The Ultimate Guide to Pet-Friendly Sofas

ultimate guide to pet friendly sofas by revelry interior design

I am a pet-friendly interior designer. I believe that pets have a strong place in our homes, and we should design for them, not against them. For that reason, I’m well-versed in pet-friendly flooring, rugs, bedding, and upholstery, which are the items that are the most frequently destroyed by our beloved pets. But, they don’t have to be destroyed! Especially your sofa, which is often a huge investment piece in my clients’ homes. Below are my recommendations on how to shop for pet-friendly sofas.

What to look for in the best pet-friendly sofas:

#1 Removable Cushions

Both the seat and the back cushions should be removable, not attached. Check the sofa description carefully and run if you see any mention of attached cushions! Attached cushions are sewn onto the sofa frame, which means they cannot be removed or replaced. Less fabric is needed in the manufacture of these types of cushions, so you generally see this on cheaper sofas.

Ideally, removable cushions should have a zippered cover that is machine-washable, with either a moisture-proof barrier covering the cushion insert, or a removable cover that is impervious. This is important not just for pets that aren’t house-trained or aging pets, but accidental spills as well! 

#2: Tightly woven upholstery fabric (with samples available!)

Always purchase a sofa from a manufacturer that will provide fabric swatches. Order as many as you can, and give the fabric swatches some test runs to see how it stands up to clawing, fur, and stains.

Tightly woven fabrics with a fabric backing are best, to avoid pulls and tears from pet claws. The fabric backing reinforces the face of the fabric, preventing it from pulling. When pet claws are a concern, avoid fabrics where you can clearly see the yarns woven together, like basket weave linens and chunky Belgian linen. These tend to pull apart easily.

My favorite fabric to use is a wool and linen blend. You get the durability of both fabrics combined with the luxe softness of wool. 

Performance-grade or even outdoor-grade fabrics are best, which are fabrics woven with polyester blends or solution-dyed acrylic. Performance fabrics have advanced a long way and are no longer the stiff, rough texture that people may be accustomed to. Polyester and acrylic fabrics are washable, and they won’t shrink, fade, or bleed color when wet.

Avoid velvet textures at all costs. Velvet acts like velcro with pet hair and will accumulate, becoming difficult to manage over time. There is debate about whether or not cats are turned-off by velvet – this is where the samples become important so that you can test your own cat’s fondness for the fabric.

Also avoid fabrics that are lightweight, like sheet-weight cottons and silk.

If you find a sofa you love but the fabric isn’t considered pet-friendly, consider having the fabric stain-guarded. There are several different companies that will come to your home and spray down your sofa for you. Many interior designers will have the fabric pre-treated before it is even applied to the sofa frame.

#3: Seat Height

You may want to consider the height of the seat for aging pets with mobility issues. Sofa seat heights are generally around 16”, but some pets may have difficulty jumping onto and off of a surface at this height. Look for a low sofa if this is a concern.

#4: Frame Material

If you have a cat that likes to use your furniture for a scratching post, you may need a metal framed sofa. Cats can claw even through wood if given enough time, not to mention puppies who like to chew!

How to Keep Pet-Friendly Sofas Clean

Definitely have the sofa professionally stain-treated as soon as it enters your home, and have an upholstery cleaner come at least once a year to give it a refresh. It’s not as expensive as you would think, and it will prolong the life of your sofa significantly!

I’ve found the the anti-static sprays don’t really work that well to repel pet hair, and they smell a little funny. This is where the fabric choice becomes important: avoid velvet, which acts like velcro with pet hair. Lint rollers are your friend!

Recommendations for Pet-Friendly Sofas

I love Maiden Home’s line of sofas and their fabric selections. The sectional shown above is the Sullivan from Maiden Home, upholstered in their Performance Tweed in Oatmeal. Their sofas are truly built to last using quality materials and construction methods. 

7th Avenue is an entire sofa collection built upon the washable concept. Their sofas are also stylish, comfortable, and priced appropriately. I usually recommend their sofas to my clients with both pets and young children! They recently opened a showroom in San Francisco, so you can give it a sit test.

I can help you select pet-friendly furniture that is the best suited for your own family and lifestyle. 

Reach out to us at or book a free consultation with us here.


Dana Feagles, Principal Interior Designer and Dog Lover

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