7 Ways to Protect Your Home From Kids and Pets

Photography by Gordon Beall

Text by Hannah Nance

Two of the greatest joys in life have to be kids and pets. Ironically, two of the messiest things in life are also kids and pets. Which leads us to the question that has plagued designers, parents, and pet owners for ages—how can I have a beautiful home with these mobile messes on the loose?

Innovation and experimentation in design and style have led us to a few solutions, some that might even seem a little counterintuitive. After hours spent chatting with designers and learning from our own life experience, our team has rounded up our top tips for protecting your home against those lovely but messy joys in life.

Pick fabrics that match your mess.

Photography by Helen Norman

Choose designs and shades that match the colors of whatever mess you’re trying to mask. Patterns and textured prints can really come in handy—they hide pet hair and dirt so well.

Go vintage.

Photography by Dan Piassick

This seems pretty illogical at first. Vintage pieces and antiques usually come at a high price, so why pay more for a piece that you’re expecting to get a little dirty? But trust us on this one; many of the designers we talk to about this very issue advise using vintage rugs because the beauty of vintage is age. With age come a few scratches and stains. So, next time someone comments on a spot of dirt on your antique rug, just claim it came like that.

Consider using white.

Photography by Alyssa Rosenheck

Now, this tip comes with one major caveat: If you have children that spill red juice or a black dog that sheds tremendously, this probably isn’t the best idea for you. But, for normal, everyday wear and tear, a white slipcover will be your best friend. Well, actually, bleach will be your best friend. The second a stain pops up, just toss the slipcover in the washer with bleach, and it’s good as new.

Use outdoor fabric.

Photography by @vivaluxphotography on Instagram

We’ve vastly improved on the uncomfortable iron-bench covers of days past. We’re seeing more and more families opting to use fabrics from companies like Sunbrella. They’re stain-resistant but still cozy, which makes them perfect for kids and pets.

Skip the carpet.

Photography by Kip Dawkins, Styling by Charlotte Safavi

Rugs are relatively easy to replace. Carpet is definitely not. If you can, choose a smooth, hard flooring material. And remember the first tip: Pick a floor that matches your mess. If you want something a little cozier, add an area rug.

Take a minimalist’s approach.

Photography by Jim Bathie

Running kids and dogs plus light-weighted glass décor is a recipe for disaster. Instead of layering upon layering upon layering on every side table in your home, just stack a few books and add a plant. Heavy items will stay in place better, and the less you have, the less there is to fall and break.

Don’t take things too seriously.

Photography by William Dickey

So, you spilled red wine on your sofa, or you found a chocolate bar melted between couch cushions. Clean up what you can and then let it go. Ironically, while writing this, I spilt red tea all over the floor and discovered that my dog had an accident inside. Our homes are for living, and while we do believe that beautiful homes make us happy, we also know that things come in the way of that sometimes. Live your life and don’t stress too much about the messes.

Shop our latest issues for more inspiration!