3 Don'ts for Living Stylishly With a Pet

Don't let your house go to the dogs and the cats. Follow these tips and you can have a beautiful home that's pet-friendly.

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Pet-friendly decorating is about putting easy-to-clean ceramic tile on your floor, upholstering your furniture with hairball-resistant fabric and matching wall colors to your parrot's feathers so he'll feel more at home. Considering U.S. pet owners spent $36 billion last year on their animals, it's no surprise they're adapting their homes to better suit their beloved creatures.

Our two experts, Julia Szabo, pet columnist for the New York Post and author of Animal House Style: Designing A Home To Share With Your Pets (www.animalhousestyle.com), and Chicago interior designer Nan Ruvel, who designs pet-friendly interiors for her clients, have these three tips to share:

1. Don't decorate with breakable tchotchkes.

Fragile items and animals don't mix. One bat of a dog's tail or swat of a cat's paw will send your collection of Will-George flamingo figurines skittering across the room like bowling pins. "If you must collect something, collect cast iron doorstops," Julia Szabo says. "Put them where your dog won't trip over them. They look great in a room, and your pets can't hurt them."

Nan Ruvel suggests displaying fragile valuables in a china cabinet with glass-panel doors. "That way, you can see them, but your pet can't break them," she says.

Instead, spend your decorating dollars on framed prints, photos and paintings, Julia says. "Art hangs on the walls, out of reach of your pets."

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