Pamper the pets when designing the perfect interior

August 11, 2009

By David Hayes

A pet’s color scheme can actually play into a room’s overall design, as well as its fur, be it long haired or short. ARA Content

A pet’s color scheme can actually play into a room’s overall design, as well as its fur, be it long haired or short. ARA Content

For most people, a lot of thought goes into designing the perfect home with just the right amount of creature comforts. What can get overlooked in the process are the comforts of four-legged creatures, namely pets.

According to the American Pet Products Association, 63 percent of all households in the United States have a pet, and of those, dogs and cats make up 82 percent of all pets.

So when finding cost-effective ways to re-design the interior of your home, don’t forget to keep in mind the effect the design will have on the family pet. From furniture and flooring to paint and accessories, everything can have its place to accommodate Fido and Fluffy.Flooring

When designing the interior of a home, the first area to keep in mind, whether they’ve got two legs or four is, what shall everyone walk on? Whether you’re installing carpeting or hardwood floors, there are materials more suited for the wear and tear of feet attached to claws.

Mike Bean, owner of the Sammamish Abbey Carpet Store, said what’s installed can be as varied as what will be running around on the floor, be it a Great Dane or a chihuahua.

If you’re going with wood floors, many homeowners with pets gravitate toward laminate flooring because they’re more durable and resistant to scratches and indentations. Plus they’re easier, faster and cheaper to install.

But Bean warns laminate flooring is not the end-all solution.

“It has other issues of its own and its own set of challenges,” he said.

For example, laminate is more susceptible to moisture and the edges curling up, Bean said.

“If I had a medium sized dog, I wouldn’t hesitate to go with real wood floors,” Bean said.

A popular product being installed in many homes is the Brazilian cherry. The reddish-orange wood is very hard — two-and-a-half times more so than oak — Bean said. A cheaper option that’s 20 percent harder than oak is the North American maple.

For those wishing to stick with carpet, Bean said most new soft-surface carpet is pet friendly. It’s less porous, preventing wetness from seeping through to the cushion.

“And stain resistance is built into the better carpets,” he added.

The latest trend is Tactesse nylon carpet that is a stronger and softer nylon that is also stain resistant.


Choosing the right furniture for a pet-friendly home can be as complicated as matching and contrasting Fido’s color scheme. But if you just want a durable couch to withstand Fluffy’s comfort, Frank Smith, owner of Issaquah Furniture, recommends a simple covering that is also pleasing to the eye — microfiber.

“Microfiber is a tightly woven fabric that has the look of suede, rayon or even silk,” Smith said. “It’s easily cleanable and doesn’t snag on pets’ claws.”

A higher end product is Crypton, a synthetic textile that is also easy to clean and is highly resistant to stains, water and bacteria.

Fabrics like denim, flannel, corduroy and velvet all have a tendency to hold pet fur. So keep plenty of lint rollers handy if you have any of those fabric coverings.

As for durable construction, Smith recommends furniture made from oak or parawood — a latex, rubber tree product that is very hard, durable and growing in fashion.

Smith said if you have your mind set on a leather surface, like a good pair of shoes, it will wear out. It’s susceptible to scratches and other marks left by claws.


When it comes to sprucing up the walls, Brent Cambell, owner of Saddler Paints in Sammamish, said your four-legged family members are just as vulnerable to the potential hazards of paint as the rest of your family.

He points to many brands having “green” or environmentally friendly lines.

“These have a low to no VOC level, or volatile organic compound,” Cambell said. “It measures the toxicity of paint smell. Pets can be just as allergic to that paint smell as humans.”

Cambell said they’ve used their brand of low VOC paint recently in a local hospital and neither the staff nor patients could tell the walls had been painted.

Other products on the market actually feature an Arm & Hammer, odor-eliminating technology that actually removes odors, including pet smells, from the air.

So with a little research, developing a decorating plan for a home befitting the entire family, including those with four legs, can be easy and affordable.

Reach reporter David Hayes at 392-6434, ext. 237, or Comment on this story at

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2 Responses to “Pamper the pets when designing the perfect interior”

  1. Terry on August 12th, 2009 9:51 am

    We have pets and we decided to go with Quick-Step laminate flooring because of their ease of installation, and their ability to protect from scratches and dents. They also have good resistance to moisture than most laminates. You still have to wipe up any pet urine or water spots right away, but as long as you do this you will definitely be happy with your floors!

  2. Terry on August 12th, 2009 9:52 am

    If you are interested in checking them out online, I just located their website at

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