design ramblings | pet-friendly decorating

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Design Ramblings21 Comments

Kriste and I are still at the Haven Conference in Atlanta, thoroughly enjoying our time here… a chance to connect to other bloggers, to recharge creatively and to have a little bit of girl time.  I’ll share more about it when I get home and have a chance to gather my thoughts.

So, in this episode of Design Ramblings, Kriste and I answer a fan’s e-mail about pet-friendly decorating…


(Kriste’s cat, Carli)

So, does anyone have a catio?!  I thought that was so funny, but I know that cats love hanging out on screened-in porches, so it does make sense!

Anyway, since I don’t currently have pets, I thought I would refer you to a couple of my blogger buddies who do and sometimes share solutions to common issues like pet hair and stains.

Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick has a whole collection of furry friends…

PicMonkey Collage_thumb[1]


And Melissa from The Inspired Room shares the antics of her golden-doodle, Jack, and how they live happily together…



Do other pet-lovers out there have tips to share for how pets and pretty house can co-exist?

design ramblings | pet-friendly decorating

Related Posts

christmas decorating | one christmas bell four ways

Non-Christmas Holiday Decor Ideas

black Friday art sale & giveaway

Holiday Crafts with Walmart

21 Comments on “design ramblings | pet-friendly decorating”

  1. My sister in law and her husband have 3 cats and 2 dogs. They found it impossible to keep carpets clean especially in the winter with that many pets. Several years ago they replaced their carpeting with laminate wood floors. They find it much easier to maintain and many pet owners recommended laminate wood flooring over real hardwood flooring that can become discolored and stained from pet accidents plus can scratch easier.

  2. I have a Great Pyrenees and a Border Collie. We co-exist well by closing bedroom doors when gone, placing decorative picture boxes on top of a bench in front of the window to end the nose prints, placing more decorative boxes at night and when we leave on the couch. My 92 lb dog has taken ownership of our sheep rug and loves to open the pantry door and closet doors lol. ADA approved handles. I have invested in a quality vacuum and rug cleaner too. Tails wagging are a great joy and I love it when people comment on how clean the house is with dogs.

  3. I have always had cats (currently have just one). The price in my home for a really GOOD kitty-cat life is front-claw removal (I know this is controversial). In the last 50 years, I have had multiple kitties, all shelter animals or adopted straight off the street, and, happily, I have never had a destructive cat or one with litter box issues. However, cat hair is a problem, especially on my cat’s favorite napping spot, a valuable Victorian sofa. So, when I had this piece reupholstered a few years ago, I ordered an extra yard of fabric and made it into a cover for the seat, interlining it with a piece cut from a (new) waterproof mattress pad, backing it with a nice color-matched lining fabric, and trimming the front edge with long, elaborate decorative fringe. This protects my sofa in case of hairball upchuck, collects most of the hair, etc. I can whip it off quickly if company appears at my door, and it can be professionally dry-cleaned without difficulty. I did the same for my Victorian love seat. The cost is low, the day-to-day look is nice, and the protection is terrific.

  4. We have a senior cat and did have a senior dog until last year. Our dog was small and never did like getting in our laps or the furniture. She had her bed and several flokati rugs just for her. We did have an issue with our cat when she was younger of pulling her claws in our door facings and a bed post. We got her a big scratching post that she could curl up on and also those corrugated boxes with catnip and have not had any issues at all since then. I also have a washable white denim slipcover on the sofa and that has worked out great but do put a towel down and she will always use it. We did replace the carpet with lament flooring in the living area, but still have carpet in the bedrooms. Keeping the carpet clean has been the hardest because as our animals aged they would throw up from time to time or have an accident. Resolve Carpet Cleaner has worked really well for us. Going forward we will replace the carpet once our cat has left us with wood flooring just in case we decide to adopt any more animals in the future. I have to add that every spot and hair has been worth the love and devotion we have had from our 17 year old Pom and our 20 year old cat!

  5. Love your design ramblings! I have one cat that we rescued last fall right before I had major surgery. That little kitten, Sadie, got me through about a month of bed rest and she has become very spoiled! I admit, I did do a blog post on a hanging basket cat perch that I made for her and it has become one of my most popular posts – crazy! You can see it here –

    Have been following you both on IG at Haven! Looks like you are having an amazing time!


  6. You two are so adorable!! Your chat about decorating for your pets was right on. All of those things can happen in your house with either a dog or cat. You must have heard this saying
    “dogs have Masters and Cats have People!!” So true!
    I am of a different generation than you two, and Marion I always love your posts, your furniture make overs and your sense of humour!
    Just one question??? What’s with the ring in your and Kristies nose?? I like to think I am ” with it” and “open” to all things of the younger generation!………but I just don’t get it?
    If my grandchildren were to get a tattoo or piercing I would try to be open and understanding, butI guess my generation doesn’t understand why one would deface their beautiful bodies or face?

