The dirty little truth about decorating with kids and pets!

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Got kids and/or grandkids? Got fur babies or pets? Most of us do so let’s get real when it comes to design and decorating! Check out my best tips on how to choose great decorating elements for your rooms and keep the children and pets happy at the same time!


Shop for upholstered pieces that are stain and wear resistant! Natural fibers like cotton and linen are not the best choices here. But synthetic fibers, such as Sunbrella and Crypton (think outdoor fabrics for indoors) are hard wearing and virtually never wear out! If the sofa, chair or ottoman is not available in these fabrics, have them treated with Wear Guard or any other factory applied soil and stain treatment. It only adds a couple of hundred dollars to the piece but you’ll get a lot of mileage out of it before you need to spot clean.

We have a full and extensive line of Crypton and other Performance Fabrics!

We have a full and extensive line of Crypton and other Performance Fabrics!

Pay attention to “cleaning codes” on upholstery. You need to know if you can spot clean with water or only a solvent cleaner. Slipcovers are another way to go, they are easy to maintain in that you can wash them in your washing machine but do not put them in the dryer…especially if they are cotton or linen. Just hang them on the line to dry and place them back on the furniture slightly damp. Spray with Scotchgaurd and bam you’ve got a new sofa.

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Steer clear of mirrored or glass surfaces, they are higher maintenance and more dangerous if you have children. And you’ll be forever wiping away little fingerprints and paw marks off of the piece. So let that go and buy wood finished furniture. It’s more forgiving and if you get the distressed finished (and I would definitely do this) the nicks and scrapes added by children simply enhance the look! Tip; Murphy’s oil soap is the perfect biodegradable cleaner for wood or laminate furniture. It cleans beautifully and leaves a pleasant clean fragrance and very economical.



Choose real hardwood instead of engineered products because it’s easier and less costly to refinish in the future than to repurchase new! Real hardwood lasts a lifetime and you can soften it up with area rugs or large pieces of bound carpet. Carpet with nylon fibers is the most stain and soil resistant, while providing great texture retention.

Indoor-outdoor rugs are also a great solution as well. When soiled, they can simply be taken outside and literally hosed off with soap and water. The other great benefit to indoor-outdoor rugs is that they are actually less expensive than indoor rugs. So you can go for a great trendy pattern which can be colorful and practical at the same time. Go for it!



With kids and pets, walls can take a beating! So paint them in an eggshell finish. It’s the easiest all around paint finish because it cleans with warm soapy water. For kitchen cabinets a high gloss is the most durable and washable paint. Benjamin Moore has an exclusive paint for cabinets and furniture called Advance. It takes little prior prepping, no odor and water clean-up. It wears like iron and any of the Benjamin Moore colors can be made in the Advance formula. If you live in the Tri-Valley area of the San Francisco East Bay check-out the Professional Paint Center in Dublin for Benjamin Moore Paint.



Having raised 2 children and countless dogs and cats in my home and I’m a “clean fanatic”! I have learned from experience the hard way. And I’m here to tell you if you use the above guidelines, you’ll be happy and so will the kids and the pets.