Best sofa option with pets

kellienoelleNovember 17, 2012

So, I need a new couch. My old ultrasuede sectional couch has served me well over the past 10 years, but it is starting (ok it started a while back) to show it's age. At this point, I want to purchase a sofa with solid construction and obviously pay a little more for it, something that I will reupholster rather than replace. Problem is that we have two people, two dogs, two cats and it takes a bit of a beating. I don't want to invest in a really nice piece of furniture than be worried about living on it. I am not a huge fan of leather for a sofa, but the two leather chairs we have are the dogs favorite sleeping spots and I have deemed them as indestructible. So maybe leather is the best choice for ease of cleaning. Those of you with pets, kids, messy adults, what have you found to be durable? And what are some manufacturers that I should start researching that is mid-price yet known to be well made?

Styling I am kind of iffy on, I tend to lean a bit contemporary with simple lines and styling. However, we will likely be moving within the next year and it will likely be into a 100 year old craftman or tudor style house, so I don't know if that would be the best fit. Once I figure out upholstery options, I worry about that as the next step.

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Why not wait until you move? That way, you'll be able to pick a sofa that you like and that goes with your new home. Also, one less thing to move.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 10:40PM
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Ha, I love the idea of having one less thing to move! The sofa we have now was bought to fit the room in our current house, so it is only fitting that it lives out it's life here. I confess, currently we just zip off the cushion covers and throw into the washing machine (which is pretty convenient) but machine washable probably doesn't speak much about the quality! I want to do better next time around

However, no matter how we do it, before or after moving, I will need to research a better upholstery and construction option. Probably better to do so now than in the chaos of packing up a house. Even if I don't purchase immediately, I will know what I am looking for this time around.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 10:55PM
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With many cats and giant breed dogs, all of whom shed like yetis in spring, all I have is leather and microfiber. Leather wins at ease of cleaning.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 7:34AM
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I own more leather furniture than should be legal, but I do because of 2 dogs, a cat, 2 young grandchildren, and a DH who believes every room is a dining room.

My dogs aren't permitted on the furniture; however, the dirt from their fur rubs off on the fronts and sides of the furniture. With leather, it's easy to keep clean.

My life is easier this way.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 8:00AM
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I have two large dogs and a cat. One dog sheds white fur all year.

I keep a pretty sheet on the cushions of the sofa and when I know company is coming over, I quickly take it off. The cushions still look new!

I've been known to drop a little food on the sofa too, but thanks to the sheet, it's protected. lol.

They make doggie throws but I like the cool feel of the sheet, especially in the summer.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 8:28AM
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Thanks for the responses. Yep, our dogs are shelties and one cat is a persian. So I understand the yeti reference. Also many meals are eaten on that couch in front of the TV, so maybe a nice tailored leather it is (I am over the microfiber).

I did a quick search and for leather it looks like Hancock and Moore or Leathercraft are solid options. And they have styles that don't look like they belong in a frat house or hunting lodge. Anybody familiar with these? And dare I ask, ballpark numbers for price.

I am kind of loving on this one, I think it would look right in place in an old craftsman home, no?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 9:29AM
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Take a look at the Hugo sofa made with Crypton Fabric. I don't have one but I have heard the fabric is indestructible. There are alot of fabric company's that have fabric ratings and expected durability.

Also more information here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Crypton Home

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 9:41AM
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Thanks for that info and link. I just checked out Crypton's site and like the Connor sofa option (Apparently I lean more towards an upholstered back) but worry that it may be too sleek in an older home. And they sell dog beds so I could always order one to do a trial run before committing to a large piece of furniture.

Anybody know anything about the quality of construction of the Crypton Fabrics furniture?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 9:51AM
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Here's another web site by Debbie Weiner, Slobproof. Of course, I'd never buy a sofa without first sitting in it. They have a showroom in Chestertown, MD, but you could always contact her and ask who makes their furniture and if there's another place to check it out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Slobproof

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 10:15AM
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That's a great idea about buying a dog bed first.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 10:31AM
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We searched forever and ended up with an American Leather brand sofa, not in leather but ultrasuede (the only two options they offer).
We moved from a 100yo home to a 1990s, and I think the style is simple and classic enough to fit anywhere.
I also liked that it is made in the USA.
We went with the Morgan style in a buckskin color (dark brown) ultrasuede.

