17 Dog-Friendly Design Ideas

We treat our pups like members of the family — but should they be allowed on the couch? Designers share tips for creating beautiful homes for canines and their humans.

17 Dog-Friendly Design Ideas
dog on a black bean bag chair

“For pets, leather has to be our favorite no-stress upholstery choice. Cleaning is as easy as a wipe-down, and it’s one of the more odor-resistant materials out there. Avoid heavier textured fabrics, as shedding dog hair can easily get trapped!” — Consort

Above: A children’s playroom in Los Angeles by Consort. Photo by Daniel Collopy

“Depending on the color of your dog, some fabrics will show more hair. With dark-haired dogs, stay with darker fabrics. With lighter-haired dogs, lighter colored fabrics are your friend. It is always a good idea to make slipcovers that can live on the sofas, so your dogs can sit with you. It is also a fun way to change up decor.” — Sara Gilbane

Above: Fifth Avenue living room by Sara Gilbane Interiors. Photo by Zach DeSart

Michael Haverland dog on Marco Zanuso lady chair

“We are dog people, like many of our clients, so we are mindful of durability and maintenance issues related to pets. At our house in East Hampton, Chiccio — our miniature poodle — loves his Marco Zanuso Lady chairs covered in Holland & Sherry wool, which is inherently durable, has enough texture to hide stains and is easy to clean.” — Michael Haverland

Photo by Michael Grimm

Michael Haverland dog on blue chair in living room

In New York City, Chiccio’s favorite chair is a Marco Zanuso Martingale chair in Holland & Sherry wool. We also use in these spaces antique rugs with enough pattern and color contrast to allow inevitable stains to disappear. ” — Michael Haverland

Photo by Stephen Smith/Kristi Stiff Imaginare Co

whippet on a daybed

“Dog-friendly design is so easy today with outdoor fabrics and rugs that are so luxurious and cleanable. Whether you use a dressy velvet or linen texture, it’s not a problem to find durable but beautiful textiles. Being a whippet owner and a cat lover, I have lived with pets and beautiful surroundings that harmonize.” — Tara Shaw

Above: Tara Shaw’s dog relaxes on a daybed in her New Orleans home. Photo courtesy of Tara Shaw Design

“For dogs, I prefer open-grain wood like a fumed oak floor. I also like nubby textiles, heavy linens and cottons. The more texture you add, the better chance of it aging gracefully.”

— Steven Gambrel

Above: At Gambrel’s New York office is Scottish terrier Wallace, who belongs to the firm’s head project manager, Elizabeth Stanton. Photo by Michelle Rose, from K9-5: New York Dogs at Work (Pointed Leaf Press)

Steven Gambrel's dog Sailor

“She comes to the office with me every day,” Gambrel says of his Labradoodle, Sailor. “She has a favorite chair at home, which is upholstered in a rugged textile, and a nice blanket in the back of the car.”

Photo by Michelle Rose, from K9-5: New York Dogs at Work (Pointed Leaf Press)

“Our dog, Daisy, has full run of the New York apartment and the Hudson Valley house. There is no place that she is not allowed to sit or sleep. The only rule we have is that there’s no eating or drinking allowed in bed, and for her bed refers to any and every piece of furniture or furnishing. Eating is only in the kitchen.” — Brian J. McCarthy

Photo by Francesco Lagnese

“It’s fair to say that our clients who have pets are laissez faire when it comes to their furry family members. Of course, if you have a dog that sheds, you might make some choices about where they are allowed and where they are not. It is either that or have fastidious housekeeping!” — Brian J. McCarthy

Above: Daisy poses in the living room of the Hudson Valley home. Photo by Francesco Lagnese

dachschund standing in a doorway

“We love to use indoor/outdoor rugs for clients with dogs. The polypropylene makes it especially easy to wipe away any mess, including accidents, with just soap and water. Swahili-style baskets are also a great-looking way to contain dog toys and treats.” — Katie Ridder

Above: Katie Ridder and Peter Pennoyer’s dachshund, Teddy, stands at the door of their Millbrook, New York, home. Photo by Eric Piasecki, courtesy of Vendome

“Over the years, we have learned that pets love carpet just as much as we do. It is soft on their paws, provides traction for playing and is a great place to nap. Choosing a lower carpet over a deep or shag is a must, as the latter types are easily confused with grass or a litter box.” — Kirsten Kelli

Above: A maltese reclines on a sofa in an Upper East Side bedroom by Kirsten Kelli, LLC. Photo by Stephen Karlisch

“Pet beds have become somewhat of an accessory in homes. We like using coordinating fabrics to create custom beds. Consider appliquéing your pets name on the bed in a contrasting color to make even more of a statement.” — Kirsten Kelli

Above: A yellow Lab lays on the marble floor of this Kirsten Kelli–designed entryway in Dallas. Photo by Max Kim-Bee

two dogs on a red sofa

“My trick is placing miniature furniture, such as a divine antique child’s chair, around the home. This allows your pet to easily reach a bed or sofa, wherever needed.” — Alex Papachristidis

Above: Teddy (top) and Gypsy Marlow perch on a sofa at Alex Papachristidis Interiors. Photo by Michelle Rose, from K9-5: New York Dogs at Work (Pointed Leaf Press)

black labrador in Nathan Turner's living room

“I have two giant Labs, and they go everywhere with me. I have no problem with them getting on the sofa with me for movie night cuddles, but I am also aware that guests may not want to leave my home covered in dog hair after sitting on my furniture. I use these heavy-duty canvas blankets from Utility Canvas. They’re super durable and come in a ton of colors, and are easy to toss in the wash.” — Nathan Turner

Above: Nacho, one of Nathan Turner’s Labs, leans against the sofa in their Malibu living room. Photo by Victoria Pearson

“High-performance fabrics are so great now. I try whenever possible to use them on upholstery because red wine, food and anything else can be cleaned up so easily. Solution-dyed fabrics allow you to use a 1/3 bleach and 2/3 water solution to clean up. Amazing!” — Doug Meyer

Above: A terrier lounges on an armless chair in this mid-century Miami home by Doug Meyer Studio. Photo by Mark Roskams

“Rugs are always better in wool, which is cleanable, or olefin, which is outdoor and can be hosed down.” — Trip Haenisch

Above: Trip Haenisch & Associates designed this bedroom in West Hollywood. Photo by Tim Street-Porter

dogs on striped stairway by Burnham Design

“Go with wool carpets and steel clear of jute and sisal, as the natural aroma of jute has a way of encouraging dogs to relieve themselves. Wool is easy to clean and will last you!” — Sara Gilbane

Above: A pair of pups pose on the striped stairway of this California home by Burnham Design. Photo by Christopher Patey

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