Since our new puppy Tucker entered our lives, we’ve had to make some adjustments to our main living areas, at least until his chewing phase has passed and he’s fully house trained. It got me thinking about all of our wonderful clients who share their spaces with their four-legged family members and how we’ve made design decisions for their homes that make their spaces comfortable for everyone. Read on for tips and ideas for designing with and around our four-legged friends.

Above: Our four-legged family members: Chi Chi and Tucker

Use stain-resistant, durable, nail-friendly fabrics – When selecting fabrics for your upholstery, consider those that are stain resistant and highly durable. Crypton® is a nearly indestructible synthetic fiber that is resistant to stains, smells and bacteria. It comes in many great colors, textures and finishes so it can be very chic as well.

Leather is a great choice for pets as well, as it is easy to clean and very strong. Good quality ultrasuede is machine washable and has a great feel.

Select stain-resistant or scratch-resistant flooring – If you are selecting hardwood floors, go with a hickory or oak and avoid softer woods like maple and walnut.

Medium stain colors hide stains and dirt better than darker colors. Tile is a fantastic option for families with pets as it is very durable and easy to clean. If tiling an entire area is not possible, consider tiling entryways and outside doorways to catch muddy paw prints before they get to your carpeting. If possible, avoid carpeting. If it cannot be avoided, low pile, good quality wool carpeting is best.

Set up a fun and funky space that’s just for them – You could spend hours on looking at amazing designs for pet beds, pet showers, pet eating areas, etc. Why not get creative and design functional and attractive spaces that are specifically for your four-legged friends? Built-in dog beds and crates, integrated food bowls and pet supply storage are only a few of the millions of ways you can get creative with your pet’s hangout area. As always, consider function foremost before undergoing any new projects to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

Match colors to your pet’s fur – Not only can your pet act as a source of color inspiration, considering their fur color when making design choices can help keep their shed fur from being so visible.

Use closed storage whenever possible – This is particularly important for younger pets and those with anxiety issues who like to chew. The less that’s available for them to get their sharp little teeth on, the less likely they are to chew up your things. Of course, make sure to leave toys and treats available for them that they are allowed to chew on.