Here is a link that might be useful: American Leather sofas

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 10:57AM
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Labbie - how is it to clean the ultrasuede? My dogs are shedders with long hair, and I find that the hair just attaches to the fabric like a magnet, plus their oils discolor the fabric. How do you like the quality of construction? Does it hold it's shape?

And completely off topic, I am hoping to do the reverse (move from a 90s home to a 100 year old house) but am a bit concerned about maintaining. What made you make the change and how did it go? I keep looking longingly at the beautiful woodwork and arched doorways, but forget about the old plumbing and wiring. Not to mention the teeny tiny closets and bathrooms.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 12:15PM
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I've been following this thread because we have a dog and he is wreaking havoc on our couch. It's a cheap, old couch anyway, so I'm not too worried about it. But I know we will replace it soon and need info on what to get. So thank you for this thread.

I can also speak to moving from an old house to a new one. Our previous home was a 100 year old craftsman traditional foursquare. LR, DR, and tiny kitchen on main level and three beds (one tiny) plus a sitting room and one bath on the second floor. I have mixed feelings about it. I loved the details, the solid feel of the home, and the charm. I loved the large overhanging eaves which allowed me to keep the windows open even when it rained. And I loved the tall double hung windows.

But, I had two young children in this home and I was constantly worried about lead paint (even though we had lead abatement done) and the asbestos pipes in the basement (I don't think my kids ever once went down there).

Some of the rooms had been updated so there was overhead lighting and new wiring. But it didn't have central air and window air conditioners were a pain.

My neighbors had the same style home but it had been completely updated and it was gorgeous. I would have lived there in a heart beat.

Basically, updated old homes are wonderful. And an old home that needs updating is wonderful too as long as you can do the updating. With two small children, we knew we weren't going to tackle that project. When we moved to a new town, we looked for an updated old home, but couldn't find one. We opted for new construction instead and it is perfect for our situation now. But in the future, when the kids are older or out of the house, I'd love to fix up an old home and move back into one of them again.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 12:37PM
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I'm interested in the responses here as I will also be in the market soon for a new sofa. Those with cats and leather, don't the cats scratch it?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 2:03PM
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I have a 12 year old leather couch. It's survived two teenaged boys and their friends, dogs, cats, and numerable meals. Leather is just flat out hard to hurt.

Leather in good condition doesn't show cat claw marks. My leather couch is showing some now and that tells me I need to love on the leather.

There are days when I get TIRED of the brown, but I know leather is the best solution for our family.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 2:22PM
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Well, we have a leather sofa (Natuzzi), and the dog has made it hers a couple of years ago. She usually has her paws over the arm rest, and not only is the leather completely worn off but she's now into the foam stuffing. We have a dog throw over it, but it slides off frequently--- despite some nifty contraption designed to keep it in place. She does not scratch it, just simply lays her front legs on it.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 2:23PM
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MIL's cats scratched her leather sectional. :( OTOH, I think she bought it from Rooms to Go, so I do not think it is quality. I assume the type of leather makes a difference.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Re. the sofa, while we don't allow the dog on the furniture (we have a yellow lab) since the fur goes everywhere, I can say that it vacuums up nicely and for doggie drool spots we've had good luck with just warm water and a sponge. We do have a cleaning solution we got when we purchased it, and we were able to use it to get some pen ink off with no problem. The sofa was pricier than we'd been used to, but we have had it for almost 5 years and sit on it every single day and the shape has held up beautifully. I rotate the seat cushions occasionally since DH and I tend to sit on either end. I can also vouch that it is extremely comfy to sleep on, as have several of our guests! We ended up with a dark brown color, but the variety of colors available was amazing. If we allowed Chloe on the couch I may have chosen something that 'matched' her fur ;-)

Re. the house: my heart will always be with older homes. I grew up in one, and owned a 1905 American Foursquare on my own for years before meeting DH. What drove us to make the move was the fact that we did not have (or have space for) a garage, and our driveway was one car wide. We also had looked into doing some kitchen/bath upgrades and realized that for what we wanted to spend we would price ourselves out of our neighborhood and still have no garage. So I guess it depends on locale and the lot.

