The Oregonian's Carolyn Patten has culled some of Szabo's best tips on design to help pet owners create a stylish environment while making pets more comfortable.
- Use stain-resistant fabrics. Forget silk, chintz or velvet. Some people say leather is fine around pets, but beware if you have cats. Cats will scratch most any upright surface. For them, microfiber is the kryptonite of fabrics, with the bonus of feeling as smooth as suede and being extremely stain-resistant.
- Match colors to your pet. Use your pets as design inspiration and see what magic you can create. Start with the pet bed, choosing a black one for your black Lab or a cream-colored one for your Siamese. If you have a brilliant green parrot, why not match that color with an accent wall or bright pillows on the sofa
- Put washable fabrics on your bed. If your dog or cat sleeps with you, you want to be able to wash the duvet, comforter or bedspread. Delicate-looking matelassé coverlets are surprisingly durable, with tight quilting that resists pet toenail snags and looks good after repeated washings.
- Rethink wall-to-wall carpet. It absorbs odors, traps pet hair and soaks up stains. If you must have carpet, choose a low pile and a stain-resistant synthetic fiber or wool. Cotton, jute and sisal stain easily. Stay away from continuous loop carpet because pets' claws can catch in a single loop and easily unravel a wide area. The best floor is easy-to-clean ceramic tile. It's impervious to claws and gives your pets a cool place to nap during hot weather.
- Set up an entry space with pets in mind. Make sure they can come in through an area where you can get dirt off before they come into the main house. Even a small condo can accommodate a bench with cubbies for towels, leashes and treats. Special water-trapping doormats are great for soggy dog reentry issues.
- Vacuum regularly. Pet hair has an odor and contains oil that attracts dirt, so don't let it hang out on your furniture or flooring. With a single pet, you should do a once-over twice a week. With multiple pets, consider daily vacuuming part of the household routine.
- Bathe and groom your pet often. Trimmed nails won't scratch floors or upholstery. Regular brushing and bathing removes loose hair before it ends up on your floor, bed, pillows and curtains.
- Give your pet tidy treats. Dogs adore pig's ears and rawhide bones, but they're smelly and can leave greasy stains on floors and furniture. Choose a rubber chew toy like the Kong or the Super Tuff Rhino, available at most pet supply stores.
Click here for a list of pet-friendly decorating resources.
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