    On another note you need to know that I am very envious of your business and your blog! If I was twenty years younger I would love to do what you are doing!

    Keep up the good work, and I might be your #1 Canadian fan…..all the best to you both …..Pamela

    1. Thanks, Pamela! So, the nose ring is just a style choice for me. I have wanted one since college, but never got it because I was afraid of how it would be perceived when I needed to get a “real job”. It’s become so much more acceptable now and, with owning my own business, I finally decided to go for it. One day, I’m sure I’ll decide to take it out and that will be that and I’ll never have to wonder why I didn’t just get a nose ring if I really wanted one. 🙂

  7. This is for all pet lovers. Years ago our family raised, trained and showed dogs. We usually had 20-25 Great Pyrenees and a couple of Bull Terriers. Almost always we had 2 or 3 Pyrenees in the house. We thought dog hair was a condiment. As time went on and I got older the big dogs have graduated to small dogs (Papillons) and cats. Replaced flooring with travertine and hardwood. Even in the bedrooms, kitchen and all. Leather furniture or covered with something for upholstered chairs. Pleather works pretty good too. With 2 dogs and 4 cats we have our share of every kind of mess imaginable but you have to decide which you enjoy more a pack of animals or house beautiful. We’ve compromised and have a pack of animals and a presentable home everybody feels comfy in. We have big parties and even a wedding 2 years ago here and all are fine and feel welcome. It seems foriegn to me not to have animals…Just have to get your priorities in order and decide what you can do to make things easier to accommodate your fur babies and you.

    1. “We thought dog hair was a condiment” ~ Hah! Irene, your family has the right attitude towards pet ownership: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! XoXo

  8. Pets! In our little home, in addition to my husband and I and 5 of our 7 children (the older two are grown and left the nest), we have – 1 dog, 2 cats (one is a stray who adopted us a couple of weeks ago), 2 guinea pigs, a parrot, plus chickens and goats (they don’t live in the house). My home is far from magazine worthy, and I wouldn’t even call it intentionally decorated, but we have found a few things that work.
    – For caged animals, clean their home routinely. Every week works for us, on the same day each week.
    – Have a litter box for each cat plus one extra box and keep them clean – I scoop the boxes out at least every other day. One cat liked to scratch the end of the mattresses. A footboard solved the problem until we switched out beds. Now I have a bookcase at the foot of the bed and she doesn’t scratch.
    – Dog chewing – a tired dog is a good dog. Dogs need exercise and playtime. We had two golden retriever puppies many years ago and they would chew on things when they were bored. Frequent walks kept their destructive behavior at bay. Crate training is a great way to keep a dog out of trouble. They like “caves” and our dogs have always liked their crates. I left the doors open if we’re home so they could come and go at will. Our dog now doesn’t have one, but she’s 11 and we know her habits well, so we don’t need one. She has a bed I made for her, but she still loves to sleep in one of our chairs. I’m slipcovering it so that it can be easily washed.
    – Outside critters (our chickens and goats) – I don’t wear the shoes that I wear to tend to them inside the house. It helps keep the floors cleaner.

    And one final note – please, please, please, spay and neuter your pets. 🙂

  9. When we had our cat we turned a little alcove of our basement into his bathroom. His litter box was behind a curtain so it wasn’t in a place that was noticeable. I also suggest getting slip covered furniture if you have animals. Easy to wash if it gets dirty from little paws.

  10. I have all kinds of scratching posts and one cat STILL likes to scratch chairs! I have some hideous carpeting and the only good thing about it is that it is the same color as the cats’ food, so if they upchuck, it blends in. I think if you have pets, you have to be very, very on top of the situation to keep things clean and the way you want OR you accept that their friendship and love are worth the messiness. I cannot imagine not having animals and luckily, I have a very high tolerance for mess. In fact, I wonder if they enable me to embrace my sloppy ways. Cat hair as a condiment, brilliant!
    Having a sense of humor doesn’t hurt., either.

    I hate to make this negative comment, but please do not declaw your cat. I know, it is wrong to judge.