While our new home lacks some of the character we loved in our older home, I do tell everyone that my favorite room is the 2 car garage- well, before our new kitchen went in that is! And the more open floor plan and extra baths/guest rooms make hosting our large families (all of whom are out of town) much more comfortable.
As we go through and update we are making an effort to bring some character into our "tract" home, but if it were the right house and the right location I would not hesitate to own an old beauty again.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 3:24PM
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Real, good leather doesn't show the cat claw punctures that inevitably do happen - but the leather sort of "heals" over them. If you have a cat who is determined to purposely scratch the leather they could damage it, but you can scratcher-train cats. Trimming claws short prevents damage too. Our cats don't scratch furniture but they do jump up on the arms/back and we don't trim their claws, and you can't see damage on our leather sofa and chair.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 4:22PM
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From my many years on this forum, the one thing I have learned is that cats will scratch any type of fabric. Some cats don't scratch certain materials, but if there is a fabric out there, there is a cat that will like to scratch it. Problem is, you don't know if your cat will scratch it until you've paid good money for it and it's being victimized in your living room.

We've just ordered a slipcovered sofa and my philosophy is that if the cat damages it, I can order a new cover in the future. I'm thinking of ordering extra fabric to tack over top of the corners if it does turn out she likes to scratch this fabric. My husband's solution would be to just never get new furniture, but that doesn't work for me.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 6:51PM
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I don't know.. I don't recommend a high end leather. I purchased a sofa and upgraded the leather to a "butter soft" version that did not stand up well to my dogs. They didnt scratch or damage it but the oils from their fur turned the color. As I understand it, the top quality leathers don't have the kind of treatment to the hide so it is very susceptible to stains. I had a very well behaved rottweiler and a golden.. one had cancer and one was very old. Perhaps I should have kept them off the sofa but I didnt have the heart-- and I specifically bought leather because I was told it was the most durable with pets.

I have a "stock leather" on a chair in the same room-- one the dogs also liked to curl up on -- and it looks brand new.

I should also note that I had very good luck with my previous sofa which was a microfiber. Do note that not all microfibers are alike. I thought mine looked gorgeous-- right up until it didnt. It lasted about 6 yr before it started to look worn-- but I paid less than $1000 for it so I was pleased with it's life.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 7:19PM
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My two cats don't scratch my furniture except for the kitchen chair cushions, maybe they like the rough texture. They don't do anything to the microfiber sofa or the leather chairs. The leather chairs I have had for about 10 years now and they look good as new. They are Natuzzi, so certainly not top end leather, but they certainly have held up well. Oddly enough, we never sit in them so maybe that is why they still look nice. They really are easy to clean the dog hair and drool off of. I think my experience with the microfiber couch is similar to funkyart, it looked great, until it didn't. It was inexpensive, so I have certainly got my use out of it. If I get something new, at this point I don't think there is any way to keep the dogs off of it, nor would I want to actually. I just want to find something that will take the abuse the best. I am starting to think that is leather.

Going back to the older houses, we looked around a bit today at some open houses. Of course I noted the owner's furnishings and noticed a wide variety of furnishings. I was amazed at how many did skew towards the contemporary, even in the Tudors and colonials. Maybe it is not "period" but it looked fine.

Labbie - what you are saying certainly rings true about the updating. We are not DIYers. We don't have the skill, time, or patience. At the very least I want updated electrical, plumbing, and central air and heat. Cosmetic improvements and reconfiguring we can certainly do (well pay somebody to do) . It is funny what you say about over improving, in my current neighborhood I feel like I am locked in to what I can do, but in the more established neighborhoods there is a huge range in prices, styles, etc.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 7:59PM
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So true- the main reason we were able to buy in to the neighborhood we are in is because we bought the "dog" of the neighborhood. A great neighborhood and good house in need of only cosmetics = just what we could handle. By putting in a new kitchen and (eventually) new bath, we will be about on par with what other homes here are currently selling for.

The opposite was true in our old neighborhood. Because of our challenging driveway/no-garage situation we had to have everything else sparkling to even be considered by buyers. We'd updated all the 'non fun' items- electrical, roof and exterior paint, all of which we had to hire out. We worked ourselves to death inside freshening paint, minor repairs and staging. That is the extent of our DIY skills! Luckily we got buyers who came from NYC who were thrilled to even have off-street parking, and they were able to appreciate all the 'non fun' updates since they'd been looking for an older home and found several with updated kitchens but the rest of the house falling down around it.

I wish you luck in your search- the right old home is a gem!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 9:01PM
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If you're not a big fan of leather for a sofa and the dogs have their own leather chair's, and you all are messy eaters at times, lol, why not get two TV trays?

I do that all the's just the two of us now..and I can scoot the tray towards me so I can lean on the back of the sofa.

Then you can get the sofa of your choice. I'm extrememly picky about sofa material when it comes to summer. So that's another thought if you all get hot summers.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 7:21AM
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