I get so many questions about fabrics for busy households, especially those with resident sticky hands and furry, muddy feet! And of course we are massive lovers of both dogs and tiny humans in the LFF Studio but it’s no doubt that you need to put a little extra thought into your upholstery choices when you live with children, dogs or of course cats, but it doesn’t mean you have to forgo all of the homes little (or large) luxuries.
You may think, as many places advise, that your best options once you have animals and kids lie in the synthetic fabric arena, including the likes of high polyester, acrylic, or other synthetic material, like nylons. But let’s face it, this collection of fabrics doesn’t exactly scream class….
But all is not lost, there are a bevy of fabrics for the brave (or not so brave as the case may be) if you are only willing to give them the chance! So don’t be afraid to go off piste and still gravitate towards some beautiful materials. You will probably be surprised at the fabric you can safely introduce into your growing home that is animal and kiddy friendly these days.
I personally, have all three in my home, toddler, dog and Hell-sent cat and to top it all off a bit of a clumsy husband yet I still regularly go for a velvet sofa – a fabric that many see as a delicate that certainly went on the ‘give up’ list once kids arrived. But because there are so many smart velvets around these days that repel water and muck and can easily be spot cleaned this luxurious soft upholstery option is back on the table. You’ll also find that cats aren’t too fond of scratching velvet either – double win.
Patterned fabrics are also your friends, allowing stains space to hide. And when it comes to hair – although I am sure we all intend to regularly hoover, brush and sticker roll that stuff away, you have better things to do in life than be following your moulting dog around 24/7 – felts, chenille, herringbone, or other fabrics with visual texture or a subtle pattern work wonders at hiding this pesky scattering of fuzz.
Tightly woven and low pile materials will always be a great choice when it comes to cats who are hell bent on using your furniture as a scratching post. There are two benefits here, one that the material is too tightly woven for easy claw catch and two, as a great bi-product of this it holds on to odour less. And anyone in an animal loving household is going to appreciate the latter big time.
Sofa’s with loose covers that can be taken off and put straight into the washing machine are a great idea. You can also have spare sets made for swap over and laundry days.
Leather is a great option too and one you may not think of. Yes it does scratch and can crack but it’s also mostly wipe down and if you like the more ‘lived in’ leather look you’re quids in. The more stains, scratches, bumps and bruises a leather sofa of chair gets the better. You can grow a family friend for life that carries with it all the events of your household as it grows and develops over the years.
Your main avoidance should be to natural, pale material and linens.
Side note: low glass in doors is also a nightmare for wet noses and mucky pups (both canine and human varieties), so think twice about those crittal doors and glass partition walls in high traffic areas.
Here are some of my suggestions: