How to Design a Pet-Friendly Living Room
Help your pets feel at home in your living area with thoughtful play zones and stylish accessories
With their playful demeanour and adorable quirks, our pets have been close companions since time immemorial. But ask any pet owner, and chances are, you’ll hear stories of precious furniture being chewed on or scratched by their furry roommates.
As our four-legged friends are essentially part of the family, there’s good reason to consider home design ideas that can better accommodate their living habits and needs. A pet-friendly haven starts with the right choice of furniture, made with materials that can withstand wear and tear.
According to Jeremy Tay, director of Prestige Global Designs, corduroy, velvet and other delicate materials should be avoided. He suggests dark leather and smooth synthetics to facilitate the removal of fur, and to pick upholstery textiles that are stain-resistant and waterrepellent so spills and slobber can be washed with just water and soap.
Winnie Heimgartner-Wong, managing director of upholstery purveyor Cetec, agrees. “Avoid using loose or fluffy woven fabrics as these will entice cats to play with them,” she says. “Steer clear of fabrics with natural fibres such as wool and linen, which will absorb stains easily but are hard to remove or clean up.”
To prevent furniture from being knocked over by your pets, Tay suggests choosing items with good weight and stability. “Avoid coffee tables with a thin glass top, which might shatter if your pet jumps on it,” he adds.
Another great way to prevent pets from chewing on shoes and furniture is to ensure that they have enough mental stimulation and play. To keep their destructive tendencies at bay, Kate Deng, co-founder and interior designer at Mr Shopper Studio, suggests that climbing shelves and scratch panels made of sisal or jute rope be installed for felines.
“A designated climbing wall for cats (pictured above) can be a great way to create a stimulating activity for felines and let owners watch them at play,” she adds.
Even though most pets would have been toilet trained, unpleasant odours can be further minimised with regular cleaning and the use of an air purifier or air filter. “A good vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter is also useful in keeping the place clean and allergen-free,” says Tay.
If space permits, a stylish play zone for pets in the living room can both accentuate the home decor and keep them well-occupied. He adds: “Consider including a pet bed and having their toys stored inside a basket or a box when not needed to keep the area neat.”
Meanwhile, owners can create pet-friendly spots that meld seamlessly with the home. “A nice rug could be the perfect spot for a sleeping hound,” notes Jennifer Soh, general manager for sales and marketing at Space Furniture. “So is a coffee table to hide under, or an outdoor sofa to lounge on and bask in the sun.”
Ultimately, a house is not a home without being welcoming to all its inhabitants. “A luxury home can accommodate pets; homeowners invested in their animals can integrate them easily into their environment,” shares Soh. “It is up to the homeowner to make the choice—I personally love cuddling my dog on my sofa. It’s really more about choosing the right material for furniture; pets can also be trained not to climb on sofas or armchairs if that’s a concern.”
This stylish dog bed will fit right in with your modern interior. Crafted with durable bent plywood, the raised rear of the MiaCara Covo dog bed by Uta Cossmann provides a snug space for your dog to lounge on. A special foam cushion offers support for your dog’s spine, and the durable fabric cover is easily removable and washable.
Available at Danish Design Co
Enjoy a clutterfree home with this multifunctional toy basket. The MiaCara Cesto storage container by Hans Thyge & Co is available in various understated hues that’ll work perfectly in any space. Even better, these environmentally friendly baskets are moulded from felt fibres that are mostly made of recycled PET bottles.
Available at Danish Design Co
Eat in Style
Inspired by the French maison’s Chaîne d’Ancre motif, this dog bowl from Hermès boasts exquisite craftsmanship. The oak wood exterior was created using traditional barrel-making techniques. The stainless-steel bowls are held together by magnets; they can be separated and removed from their wooden frames for easy cleaning.
Available at Hermès
Owners looking to take their felines’ playtime up a notch can check out the Hide and Seek coffee table crafted by local firm Fraction Design Studio. Holes at the top and the base of the table encourage curious cats to climb in and out of a rattan cage in the middle, which can function as a nook for the animals to nestle in or a stash for pet accessories.
Available at fraction.sg
Made in the UK, this faux-fur dog blanket from Charley Chau conveys the cosy snugness of luxury throws; the 100 per cent polyester blanket is also machine washable. Its neutral tone makes it a perfect fit for most interiors schemes, too. Dress your pet’s dog bed with it or drape it over your sofa for a plush touch to your living room.
Available from charleychau.com
Opt for upholstery textiles that can be easily cleaned. The ADO Smart Clean fabric collections from German upholstery brand ADO Goldkante feature stain-resistant properties that facilitate the removal of blemishes with water and a little pH-neutral soap.
Available at Cetec
This contemporary feeding kit from lifestyle pet brand Boo Oh contains all the feeding essentials you’d possibly need. The sleek Mogo feeding kit includes two bowls, a scooper, spatula and tray in light or dark grey, fusing a minimalist aesthetic with maximum functionality.
Available from boo-oh.com
As art often imitates life in the design world, consider the Serralunga Pulcino by Eero Aarnio. These quirky accessories take on bird-like shapes and can function as toys for children and pets alike.
Available at Space Furniture
Time in the Sun
Hard-wearing outdoor furniture is a perennial favourite among homeowners with pets. Top picks include the Ribes outdoor collection designed by Antonio Citterio for B&B Italia. Comprising sofas, chaise longues and ottomans, the range features a striped upholstery options inspired by South America, matched with an aluminium frame painted in anthracite, sage or clay.
Available at Space Furniture