  11. An addendum: I DID remove the stained wall-to-wall carpet in my 1926 house, had the (original) hardwood floors refinished & then put down oriental rugs. A cat-loving friend had taught me years ago that kitty upchuck will NOT permanently stain orientals & that just cold water will remove any pet spots from them. It entertains me no end that a 6 lb kitty can wreck those high-dollar guaranteed-stain-free carpets in 30 seconds, but a woman somewhere in her sheep pasture, boiling up herbs for dyes & weaving a rug from her animal’s wool on a loom with corner posts pounded into the dirt, can make a rug that defies pet staining! Also, GET A GONZO (odd yellow sponge that, used dry, causes hair on upholstered furniture to roll up into balls that are easily picked up/discarded. In a pinch, one’s dampened (not wet) hands, swept lightly over the upholstery, will do the same. I understand about declawing cats — mine came from the shelter declawed & neutered (I searched for an adult animal already having those attributes).

  12. Check out for how to build an outdoor “run” for a cat, using wire storage units. It’s cheap (cheaper than a “catio”), can be reconfigured as you choose, can be attached to an upstairs window (as well as a ground floor one). I haven’t done it yet, but plan to do so.

  13. I have two black cats and a mostly white house. The cats are both de-clawed and I have no problems with them being destructive or knocking things off of shelves or mantels. They also don’t pee on anything. The black hair can be a problem, but we have also solved that with blankets that are attractive and lots of lint rollers! We also have hidden the cat box in a piece of furniture that sits in the dining room of all places, but no one knows its there, as it’s cleaned regularly and is very large and keeps the litter from getting all over the house.

    1. Jean,
      You have got to try those Schicky’s that are “Seen on TV” products.It’s the same company that sells “Shamwow” chamois..It’s basically 3 different sized pet hair rollers large sized with an extendable handle & looks like a paint roller,A medium size that it perfect as Your getting dressed or quickly roll a sweatshirt or an entire pair of black pants & a tiny travel size that flips open & a little larger then a lipstick tube.It’s a lint/pet hair roller but instead of sticky paper that You have to keep tearing off as it fills up with fur,It’s coated with a thin layer of baby blue colored silicone so all You do is rinse it in the sink! The fur slips off under the water,Shake to dry it & a minute later,Ready to use again! Ive dried mine by patting it after I rinse it with a lint free cloth like a cloth Baby diaper but even that still gives lint & then You have to rinse more often.They come with a clear cover to keep them clean,too..I used to buy the lint rollers in the convenience sized bulk packages at the warehouse club & it was costing Me a small fortune! Now,I have these & I think I paid $18 for the 3 sized package.It lasted Me a little over a year,Then started ripping around the edges,Still worked well though,Even with chunks missing.But water was getting under the layer of silicone & I was worried it would start to mold or smell so I bought My second package of them.I got them at Big Lot but I’ve seen them at a variety of stores,Including My grocery store.Something to look into if You didn’t know about them already & well worth the money upfront because You save in the long run in what You save from having to replace the perforated paper,sticky sheet rollers.

  14. With 3 boys under 10, a full-grown man-child and a 120 lb chocolate lab in my little 1500 sq ft house, keeping anything presentable is a challenge! Add in the occasional foster lab, and you’ve got constant chaos.

    I’ve had labs since forever, and learned quickly that nothing can be placed at or below tail-height. Which just so happens to be toddler-height. I don’t have pretty tables in my living spaces, full of tchotchkes and books…my boys would just shove everything to the side to sit closer to the TV anyway. The middle of the floor in the living room is space reserved for wrestling matches and impromptu ninja dance recitals. Side tables are taller to discourage canine counter-surfing, as well as kid-crap-dumping. Dining chairs are regularly reupholstered…yes they get dirty, but it’s also a great excuse for my decorating ADD!

    We had all the downstairs floors replaced with laminate and tile, which is amazing! I have a large indoor/outdoor area rug in the living room that I vacuum regularly and hose off in the driveway twice a year. It’s held up amazingly well to the chaos. A good vacuum with industrial attachments is a must with pets. Between carpets, furniture and stairs, the thing gets an amazing workout (though, not as often as it should), and needs to stand up to the amount of abuse heaped upon it. Invest.

    I tend to have fewer furniture pieces in the house, and reserve pretties for wall shelves and other places that aren’t subject to grimy hands or paws. Magic Erasers are my bestest friends ever…they keep the space between the baseboards and the light switches looking like only adults live here!

  15. We have an English Setter who is not allowed on furniture and is generally a very good boy when it comes to not disturbing “people stuff” (doesn’t raid trash, doesn’t counter surf, etc.), but we also petsit other people’s dogs in our home through DogVacay.

