The world is divisible into two types of people, you are either a cat person or a dog person. You are rarely both and never neither. With a staggering 49% of the UK's adults owning a pet, it stands to reason that interior designers up and down the country are adapting their designs to fit around their client's bonus family members.
It’s easy to develop a love-hate relationship with pet fur. You can wait all day to come home and cuddle up next to your furry friends, but it is murder for getting off of upholstery. A great way to show your clients that you're a business willing to go the extra mile to make their house a home is to have an awareness of the best fabrics for a pet-friendly home.
Upholstery that is tougher to damage and simpler to clean is the best way for your customers to retain pride in their home and in their pets. Here we take a look at the ultimate dos and don'ts for designing upholstery tailored to the true head of the house.
Go Hell For Leather
For pet owners, this may be their lucky year. Leather might actually be cool again. Sultry tan leather certainly seems to have had a resurgence. Leathers and faux leathers are the perfect upholstery for keeping pets as they are super easy to clean.
Pet hair is easily brushed off leathers with the palm of your hand. It’s also easily wiped down with commercial cleaner to remove saliva or any other nasty surprises, an inevitable part of owning a pet.
It’s true that leather ages and pet claws can do damage through scratching. But the beautiful thing about weathered leather is that it doesn’t look bad, it forms a textured patina that can often add value to the chair.
The popularity of leather amongst pet owners may lull your customers into a false sense of security when it comes to suede. But suede is the softer alternative to leather and it is incredibly difficult to clean. It’s tough, like leather and will last a long time, but if it gets soiled the options for getting it clean are limited.
It’s also easily marked on the surface, kittens that are just about learning the difference between a sofa leg and a scratching post can do more damage to suede than a bulldozer.
If your clients aren't keen to spend a fortune on pet pedicures for their fluffy household members, it’s best to avoid high maintenance fabrics altogether. Velvet's and silks are so easily marked and snagged by claws and sometimes pets can even tear straight through.
In softer fabrics like this, the only option is to reupholster your furniture and unfortunately, these materials tend to be far more expensive to replace after your dog has taken a fancy to it.
Whilst most upholsterers, bespoke sofa manufacturers and wholesalers will offer an easy-clean velvet option, it is still not ideal for households with furry friends. Velvet is a magnet for hair and due to its weave, the hair gets stuck down into the fibres and becomes increasingly difficult to move.
Pet fur has a life of its own. Once it’s detached itself from its host body, it builds a new home for itself amongst the fibres of the furniture, burrowing so far into the upholstery it becomes damn near impossible to reach even with the most impressive of hoovers.
To keep pet hair on the surface, it's advisable to use fabrics with a tighter weave. Canvas, microfiber and some forms of twill are harder to damage due to their tightly packed weave. Claws have a tougher time getting through these tighter fabrics and as do errant hairs. Using a lint roller, or even just your hand fur is easily rubbed away from microfiber materials, while loose canvas covers can also be removed and put directly into the wash.
You want to take this outside?
Bare with me, because this may seem quite obscure. But it is definitely worth suggesting outdoor fabrics to your customers, despite the indoor nature of the furniture. They are designed to be durable, using acrylic to seal their colour and form.
It may sound like a daunting prospect, considering the association with outdoor furniture is that it’s tough and not all that comfortable in order to ensure it’s outdoor resistance. You might even be imagining a cushion covered in a layer of waterproof plastic, but the reality is far from it.
Companies like Perennials now offer textured weaves and softer versions of outdoor fabrics that are incredibly durable that they have filtered down into the indoor upholstery market.