces with your pets in mind, you’re likely also thinking about pet-specific furniture items. Investing in pet-specific furniture like durable pet beds, cat trees, or scratching posts made from high-quality materials ensures longevity and can keep your pets from taking their energy out on your nice furniture.

We’ve been pleased to see the evolution of pet furniture over the past few years. Dog beds and cat scratching posts used to be such an eyesore in our clients’ homes. Recently, pet furniture brands have begun creating products for our furry friends that complement and, in some cases, emphasize the overall design. Choose pieces that match your style while providing comfort for your pet! 

Designing Pet-Friendly Spaces

Creating dedicated spaces for your pets helps contain messes and keeps the rest of your home organized. This isn’t always feasible or necessary, but for those who have the extra space, it never hurts to have some designated spots for your pets around the house. They like to know where their spots are, too.

Pet Zones

Designate specific areas for feeding, sleeping, and playing. Use durable, easy-to-clean materials such as tile or washable rugs in these zones. These spaces may also be where you keep your dog crate or cat litter box. Your designated pet zone can be a separate room or a smaller spot within the room your pet knows is reserved for them.

Cute Dog in Office

Integrate these zones into your home’s overall design. For example, a stylish feeding station can be incorporated into your kitchen decor, while a cozy pet bed can blend with your living room’s color scheme.

Entryways and Mudrooms

With or without pets in the home, our entryways and mudrooms often see the most wear and tear from high foot traffic and outdoor elements. Durable flooring, washable rugs, pet wipes, and built-in storage for leashes, toys, and cleaning supplies can keep these spaces functional and tidy.

Entryways and mudrooms can be both practical and stylish. For organization, use attractive hooks and baskets, and add decorative touches like artwork or a bench with washable cushions. 

You may even want to designate a section of your mudroom for your pet. If you have a crate, keep it in this area, or store your pet’s food and toys here to keep these not-so-clean items out of your living areas. 

Try Incorporating Pet-Friendly Accessories

Accessories add personality to your home and can be both functional and decorative! There are a vast number of new pet accessories on the market now that can be easily integrated into your home’s functionality. 

Beds and Blankets

If you plan on allowing your pet to stay on your bed (most of us do!), it’s essential to look for bedding and blankets made from durable, washable fabrics. Look for options with removable covers for easy cleaning. 

Durability and Style - Interior Design

Outside of our human beds, pet beds and blankets are available in various styles and colors, allowing you to match them with your decor. As we mentioned earlier, we’re very pleased with how design-friendly these pet items have become over the years. Customizable bed options let you choose patterns and fabrics that blend seamlessly with your interior design while still providing comfort for your beloved pets.

Feeding Stations

This is one of our favorite pet-friendly design hacks! Feeding stations can be integrated into cabinetry or designed as standalone pieces that match your kitchen decor. Stylish placemats can catch spills and add a decorative touch.

Invest in stainless steel or ceramic bowls, which are durable and easy to clean. Consider elevated feeding stations to reduce mess. Slipping your pet’s feeding station in and out like a regular drawer allows you to avoid leaving those dishes out all day, which may be an eyesore. 

Let’s admit it: We’ve all accidentally kicked one of our pet’s water dishes, resulting in water all over the floor. These feeding stations help prevent any unnecessary mess! 

Outdoor Spaces: Extending the Design

If you have outdoor space, designing pet-friendly areas can extend your living space and provide your pets with a safe, enjoyable environment. It may not be top of mind to consider the plants in your yards and gardens, but when curious pets like to taste everything, this step is crucial.

Durable Landscaping

Choose pet-friendly plants and materials for your garden. Avoid toxic plants and opt for hardy grasses or artificial turf that can withstand pet activity and curiosity. The best part of designing outdoor spaces is to create a sanctuary of greenery, flowers, and functional areas for all to enjoy. 

Garden Houston Interior Design

When designing your outdoor gardens, think of your pets, too! Will they potentially snack on your tall grass? Could they lose toys or balls in your brand-new garden? Or worse, will they dig a hole in your fresh soil? If you answered yes to any of those questions (especially #3), maybe your garden is an area of the yard that you want to keep separate from your pets. 

These are all great things to consider before putting your heart and soul into a garden that your pet might begin to think is his new designated play area. 

Maintaining Your Pet-Friendly Home

Regular maintenance is crucial to keeping any home looking its best, but with pets, it becomes increasingly necessary. Implementing a cleaning routine and addressing issues promptly will preserve your space’s durability and aesthetics.

Cleaning Tips

Start at the source! We love to use hydrating pet wipes to clean off our dogs’ paws before they bring their muddy feet into our homes. Try setting up a basket in your entryway with cleaning items like wipes to catch your pet before they bring too much dirt indoors. Eventually, they’ll learn the routine.

Use pet-safe cleaning products to maintain your home. Regularly vacuum and mop floors, wash pet bedding and blankets, and clean furniture to prevent the buildup of fur and dander. If you have a pet that doesn’t shed, these cleaning tips may be less necessary, but it’s important to remember that your pets tend to bring in outside bacteria and dirt no matter what, even if you can’t always see it! 

We recommend that you repair any damage caused to your home by your pet as soon as possible to prevent further damage. Address things like paint touch-ups, scratches, and worn-out items to keep your home feeling like your sanctuary.

Keeping your home clean enhances its overall appearance and can help declutter your mind. Invest in stylish storage solutions to keep cleaning supplies accessible yet out of sight! 

Pet-Friendly Interior Design

Designing a pet-friendly interior in today’s world requires no sacrifice. With thoughtful planning and the right choices, you can create a beautiful, durable, and comfortable home for both you and your pets. By focusing on wear-and-tear-resistant materials, stylish furniture, and practical accessories, you can achieve a balance that reflects your personal taste and meets the needs of your furry companions. 

Pet Friendly Design

We understand how much your pets mean to you! They should live the high life and enjoy the comforts of your home as much as you do (and we know they will). Let them thrive in your home without worrying about unnecessary damage.

We look forward to watching you and your pets thrive in your home. If you need some inspiration, give us a call, and we’ll help you find it. 

Owner of Pamela Hope Designs, Pamela O'Brien, smiling in blue dress

Meet Pamela, A Luxury Interior Designer in Houston

Pamela O’Brien is the founder of Pamela Hope Designs in Houston, Texas. Pamela is an award-winning luxury interior designer, writer, and speaker. Prior to founding Pamela Hope Designs, Pamela served as a spokesperson in media and public affairs, working with media outlets like Dateline NBC and 48 Hours. This experience allowed her to travel the world and furthered her love for travel, culture, and interior design. After going back to school to pursue interior design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Pamela launched her own interior design firm. Pamela is known for building strong relationships with her clients, who later become friends and collaborators. She is highly influential in the Houston interior design space and shows no signs of slowing down.

Meet the Rest of Our Houston Interior Design Team 

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