Having kiddos…with two legs and/or four, just adds to your desire to live in a beautiful home.  A gorgeous home is the perfect backdrop to enjoy, love on and take photos of them all.  But to enjoy your home with them living there too, you have to be able to relax.  How can that happen?  A martini?  Why yes!  But also with a solid interior design plan.


  • Bare floors such as wood and tile don’t hold onto pet hair, odors and accidents which make them excellent to clean.  They are forgiving to messes and allow for easy cleanup.  If you live in a warmer region, they also allow your pets to stay cool. However stone, cement and tile grout are very porous and must be sealed properly with a quality sealer…and not just upon installation.  If an area gets a lot of traffic, it should be sealed regularly.  I also recommend using dark grouts.
  • With older pets, such wood, tile or stone floors create a slippery surface.  You may need rugs (be sure all rugs have thick, quality pads under them to prevent “doggie dancing” and/or “kitty surfing” and sliding around).
  • Do watch the rugs with the rubber backing attached (such as bath mats) as cats think it is an invitation to do their business.
  • Carpet, even with it’s downsides, is great as it helps with traction for older pets and general joint and body comfort (for humans, too!)  Plan on having it cleaned regularly.
  • Solution dyed carpets allow clean up with a light bleach solution.  They are not as luxurious or environmentally friendly, but clean differently.
  • Carpet tiles?  Get a bad stain or mess, replace them!
  • Choose wool!  While warm and environmentally friendly, it actually releases stains better that synthetic fibers.
  • My wool rug suppliers have always raved to simply take your wool rug outside and hose it! Really!  Washing instructions





Window Treatments/Furniture Fabrics:

  • If your little ones have messy feet or muzzles, maybe no drapes in those areas would make your life easier.  This may be particularly true in the kitchen.  Some drapery styles let the fabric “pool” on the floor which can be fun place to sleep, hide or store toys!
  • Fabrics that “match” your pet can forgive hair visually.  But if you are like me, my cat is light and my dog is dark!  What to do?  Pattern.
  • Tight weaves create a smoother surface on fabrics and are slick so fur has trouble sticking.  Exterior or even commercial grade fabrics are so well made now, they could even be the right choice for a highly used area.  Sunbrella
  • Leather and faux leathers also do not hold hair and can forgive food better than some fabrics (grease or certain colors can leave stains as the surface is porous).  Keep in mind also that claws, toys, belts and shoes can scratch them.  Some of the “bomber jacket” leathers today already have a great worn look and can easily camouflage new wear while adding to the character of the piece.  If your dog likes to chew raw hides, make sure leather is off his list!
  • Chenilles, velvets or any fabric with a pile will hold hair like a magnet so steer clear.
  • Keep these fabic tips in mind when selecting bedding or…
  • Get your pets their own bed in a beautiful fabric that compliments your decor.  Be sure it’s core offers support with a firm interior polyurethane cushion (one of the features that makes sofas so attractive) so the warmth, support and comfort is there.  Our pets are just like us and also want to sleep on a cloud!



A small, beautiful chair just for her so she feels special and comfortable.

A small, beautiful chair just for her so she feels special and comfortable.


Try First:

While visiting a childhood friend a few years before having children myself, I noticed she had a small table with delicate wine glasses displayed at child level!  I was amazed as she had three boys.  I asked her how they have remained unbroken all of these years.  My friend said,  “The kids just know not to touch them.”  Is that not the most fantastic answer?

  • From her example, I learned a few little rules can make a big difference.  My children may have water and dry Cheerios outside of the kitchen and that is all.  It is simple and easy to follow.  However, my dog Andre, completely ignores this rule…and anyone speaking to him.
  • Provide good chew toys for your pups but…
  • Don’t confuse your pets either.  I’ve had clients frustrated when their dog chewed the fringe on the end of their wool and silk rug, yet they had a string-knotted bone as their dog’s chew toy.  Another client’s dog went to town on a lovely little pillow, when his chew toy was a stuffed bunny in a similar fabric.  Consider your pets point of view!

Extras To Keep Fabrics Cleaner:

  • Don’t forget regular brushing and grooming for the animals.
  • Provide wipes or an easy-to-reach towel between the eating area and the doors of the kitchen to create a good habit of wiping hands when eating is done before running back to play.
  • You can have fabrics treated additionally for extra stain resistance, but know that most of the fabrics made today have already been treated as such to some degree.

One more great trick: if you want to teach your pets to stay off certain furnishings, take a plastic chair roller mat (found in office supply stores), cut it to fit and place it upside down on your furnishings.  The underside is uncomfortable enough to discourage pets from getting onto designated surfaces, but not damaging to sweet little paws.

Good luck and if you have any additional tips to save sanity for Mom’s and Dad’s, please leave your comments!

-jill  (Mom of 2 two-legged kids and 2 four-legged kids)

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Photos:  Jill Tran Interior Design and Co.

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