These Are the Best (and Worst) Couch Fabrics for Pet Owners

Even if you have the best of intentions, pets have a way of breaking the careful rules you lay out for them. Plenty of dog and cat owners who swore they’d never allow animals on the couch have reluctantly given up their favorite spots for four-legged friends. It’s amazing how loving your pet can change everything you thought you knew about yourself.

Just because you have a pet it doesn’t mean you have to shroud all the furniture in plastic. Keeping your favorite pieces pristine may take a little extra work, but by choosing the right textiles in the first place, you’ll have a much easier time maintaining them over the years.

Stick to tropical fish for pets if you’re a furniture perfectionist. But if you can handle a few love marks on your sofa, then read on for the best (and worst) fabric options for pet owners.

1. Bad: Loose weave fabrics

Living room design with sturdy tweed sofa
Claws can snag on an open-weave fabric. | Kwanchai_Khammuean/iStock/Getty Images

Tweed, corduroy, and anything with an open weave can easily snag on claws and unravel over time. Plus, open weave couch fabrics can trap hair and dust, which is next to impossible to clean if the cushions aren’t removable. Trapped debris embedded in the fibers can even make your couch smell stinky.

Next: Skip the silk couch.

2. Bad: Silk and velvet

Luxurious blue velvet sofa
Velvet is a hair magnet. | nkrivko/iStock/Getty Images

Silk and velvet qualify as high maintenance couch fabrics that aren’t well-suited to pet owners.

Imagine the worst — your dog or cat has an accident on the couch. Do you really want to spend the money having it professionally cleaned? Velvet also attracts hair like a magnet, which is enough to drive the most patient pet owner nuts.

Delicate fabrics are best for adults who don’t have pets, kids, and craziness happening in their homes. Everyone else should stick to sturdier options — or at least relegate the silk couch to the formal living room and close the door.

Next: Suede will show marks.

3. Bad: Suede

Modern blue suede couch sofa
It’s hard to clean. | Anthony Paz/iStock/Getty Images

Suede looks good, but when it comes to cleaning up water spots, it’s a real pain in the neck. Without a protective cover, even this durable fabric is troublesome for pet owners. It’s best to leave suede couches for people who don’t have pets.

Next: Pick a tight weave.

4. Good: Tight weave fabrics

Golden retriever dog lying on sofa
Tight weaves, such as microfiber, can stand up to a pet. | Janie Airey/iStock/Getty Images

The tighter the fabric weave of your couch, the less likely it is to catch on your pet’s claws. Canvas, denim, and man-made microfiber couches are great ideas for dog and cat owners. Look for darker colors that don’t show dirt as easily, or better yet, pick a fabric that matches your pet so the hair won’t stand out at all.

Next: Leather is the hands down best choice.

5. Good: Leather

Dog on sofa
Leather is durable. | bjandrews/iStock/Getty Images

Ask any veteran pet owner and no doubt you’ll hear the same suggestion echoed over and over: Leather is the best fabric choice when you have animals living in your home. It’s durable, it won’t snag claws, it wipes clean with a damp cloth, and depending on the type you choose, a little wear and tear adds to the distressed aesthetic.

It’s important to make sure you’re choosing genuine leather rather than man-made if you want to reap all the benefits. It’s more expensive, but you won’t need to replace it nearly as quickly.

Next: Bring the outside in.

6. Good: Outdoor furniture

Patio furniture on modern deck
Outdoor furniture can be stylish enough for inside. | Martin Barraud/iStock/Getty Images

Have you checked out the patio furniture section lately? There are lots of stylish options, and there’s no law saying you have to exclusively use this type of furniture outdoors. In fact, lots of pet owners are discovering the durability factor and are replacing delicate living room sofas with sturdy outdoor sectionals.

Next: When all else fails, cover it up.

7. Good: Slipcovers

A cute cat sleeping in a bed
Slipcovers can be a nice compromise. | bbbrrn/iStock/Getty Images

Maybe a new couch isn’t in the budget right now or perhaps you can’t bear to part with your grandma’s antique silk settee. No matter why you want to keep your non-pet-friendly furniture, your best choice for staying sane and keeping your pet is to find a high-quality slipcover. Some companies sell covers that you can easily remove when friends are visiting, so you don’t have to look at the pet hair covered slipcovers all the time.

In general, it’s best to just lighten up. Life is short and a few extra marks on your couch isn’t the worst that can happen. Enjoy your pet and your couch no matter what they look like!

Read more: Here’s What Your Dog Really Wants From You (and the 1 Thing You Should Never Do)

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