    Many of my guests’ owners have commented on how clean our house is. We do have laminate flooring in about 2/3 of our house, and that makes cleaning up occasional accidents or food spills much easier. Also, our dog not being allowed on furniture, we have purchased an old wing chair that I slipcovered and designated it the “lap chair.” Whenever a person sits in that chair, our dog knows he is allowed to climb up into that person’s lap. He has never challenged our “no pets on furniture” rule, but I do have 4-legged guests who are allowed furniture privileges in their homes and cannot understand that is not allowed in our house. So, when I have a guest like that, I remove all non-washable pillows from the daybed and leave only those that are machine washable. I also cover the daybed with a fitted sheet on top of the regular daybed cover. I sweep, vacuum, dust and mop after every guest’s stay is done, and while they are with us, in case of rainy weather, we have a little enclosed porch where we set up a “paw cleaning station.” They are not allowed into the house until their paws are wiped clean. As for those guests who may be “markers,” we keep belly bands in different sizes on hand, and once it is confirmed that a dog would mark, he is fitted with a belly band which he wears while he is in the house.

    All our guests know that extreme roughhousing is not allowed indoors. If anyone gets really frisky, we take them out into the fenced yard to get their zoomies out. In the areas where the dogs are fed, I have easy to clean indoor/outdoor rugs on top of the laminate, and the wall in the dog feeding corner has vinyl tile “backsplash” which allows for easy cleaning of any food splatters. Dog toys that get scattered around the house during the day are picked up every evening and placed back into the toy basket, so if someone comes in, the house at least looks picked up and that gives an impression of cleanliness even though there still might be dog hair lurking in the corners.

  16. I shouldn’t be giving advice, as my Seal Point Tonkinese has discovered the good make-up brushes this morning and thinks they are birds … But, I have a friend who lives in an old farmhouse in Maryland (Hi, Annie!), and is allergic to cats. Her brilliant mom hung antique screen doors throughout the house, designating which rooms and sections were “Cat Free” and “Kitties Live Here”. It looks quaint and summery, still allows family to see and hear each other, but Annie’s furniture, bed, the kitchen, etc. stays hair and dander free. I love the look and even the sound of the old screen doors, chippy paint and all. Very MMS, yes?

    1. I live in a historic suburb south of Detroit,Mi & there is a Cat Rescue named “Shelter to Home” that purchased a turn-of-the-century Queen Anne Victorian Home,Turrets,Gingerbread trim & all! That’s exactly how its set up in every bedroom,also.Vintage,wooden screen doors are hung on every bedroom doorframe & inside the bedroom,It’s like a 12×12 Cat Crate dedicated to Their every need or desire.Here & there in the rooms are Victorian fainting sofas with bullion fringe around the bottom.Softly lit stained glass wall sconces & sheer balloon shades elegantly drape 1/2 the window in the room so it looks more like a Ladies dressing room the a Rescue. Walking planks are hung around the perimeter of the room near the ceiling with a set of narrow steps against the far wall to access the high planks.Cat trees made from actual tree limbs & branches take up the center of the room with carefully adhered,pet friendly “leaves” that are so realistic that it truly looks as if a tree grew out of the center of the room,etc.Then in the upstairs landing area they have a rounded windowseat on the inside of the turret for Older Kitties to lounge on & watch the birds in the trees,Just outside the window.The top is upholstered in a burgundy,navy & hunter green paisley that is also a Sunbrella fabric & rated for outdoor use. It looks classically beautiful with all the dark mahogany stained recess panel walls,floors,columns & the rest of the elaborate millwork,All restored & maintained through cat lover volunteers! Your comment reminded Me of that Cat Rescue.I guess when You drive past something daily,It starts to blend in.Thanks for the reminder!

