If you're the kind of home dweller who likes everything to be just so, with the perfect color scheme, accessories, paint techniques, cozy blankets, and all the best amenities, you might not love the idea of a dog crashing your chic abode. You don't, however, have to choose between your beloved dog and your ideal home style.
Tiffany Leigh Piotrowski of Tiffany Leigh Design says that being a dog owner means you need to okay with some level of mess, but that doesn't mean you can't have the pet and the home you love.
"Dog ownership can do a number on the house, especially with new puppies who might get up to some mischief with chewing and accidents," she tells The Spruce Pets. "I think people need to be patient and not sweat the small stuff; nobody's home is perfect and a couple of chewed pillows can always be replaced. Be patient, set boundaries, and keep working on training. It does get better over time. That said, you can have a beautiful sofa that is hidden under a blanket when no one is around. You likely will have dog toys scattered about. I think the love of a good dog is worth the trade!"
Here are some suggestions for how you can achieve your dream home—and keep your dog comfy and happy.
Choose a Subtle Dog Bed and Toys
Piotrowski suggests a bed that doesn't stand out too much. Find a pattern, such as stripes, with a neutral tan, light red, or blue design that might not clash with the rest of your decor. You could also go with a plain bed in a color that matches the rest of your decor. If you like to switch up your color palette, it might be best to go with a dark blue, tan, or brown bed that would go with whatever paint colors you have on your walls or the fabric for your couch cushions.
Designer Shaolin Low of Studio Shaolin says dog owners won't have a hard time finding a chic dog bed option if that's what they're after. Low says she personally prefers an acrylic bed with a simple cushion because they blend in and are easy to clean.
Piotrowski adds that dog toys that come in neutral colors will match the rest of the house. If you use a subscription box, you could end up with a lot of fun, bright toys for your pup, but those toys could be the ones you want to keep in the closet when friends come over. Neutral toy colors might not stand out quite as much against your personal aesthetic.
Then again, dogs have their favorite toys. If your pup loves a neon green ball, you don't want to deny him or her an entertaining playtime accessory. Instead of packing toys away to be forgotten, you could use another of Piotrowski's suggestions: Get a toy box that has a lid, so its contents stay hidden but all of your dog's favorite things stay in one place.
Be Picky With Your Couch Fabrics
Not everyone has the "dogs can't sit on the couch" rule, and for good reason: It's nice to cozy up to your furry friend while you take in a Netflix binge watch. You also shouldn't have to choose your couch based on what works best for your dog, but if your biggest concern is that you'd like to keep the couch looking as if a dog doesn't sit on it, Low suggested some easy fixes:
"Definitely stay away from polyester blend sofa as they tend to pill and will pill even faster with dog claws jumping off and on them," she says. "Chenille fabrics are the best for pets for that reason."
In addition to picking the right fabric, Low advises that some simple gadgets and actions will help as well: "A robot vacuum is always a must to pick up the hair that falls on the floor, vacuuming your upholstery once a week with a pet attachment is always a great way to keep your pieces looking fresh and then brushing your dog outside to get all the extra hair off will help reduce shedding in the house."
Again, if you have a couch fabric that isn't the most compatible with your dog, there's still a way to keep it from pilling or catching hair:
"I always advise clients with dogs to keep a blanket on the sofa that's easy to toss in the wash!," she said, adding that a robot-vacuum is also the ticket to a clean, hair-free couch.
Have an Area That Belongs Just to Your Dog
Just like you might keep your kids' toys on a shelf or in a corner of their bedroom, you also likely wouldn't have your dogs' things sitting out around the living room. It's a good idea to keep your dog's toy basket, bed, and any other major accessories in a corner where it won't get in the way of guests or take over the look of the whole room.
The same goes for dog beds or anything else they use when they sleep. Most people don't have space to give the dog his or her own room, but sectioning off part of the living room or office for a dog bed works well. This way, you can tuck the bed into a space where it doesn't get in the way of anyone's footpath.
Your dog, as dogs tend to do, might get underfoot, but your dog's squeaky toys shouldn't.
You also might not want to share your shower or bath with your dog and keep the place where you get clean, well, clean and free of mud, dog hair, or anything else your pup might bring in from your backyard or the street. If you have the space and budget for it, Piotrowski recommends giving your dog a space for their own shower in the laundry room or mudroom. Her company recently designed the below shower on a project.
A shower or bath keeps your dog relatively clean, but there's always the risk of stains. Low added that pet owners can do everything they can to avoid non-dog friendly fabrics or white interiors. At the end of the day, though, dogs are part of your household, and it's not a big problem if visitors see traces of them around the home.
"I know for me, our dog is like family, she’s on all of our upholstery and uses the home just as we do," Low said. "So I embrace the fact that our sofas will always have a little bit of her on them and I’m okay with that too. I select rugs that are pet friendly/easy to clean and call it a day. The joy of having a dog outweighs any inconvenience there is in cleaning up after them."