Dogs Don’t Read Welcome Letters – Choosing Furniture Fabrics

dog lounging

Dogs don’t read the property rules in the welcome packet. Accepting pets in a vacation rental property is a mixed blessing for Owners and Guests alike! Owners want to attract travelers with pets yet worry about damages. Guests want to be able to bring their beloved dogs, and also worry about damage from prior Guests and that their own Fido may, uhm, leave something on the chair! Here’s the Seachange Vacation Rentals Interior Design advice on choosing the right type of fabrics for pet friendly vacation rentals.

Poor Choices of Fabrics for Pet Friendly Vacation Rentals: Loose Weave

Tweed, corduroy, and any open weave fabric will snag easily on claws, and unravel. The open weave is a magnet that will pull and trap hair and dust and next to impossible to clean. Trapped dirt in the fabric fibers will soon stink to let future Guests know a poochie was in residence before them!

Chenille, Silk, and Velvet, while on trend is definitely not trendy when it comes to dogs. Chenille is best left to the Captain. Silk is a very delicate fabric requiring professional, specific cleaning. Velvet really fits into the open weave category since it will attract and retain pet hair like the above mentioned magnet!

Suede. Oh man are we torn on this one! For design purposes we love suede as much as we love silk and velvet! For practical reasons, however, skip the suede for pet friendly properties. Damp spots on suede are very difficult to clean and remove all evidence of.

Good Choices of Fabrics for Pet Friendly Vacation Rentals: Tight Weaves, Microfibers, and Synthetics

A tight weave is not just something you Mom enjoyed in the ’70s, it also is really good in contemporary vacation rental sofa fabrics! The tighter the weave then the better when it comes to not snagging pet claws and retaining pet hair.

Microfibers have the benefit of ultra-fine fibers woven with an extremely tight weave. There are no loops in microfiber fabric so pet claws will not get stuck. It’s very easy to wipe pet hair and stains from microfiber fabrics. One downside with microfiber is that it will easily absorb stains and odors so when the inevitable happens, wipe it up immediately!

Leather. OK for design purposes I would not put all leather in one room. Used sparingly, and balanced with other fabric types and patterns, leather can have great adaptations for interior spaces. For pet owners, however, leather is wonderful, always! It’s durable, breathes, will not snag claws, can be wiped down with a cloth, and repels hairs. If your doggies goes nuts digging in the sofa fabric for an imagined bone, then a certain amount of ‘weathering’ on a leather sofa can add an interesting ‘distressed’ look. If that distressed look distresses you, plenty of good products available these days to remove cracks and splits from leather.

Synthetic Fibers. Modern technology has produced synthetic fibers that mimic natural fibers eliminating the kitschy look of vintage synthetic fibers. Olefin, acrylic, nylon, polyester and rayon, and are good choices when you need to protect against stains and cuts from your pets. Best avoid a 100% polyester synthetic fiber and opt for a natural/synthetic blend since polyester can absorb oils in skin and food. Toray’s Ultrasuede synthetic microfiber fabric such as those used by The Hickory Chair Company are great fabric choices. The International Academy of Design and Technology (IADT) recommends microfiber and Crypton specifically made for pet homes. They are resistant to water, stains, odor, and bacteria.

Outdoor Furniture: the fabrics used in sofas and armchairs intended for limited exterior exposure such as outdoor porches, living rooms, and covered verandas are tailor made for pet friendly interiors! Fabrics such as Sunbrella have tight weaves, are typically made of a synthetic fiber such as acrylic, and have a fabric guard already applied. Acrylic fibers do well with spills. These acrylic fibers are also dyed through and through versus applied to the traditional outside of the fibers, which makes them the most resistant to sun and stain damage. They can be wiped down easily and are durable. Please be careful with the aesthetics of outdoor furniture indoors. Choose a style that fits with an interior. The popularity of outdoor living spaces these days means we do have plenty of options to choose from. Just avoid the patio look indoors!

Color, Patterns, and Slip Covers, Oh My!

We see a lot of Interior Design advice that recommends dark colors, patterns, and slip covers so that pet hair does not show on furniture. For vacation rental furniture purposes, however, you want that pet hair to show! Your housekeeping/cleaning crews need to see it so they can clean it! Don’t shy away from lighter, neutral colors such as grays, blues, sandy tans, or greens for mid-Atlantic vacation rental properties. You want your interior design to match your exterior landscape appeal. Best avoid crazy patterns on large pieces. Use small upholstered chairs, or cushions for your pops of crazy patterns and colors. When it comes to slip covers. We challenge you to send us a photograph of a slip cover in place at your property that looks like the smooth, crease-free picture on the packaging!

Grades of Fabric Used in Upholstery

Did you realize that fabric weaves come in a grading system that reflects the durability of the fabric? They range from A, the least expensive up to F, the priciest. Each manufacturer sets his own grade scale so the correlation of grade-to-cost of manufacture varies from one maker to another. Factors that influence grade include: performance expectations – whether the fabric is durable under different types of use; complexity of weave; type of fiber; construction of fabric and thread count. Patterns woven into the fabric as opposed to printed on them results in a more durable pattern. Here’s a good explanation of fabric grading.

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