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Pet-Friendly Furniture Shopping Tips

Black puppy standing in front of chair

Ask Pascal Adcock, a key member of Copenhagen’s Customer Service & Repair team, about his pets, and he’d be delighted to tell you about them. “I have three dogs,” he says. “Marley is a 14-year-old white lab and a retired diving dog who we’ve nicknamed ‘the old broad.’ Charley is a one-eyed poodle mix who doesn’t do much except bark at the wind. Finally, there’s Roxy, our black lab rescue who is madly in love with the pool and is learning to dive deep.”

Pets provide joy and companionship for many – but for those of us who love our furniture too, it may be a struggle to find a balance between happy pets and well-kept furniture. As a furniture care expert, Pascal Adcock has helped countless clients, many of them pet parents, to troubleshoot furniture issues and keep their Copenhagen products looking and functioning their best.

“For people with pets, one of the biggest issues is keeping pets off the furniture,” Adcock says. “The problem with pets on furniture is their saliva, the oil from their fur, and of course, their nails. With the right cleaning, oil and saliva can be removed, but scratches from pet claws are unfortunately permanent.”

Though many in the furniture business agree that there is no furniture that is 100% pet-proof in all situations and for all pets, there are choices pet owners can make to ensure that their furniture lasts longer, looks better, and is friendlier for pets. Whether you’re shopping for new pieces or just want to make some tweaks to your existing spaces, here are Adcock and Copenhagen’s top tips for creating animal-friendly interiors.

Pet-friendly materials

When it comes to upholstery, durable, stain-resistant, and easy-to-clean materials are a must. “I highly recommend protected leather for any pets,” Adcock says. This type of leather combines the luxury and style that leather is known for with an extra topcoat that helps it resist damage and wear. Try an ergonomic, well-loved Stressless® recliner like the Consul in Batick protected leather, or a stunning contemporary sectional like the Bari in Giotto protected leather.

Another reason Adcock recommends leather is its ease of care. “Protected leather is easily cleaned with a damp rag, mild hand soap on a damp rag, or with our Copenhagen leather cleaner and conditioner,” he explains. “I’ve had a leather sectional for 12 years and it still looks great. Once a week, I wipe it down with a damp cloth, which only takes about 90 seconds. Once a month, I do a deeper clean with hand soap, and every three months I’ll use leather cleaner and conditioner.” For more information on keeping your leather looking great – even with pets – visit our leather care page.

According to Adcock, fabric is generally a less ideal choice than leather for pet owners – “It’s a bit more difficult to clean and it absorbs more oils from the animal. Cats also like to claw at it.” However, if you prefer fabric over leather, choose a performance fabric for an option that’s longer lasting, more resistant to messes, and simpler to clean. If you have cats, you may also want to consider microfiber or another fabric with thin, closely-knit fibers, which are harder for claws to catch in. Copenhagen offers the Julia Sectional with wide, comfortable seats and LiveSmart fabric upholstery that allows each fiber to repel spills before they become stains. The Aaron Sofa also features stain-resistant Safeguard fabric, as well as a chic, retro-inspired design that makes it both smart and stylish.

Another factor to consider is color. It may help to choose upholstery that is similar to your pet’s coat color so shed hairs don’t stand out as much. If you have multiple pets, a medium or darker grey – like that of the Marco Sofa – makes a solid choice. However, that doesn’t mean all your furniture has to be monotone. You could also consider upholstery or rugs with livelier, multicolored patterns that help make residual stains less noticeable. For instance, the Spectrum Linear Rug not only sports a fun striped design, but its low pile also prevents debris or animal claws from getting trapped in the rug.

Finally, gravitate toward seating with flat cushions as opposed to lots of tufts, buttons, or highly textured designs — it’s easier to remove shed hair or other messes from a uniform surface.

Pet-friendly furniture design

Besides robust upholstery, there are other elements you can look for in furniture to make your home as stress-free as possible for both you and your animal companions. For instance, dining, coffee, or side tables with rounded corners and edges – like the mid-century-inspired Aristo Dining Table – are less painful to run into than those with sharp angles during a rousing game of fetch. Tables with four legs or a wide, solid base – like the Liam Coffee Table – are a sturdier choice than tables with a thin pedestal base, especially if a cat jumps onto the edge. Also keep in mind that some dogs, especially puppies, may chew on the wooden legs of furniture because they resemble sticks. For this reason, metal legs on furniture may be a better investment, depending on your pet.

The safety of your pets and valued possessions are crucial to keep in mind when shopping for furniture. Look for shelving systems and dressers with sturdy construction, especially those that can be anchored to the wall in case a cat jumps on a shelf or into an open drawer. BDI offers the smartly designed Linq 5-Drawer Dresser that comes with safety hardware for attaching the unit to your wall. If you have delicate vases, art objects, or other keepsakes, it’s a good idea to place them in a display cabinet instead of leaving them out in the open where they may be knocked over. Try the Nils Cabinet in natural walnut wood, or the Bella Grigio Curio Cabinet with a high-gloss grey finish.

When shopping for pet-friendly desks and media cabinets, a good wire management system is critical if your pet has the tendency to chew on wires. BDI’s Sequel 20 Desk is one of many in their collection that allows you to organize and conceal your cables to keep them away from curious pets.

Pet owners may also find multifunctional pieces with storage capacity helpful. A storage ottoman like the Jazz or a lift-top coffee table like the Cloud 9 can help keep pet toys out of the way, yet still easily accessible.

Pet-friendly styling and interior design

Finally, there are ways you can style furniture or arrange various elements in your interior to improve both you and your pets’ experience of being in your space. For instance, try accenting a sofa, chair, or bed with a washable throw blanket for an extra layer of softness between your furniture and your furry friend. A queen or king-size water-resistant blanket can also give you some peace of mind and protect a larger surface area from accidents or pet saliva. Pascal Adcock recommends throw pillows as a subtle way to keep pets off furniture. “You can deter your pet from sleeping on your sofa by having pillows spread out on the seats,” he advises. “Ideally the pillows would be light colored, since darker pillows might transfer color onto leather or fabric.”

“In a perfect world,” Adcock continues, “your pet should sleep in a pet bed instead of on your sofa. That’s why it’s important to find a comfortable and durable pet bed that stays cool in the summer.” It’s also a good idea to have multiple pet beds throughout your house so your animal companions can have a spot to rest that’s not on your furniture, no matter which room they’re in. For cats, don’t forget to keep scratching posts next to sofas, chairs, or cabinets so they don’t scratch your furniture – or if they do, you can easily redirect them to the scratcher.

Also think about placing food and water bowls, as well as litter boxes, in quiet, low-traffic areas so your pets can fulfill their basic needs in a stress-free environment. If you have a smaller space, consider repurposing a low drawer as a pull-out feeding station, or removing the door from a low cabinet and situating a pet bed or litterbox inside.

Adcock offers this final word of advice for pet-friendly interiors: “Make a cozy safe space for your pets. An open-door kennel with a blanket over it is a nice shelter during times of stress. Monsoons and fireworks can really disturb our little friends. Providing a safe space will not only comfort your pet but will also comfort you, knowing they have a secure place to go when you’re not home.”

Having animal companions can be one of life’s most enriching experiences – even if it’s not perfectly stress-free. By keeping our pets in mind when buying furniture or designing our interiors, our homes can become more harmonious for both two-legged and four-legged inhabitants. With many of Copenhagen’s associates and technicians, like Pascal Adcock, being pet parents themselves, Copenhagen is here to help all clients with a love of both animals and fine furniture.