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7 Smart Home Design Tips for Living with Pets

COVER - two dogs on green sofa gold frame simply home decorating design for homes with pets north vancouver

In my opinion, life is better with pets. Whether it’s your puppy playfully romping through the grass or your sweet cat curling up in your lap, their uninhibited lifestyles and wholehearted affection enhance our lives in the best possible way. 

Your home, however, may not feel  “enhanced” when pets are in the vicinity. I was reminded of this sobering fact recently, when my family brought home our newest addition, an Aussiedoodle puppy named Harley (above left).

Although it’s true that many of our clients’ homes are designed to endure pets, as Hurricane Harley came through, I quickly realized that it had been a while since I had experienced the ups and downs of puppyhood myself! Or the puddles. Our older Labradoodle, Kiwi, was less than impressed, too.

simply home decorating north vancouver design for homes with pets aussiedoodle puppy labradoodleWith these memories fresh at hand, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to explore several ways you can protect your home with pets in residence. 

1. Roll Up Area Carpets

Not only will this give your pet plenty of open space to play and run around, but it will also protect your rugs from accidents. It may not feel like it during those first few weeks, but I promise that potty training will not last forever! Your carpets can be safely rolled back out after your puppy or kitten has mastered this skill.

simply-home-decorating-deep-cove-bc-interior-design-performance-upholstery-fabric-pets-livableThe fabric and flooring in the Lynn Valley Modern Home were chosen specifically with pets in mind.

2. Block Off Areas with Baby Gates & Doors

Like curious toddlers, pets tend to get into everything! If you’re worried about your puppy chewing through wires in your home-office, or your kitten scratching your cherished heirloom chair, a baby gate is a simple way to corral them into a designated, safe area.

Another easy way to limit your pet’s roaming space is to simply close doors to rooms containing tempting items. For example, one of my dogs likes to eat toilet paper off the rolls (I can see the appeal) and will pick up stray socks on floors. Safe to say, bedrooms and bathrooms are off-limits without supervision at my house.

3. Choose Durable Flooring

Both high quality laminate flooring and luxury vinyl plank flooring (LVP) are excellent choices that offer water resistance and scratch resilience — both important factors to consider with pets. Tile can also be a practical choice in some spaces. 

interior-design-upper-lonsdale-bc-pet-friendly-flooring-livableIn the Lynn Valley Modern Home, we chose LVP for the living areas and kitchen and tile for the bathrooms. 

4. Opt for Performance Fabrics & Fabric Treatments

Choosing durable fabrics for upholstery, like Sunbrella or other indoor/outdoor fabrics, will make cleaning pet fur, dirty paw prints, accidents, and other messes a breeze. Upholstery can be protected even further by using eco-friendly and non-toxic fabric treatments that provide an additional barrier against soiling. 

In our Lions Bay Post and Beam Home (below), we kept our clients’ cat in mind when choosing scratch-resistant fabrics for all upholstery. We were also careful to avoid loop or bouclé fabrics that could easily be pulled and damaged by the cats’ claws.

simply-home-decorating-blueridge-bc-interior-design-performance-upholstery-fabric-pets-classic5. Protect Furniture with Throw Blankets

Whether you opt for performance fabrics or not, you can add an extra layer of protection to your furniture with throw blankets. These have the added benefits of being easily washable and quickly removable for your next book club meeting or dinner with friends. 

6. Create Designated Pet Spaces

While training young pets, you will likely discover that they need spaces of their own, like pet beds. Creating these spaces will also encourage your new companions to curl up in their own designated cozy spots (like the one I created for Kiwi and Harley below) rather than on your sofa or bed.

aussiedoodle and labradoodle on pet sofa simply home decorating interior design families with pets

7. Plan Ahead for the Older Years

Last but not least, it’s important to remember that pets won’t just wreak havoc on a home in their youthful years. As your pets age, new challenges will arise, especially later in life. Senior dogs may experience incontinence, and carpets may need to be rolled back up at that point. 

As dogs become older and weaker, they may slide and fall on slippery floors, resulting in hip injuries or torn ligaments. To protect their aging bodies, carpet runners on stairs can make it easier for them to go up and down. In these cases, since your nice carpets will be rolled up but you won’t want your floors bare, bringing in some low-investment or performance rugs will serve you well in this phase.

simply home decorating home design for pets petfriendly north vancouver walking dogs outsideLook how big Harley is now! At 7 months old, I can’t call him “mature” just yet, but I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to touch up some of those chewed baseboards and roll our carpets back out soon. In any case, the inconvenience has been absolutely worth it, and we can’t imagine our lives without him. Our family feels complete.

If you’re looking for support with your next home project, with or without pets in mind, we’d love to help. Reach out to us here and let’s discuss your project.

Until next time,



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