  17. It’s been a few months since I’ve commented on anything,Or been online (For recreation/personal time at all) But this issue hts very close to Home for Me..Keep in mind,My style is very Glam Vintage so a few traditional,heirloom quality Vintage piece (Mostly handed down from My Grandmother because My Mother has tastes that run more transitional.My Home is primarily white paint in varying sheens,crystal lamps with white linen drum shades,white linens & bedding & mostly silver toned metals but I do have a few other mixed metal pieces thrown in here & there.I get My color & interest through throws,pillows,rugs,etc but I’m usually a run the color gamut of all things neutral so alot of black,grey & taupes.But over the last year or so,I’ve been drawn to turqoise/citron combo.That’s a HUGE step for Me!
    Now,keep in mind,I have 2 adult daughters,2 teenage boys that are ultra-masculine with testosterone seeping through every pore.Yes,They come Home muddy & sweaty from lifting weights,football,etc.I also have 3 Grandaughters ages 7,6 & 7 months.Then add into the mix an almost 15yr old Golden Retriever who I used to take down to Childrens Hospital a few times a month to be a Therapy Dog on the Cancer floor until around 6 years ago when both of Our Arthritis stopped making those trips enjoyable.Then almost 3 years ago,My Son who goes back to Our former town to help bail hay every summer,Happened to start a bonfire but didnt know that the Barn Cat had placed her 4 kittens in the fire pit for “safe keeping”..He heard frantic meows & although his hand burnt pretty bad in spots,He saved them all.I was conned into keeping the female runt who they though may die because Momma cat refused to nurse her.She’s a white domestic longhair with a brindle patch over one eye & the tip of her nose.Enough dark fur shedding that I see black/brown/caramel hair on My white linens & mostly dark neutrals.Not to mention the 2 times a year when My Golden shed so bad at the change of season,That I get tumble weeds floating across My natural cherry hardwood floors..
    My advice as a Mom,Grandmother & Pet Parent who loves a Home that looks impractical & right out of a magazine is…
    1st & formost: teach ALL kids,2 & especially 4-legged to learn to stop at the door to remove shoes,get paws wiped,etc.In the winter I put old beach towels & paw wipes by the door & constantly swap them out as They get wet & slushy.I keep a deeper cookie sheet with a drying rack over it to use as a boot tray.I have a dedicated one just for that purpose & read to do that in a Martha Stewart book about 15yrs ago.I have a painted pine board with plan wooden pegs around the perimeter of My vestibule but instead of being evenly spaced apart,I installed 2 pegs closely (like “6 then a “10-“12 gap,Before the next set of pegs.This allows a pair of snow boots to be flipped over & held between the 2 close-set pegs to dry inverted & also is a way to keep all leashes,harnesses or school bags close at hand without looking cluttered.
    secondly,I trained both the dog as a Puppy & the Cat as a Kitten,Not to jump.My Golden wouldn’t think of jumping onto the sofa or chair & the cat thinks she’s a small dog & wouldnt dream of being on a kitchen counter! They learned the word “no!” in a stern voice,Just as My Children did as toddlers.
    I did install another pine board to the face of My windowsill with hinges & a triangle block of wood attached with another hinge on the side of the triangle to make My Cat a lounging perch.It flips down out of the way when not in use & to put it up,I lift it then flip the triangle straight as if it was a shelf bracket & it holds the ledge.When She’s done,The triangle block is hidden between the wall & the board that hangs off the window sill out of sight
    Lastly,Dont be concerned with the COLOR of sofas,linens,bedding,etc focus on the durability of the fabric & that it will hold up to constant washings.I have a LOT of white cotton brushed twill that gets softer with use.Or if I dont want white cotton,I buy a patterned sunbrella fabric.All indoor/outdoor fabric work well with pets AND kids! Or spray exsisting fabrics with that new “Never Wet” waterproofing spray.Just make sure You buy clear & not frosted! I made that mistake,lol..That way,If My Grandaughter eats a red popsicle as She shares with My Cat,on My white slipcovered Sofa,That’s ok.I keep 1-2 spares in My closet so I’m not worried that after she leaves,I have to run as fast as I can to the washing machine..I pre-treat & get to it when I can! I also would never have a white,plush area rug.I buy the 8×12 bound remnants at Lowes for around $70.They come in Plush or Berber.I try to keep them looking nice but I dont sweat it if I get a stain that wont come out.I change them out 2-3x a year.Usually after the snow & rainy season in Spring,Then again when the kids go back to school in the fall.Ive only changed it a 3rd time a time or two after the Holidays when I hosted a party & red wine was spilled by a guest.I also recommend the area rug like Your in the chenille jute.They wear like iron but only if Your pet doesnt keep long nails.Do nails get caught & snag them,Where Kitty’s think You love them enough to have a room sized scratching pad.For Cats,Put up floating shelves wrapped in those super cheap carpet leftovers that are like ‘2x’3.I think I paid $2 each.You can use spray glue or upholstery staples.Hang them in staircase fashion for Your cat to walk up.Better looking then those gaudy cat trees.Use a seagrass or jute one as the last step if Your Kitty has Their claws or on the last step.Wrap a PVC pipe with jute rope & wedge it under the shelf & to the floor,Built in scratching post!
    Living in a beautiful Home with pets is no different then having a beautiful Home while having Toddler Children..They WILL learn what is unacceptable & use durable materials..Most importantly..Use common sense!
    I know this was a long reply,But I hope I sparked a few diy projects for pet parents or at the vary least,Calmed a few fears about worrying more about function instead of form..It wont work if either isnt equally balanced!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *