How to Have a Pretty Sofa While Also Having Dogs, Cats, and Kids

Thanks to Havertys for sponsoring this post!

For a long time, we’ve regarded sofas as more or less disposable. It seemed impossible to keep them in decent shape for any length of time, between kids spilling stuff, cats scratching, and dogs….smelling like dogs–so we spent many years picking up super cheap sofas on Craigslist or at thrift stores and then holding on to them until they’d taken all the abuse they could stand.

Here’s one of the few pictures I’ve taken of our current super cheap sofa:

So poofy! So brown! Both ugly AND uncomfortable: a winning combination if ever there was one. This is part of a couch and loveseat set that we got from Goodwill awhile back, and apparently it was the last straw: after living with these couches for a couple of years, we’re done.

We want a REAL sofa.

But we still have dogs and cats and now even MORE kids! What to do? One advantage to owning approximately 400 sofas in twelve years, is that we’ve tried out a lot of different sofas and learned a lot about which kinds hold up the best to life in our house. Armed with all of this real life research, I’m now prepared to offer my list of……

The Three Best Types of Sofas for Homes that are Tough on Sofas

1. Microfiber/Micro Suede:

Havertys Parker Sectional

One good thing about our latest ugly sofa is that it’s how we discovered that microfiber is remarkably durable. It’s easy to clean, resists stinkiness better than other fabrics, and our cats are not the least bit interested in scratching it (I guess because their claws just kind of poke through; it doesn’t SHRED in a satisfying way like a woven fabric). It also tends to be relatively inexpensive.

To be honest, microfiber isn’t the fabric I’d choose if I lived alone in a house somewhere with no animals or kids….BUT there are some really nice looking options out there these days in microfiber, and I’d rather have a nice microfiber sofa that lasts for years than, say, a blue velvet sofa that my cats destroy within a month. The Parker from Havertys has nice clean modern lines and a tufted seat. I’m a sucker for tufting.

2. Leather

Havertys Avondale

This one surprised me a little. We have a hand-me-down leather sofa in our sunroom, and it’s holding up really well. Of course, I knew it would be great as far as stains not soaking in and all that, but I was worried that the cats would go crazy on it. But they don’t! They leave it alone! Your mileage may vary, of course, but a leather sofa has been a great fit for our house.

And a leather Chesterfield like this one is pretty much my favorite sofa in all the world. How can something so lovely co-exist happily with cats?! (notice that the cats get more attention in my “things that destroy sofas” musings than dogs and kids do. There’s a reason for that. And its name is cats).

3. Slipcovered

Havertys Windsail

Here we have the rare type of sofa that I haven’t actually tried out myself. But my mother, who fosters dogs and regularly has seven or eight of them living in her house, swears by slipcovers. And it makes total sense: you can take the slipcovers off and wash them whenever you need to, and if they become damaged beyond repair (or you want a new look) you can get new ones for much less than what you’d spend on a new sofa. Slipcovered sofas tend to have a pretty traditional look, but, as you can see with the Windsail, that means they can blend in with most decorating styles pretty seamlessly.

I don’t know yet which of these types of sofa we’ll end up with (I have my fingers crossed that we’ll be able to get a new sofa maybe as a Christmas present to ourselves), but I’m excited to leave our days of ugly, disposable sofas behind! I feel so grown up just thinking about it.

Have you ever bought a beautiful yet uninteresting to cats tufted leather sofa at Havertys? Or something else? Share your Havertys purchases on Instagram with the hashtag #HavertysInspired

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Havertys. The opinions and text are all mine.


How to Have a Pretty Sofa While Also Having Dogs, Cats, and Kids — 11 Comments

  1. I too have that ugly brown overstuffed couch but it’s comfortable and microfiber. You’re right about the cats not really being interested. My brothers cats shredded his leather chair…bison.

  2. I am thinking concrete sofa. I have 9 cats. The leather sofa we currently have is beyond cat-distressed at this point. Need to think WAY out of the box.

  3. burgundy leather sofa …. 8 years old ……We are now shopping for a new sofa.
    This is what happened to the one mentioned above
    -color faded due to sunny floor to ceiling windows in our condo
    -bottom corners damaged from teeth of former pet rabbit
    -holes in side from husbands power wheel chair bumping it a few times
    -leather damaged from former pet bird landing on it and pooping (even though we wiped it right away)
    -scratched from dog jumping on it and doing spinners
    -spit up on by babies
    -spilled on by toddlers

    please send help LOL!!!!!!

  4. nervous about making a financial investment in a nice sofa as i think I will want to post guards around it to keep it looking nice!!!!

  5. I have a slip covered couch and love seat. This works pretty well. I have a great pyrenees and a black lab. They are in and out of the house. Their paws are what cause my problem. They both have huge paws and claws. The fabric on my couch is twill. It takes about 3 hours to take all slipcovers off and wash and dry. Be careful washing and drying. I wash on cold and dry on low to avoid shrinkage. The couch comes out practically looking new, well almost.

    • We ended up with a Karlstad from Ikea….which has removable covers, but not the kind you want to be taking off over and over again, as they’re kind of a pain to get back on. We’ve had to wash one, though, and it wasn’t too bad….and very nice that we COULD take it off and wash it (after an animal-related mess)

  6. I see the post here are older, but I’m going to post anyway, just in case, someone like me, looking for answers comes across it.

    We bought our leather sofa and loveseat about 7 years ago. The last 20 years, it’s all we’ve owned. We have 3 boys, and when they were growing up, they were extremely ruff on furniture. Dirty shoes, baseball, football, uniforms, plopping down, without thought to the dirt and grime covering their little bodies. We’ve also, always had a couple of cats and a dog. My mother never allowed animals on the furniture, but I have probably been a big instigator in this, in my own home, due to the snuggle factor.

    With kids grown and gone, we still have the animals. Our older tom, began to pick at the corner of my brown sofa. I used a water bottle, and sprayed him, yelled at him, that worked well while we were home, but when we weren’t, that corner, the back of sofa, the sides, became fair game. Clawing and picking, is a cats calling card, or one of them. I soon noticed, the other cat was doing the same thing. Heart sick, I began looking to replace furniture, yet again. My hubby pointed out, that the same thing would happen again, so why waste the money. I began researching fixes. I found many helpful videos on YouTube. I found you could use dog clippers, without the guard, to shave the picks and pulls from the leather. Then using 180 grit sandpaper, lightly sand area as smooth as possible. Your fingertips will know when it’s as good as its going to get. I got a kit from Walmart automotive, section. It had filler for leather and vinyl. It also had paints. I used the chart and mixed paint till it matched. Let me tell you, those areas look almost new. At times, I have to run my hand over them to even find them. Also, something about the filler and perhaps the smell…the cats don’t even go near. It’s tedious, but if you have good sofas…it’s worth the time spent and so much cheaper than replacement.

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