When you have kids and pets, keeping your furniture clean and damage-free can be a full-time job. From spots and spills to scratches, scuffs and tears, there are a lot of ways to ruin a sofa, loveseat, recliner or even your dining room furniture.
You can do your best to train your pets and teach your kids to be careful, but let’s face it: Accidents happen. The good news? There are several ways to protect your household furniture from accidental damage. Whether you need to save your sofa from an over-active pup or you want to protect your favorite chair from a precocious toddler, here are a few tips on how to keep your children and pets from damaging household furniture.
Pet and Child-Proof Your Furniture With Covers
Using furniture covers is the best way to stop spots, spills and stains in their tracks. While this idea may bring back memories of those sticky plastic covers your grandmother used to protect her furniture, there are several modern options that are more stylish, convenient and comfortable. Slipcovers work well for busy families, as they are easy to put on and stay in place. And when they get dirty, you can just take them off and throw them in the washing machine.
Blankets and throws work well, too, especially if you just need to cover certain spots. If your cat’s favorite place to nap is on the back of your recliner, for example, putting a throw there will prevent scratches and help your chair stay fur-free.
Reconsider Bare Wood
While you may love the look of bare wood, it may not be the best furniture option if you have pets or small kids. Teaching your dog not to chew sounds great in theory, but sometimes, even well-trained dogs mess up. And no matter how many scratching posts you have in your home, your cats may still decide that the legs of your chairs are way better.
Bare wood furniture can easily be damaged by kids, too. Whether they decide to color on it or manage to scratch it when playing with their toy cars, there is a lot that can go wrong. If you do choose wood furniture for your home, make sure it is finished, as to make it a bit easier to clean. You may also want to look for hardwoods that are less susceptible to damage than lower-quality wood.
Choose the Right Upholstery Fabric for Your Furniture
Color and style may be your primary concerns when shopping for new furniture, but if you have kids or pets, you also need to consider how well the upholstery will stand up to abuse. For many families, microfiber works well.
It comes in a wide range of colors and styles, and it is made from 100 percent polyester. This makes it extremely durable and resistant to damage. It’s easy to keep clean and doesn’t hold odors like some other fabrics. If you are a cat owner, your favorite feline may be less inclined to scratch microfiber than other fabrics, because it doesn’t make that satisfying ripping sound.
If you are in the market for something a bit more luxurious, leather furniture is a good choice as well. A top grain leather sofa is exceptionally soft and breathes well, making it suitable for all climates. It’s also durable and, when a protective layer is applied during the tanning process, resistant to stains. Most spills can just be wiped away with a damp cloth, and you can maintain your leather furniture simply by applying conditioner twice per year. The one downside to leather is that it can be scratched by pet claws. Keeping their claws neatly trimmed helps, though, and many minor scratches can be buffed away.
Invest in Furniture for Your Two- and Four-Legged Kids
There isn’t much you can do to keep your kids and pets off your nice furniture all the time, but you can buy pieces just for them to help minimize the amount of time they spend on yours. Pick up a high-quality dog bed for Fido, and buy kid-sized furniture for the little ones. When you give your dog a nice orthopedic bed, he will be less likely to spend all of his time curled up on your couch. And what kid wouldn’t love having their very own recliner or kid-sized sofa?
When choosing furniture pieces for your kids and pets, buy products that offer good quality to ensure that they will actually be used and stand up to some abuse. You may also want to look for features like stain-resistant coatings and removable, machine-washable covers.
If you have an heirloom piece that has been passed down for generations or another prized piece of furniture, there is nothing wrong with making it a kid-free and pet-free zone. If you don’t want your kids and pets messing up the bed in the guest room, keep the door closed and make it clear that the area is off limits.
Teach your kids to behave appropriately on furniture. Don’t allow food or drinks on the sofa. Designate one specific chair that the dog is allowed on, and keep the others pet-free. Establish rules and boundaries that work for your family. It may be hard at first, but with firmness and consistency, it is possible to create rules to protect your furniture.
Kids and pets can take a serious toll on household furniture. From spills and stains to scratches, holes and more, they can cause several types of damage. Fortunately, there are several ways to protect your household furniture and help extend its life. By following the tips listed above, you can keep your furniture a bit safer no matter how crazy your household may be.