Create a home fit for humans and four-legged friends

 (ARA)  Pet-friendly design is one of the fastest growing interior decorating trends. From high-end home items to the basics, decorating is literally going to the dogs … and cats. Beyond pet-proofing a home for safety, pet-friendly decorating has an increasing number of animal lovers choosing and incorporating pet-friendly fabrics and building materials into their homes’ decor.
   A number of cost-effective ways to maintain a fabulous-looking home are also practical and comfortable for both you and your pet. Here are five tricks of the trade:
   Common sense color.
   It’s one of the simplest interior design tricks — matching your furniture fabric to your pet’s fur color to help conceal dog and cat hair. For example, if you have a multi-colored pet, opt for a small pattern that closely matches your pet’s coloring. If you have a white poodle or feline, skip the all-black sofa and choose a lighter fabric color. If your heart is still set on black, accessorize with black pillows or a throw blanket. The same holds true if you own a pet with darker fur — the darker your fabric choices, the easier it will be to hide pet fur.
   Skip the slipcover.
   Thanks to recent advances made in the manufacturing of furniture fabric, there’s no need to hide your couch under an unsightly slipcover in order to protect it from the wear-and-tear of your pet.  Look into purchasing furniture made with Crypton, a synthetic textile that’s easy to clean and highly resistant to stains, water and even bacteria. A less expensive option is ultrasuede microfiber. If either of these choices is still out of your price range, make sure your furniture is protected with Scotchgard. However, if you go this route, know that there are still some fabrics to avoid, such as denim, flannel, corduroy and velvet. Each of them has a tendency to hold pet fur.
   Fitting floors.
   Flooring options for pet owners can be tricky because carpet holds stains and odors, and hardwood scratches easily. If you’re looking at replacing your carpeting, there are choices specifically designed for pet owners. One of them, Pet Agree Carpet, claims that it withstands any damage made by a pet. It’s made from a material that traps liquids, such as pet urine, and stops them from soaking through to the carpet padding and floor below.
   Less is more.
   Another smart design tip: keep knickknacks and accent pieces to a minimum. Today’s trend in creating clean, streamlined spaces is not only aesthetically appealing, but is ideal for pet owners. A well-thought-out design means you’ll enjoy the benefits of a clutter-free environment while keeping unnecessary, decorative items out of reach of pets’ sweeping tails and curious jaws.
   Ensuring you, Fido and Fluffy live harmoniously doesn’t mean you need to spend a bundle, or sacrifice your sense of style. By doing your research, formulating a decorating plan and choosing your materials carefully, you can easily create a home that’s fit for man and beast.