Best Sofa for Pet-Friendly Short Term Vacation Rental

Recently my sister and her husband purchased an income property in Florida to use as a short term vacation rental. They invited me to help furnish and decorate their new home, keeping in mind that they want to make it a welcoming space for families with pets. 

When purchasing furnishings for a pet-friendly, short-term rental vacation home, we want to find a sofa (or couch) that meets the following criteria:

  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Easy to Remove Pet Fur
  • Stain-Resistant
  • Affordable

After searching, we came up with four sofas that tick all of our boxes.

We have a few more weeks, before we actually purchase anything. So how did we decide on these particular pieces? Read on for more details about our selection process:

Pet-Friendly Sofa Vetting – There’s a Learning Curve

When furnishing a vacation rental home, there are a few big-ticket items that warrant buying the best quality option that your budget will allow. One of these furnishings is your sofa. (Is it a sofa or couch? Here’s a quick answer from Apartment Therapy to satisfy your just-now-piqued curiosity.)

Your sofa will most likely be one of the first things your guest will see, and it will also be the most sat-upon piece of furniture in your living space. With this in mind, you want your sofa to be visually appealing, comfortable, and super easy to clean if you are allowing pets up on the furniture. 

So how does one find a sofa that meets one’s requirements?

  1. Research online to get a feel for what sofa choices are out there. After my sister and I talked, we both browsed that worldwide shopping mall called the Internet and pinned our favorites on our collaborative Pinterest board. We discovered I lean traditional/curvy and she likes clean lines: good to know before going deeper in our quest for the perfect sofa! I adjusted my search queries accordingly, and we continued on.
  2. Determine what material you want for your sofa. Overwhelmingly, pet owners recommend leather for ease of cleaning and durability. Leather is one material that can look even better with time and usage than it did brand new as it gains a beautiful, rich patina. And there is no material from which it is easier to remove pet fur. Even if your vacation rental guests are used to dog hair on their furnishings at home, they do not want to deal with that when they are on vacation!
  3. Once you’ve researched your options, establish a budget. How much can you afford to spend on your couch? For many of us, this factor will drive our ultimate decision.
  4. Other items to note:
    • Size: will it fit in the space? Measure and mark out the dimensions on the floor of the living area if possible.
    • Delivery Options: Free Shipping? Third party shipping? Will the delivery company bring the piece in or leave it curbside? Will it come fully assembled? Will it fit through the door? 
    • Turnaround Time: Some pieces of furniture take 4-6 weeks from date ordered to date delivered. Make sure you know when your sofa will be delivered so that you (or someone you trust) can be there to meet the delivery company.

Pet-Friendly Furniture Material Options

As stated above, leather is king when it comes to the material for your sofa. But maybe you don’t like leather, or genuine leather is out of your budget (faux/synthetic leather tends to flake or break down over time, so be advised to steer clear). 

Are there any other options?

This article from Apartment Therapy breaks down your choices in detail but to summarize, if leather is not in the cards, here are some good alternatives:

  • Tightly-woven material like denim, canvas, or a performance-type fabric (such as Crypton, Revolution or Sunbrella). 
  • A slipcover for your sofa that can be removed for washing. There are a lot of really good options for slipcovered sofas available; however, if you are hiring a cleaning service to clean your rental space between guests, you will want to discuss with them beforehand if they would be able to clean the slipcover and if any additional charges will be involved. 
  • A blanket for your sofa that’s just for Fido (quick tip: train your pup to only sit on the blanket by putting it down and inviting him up. If he hops on the sofa when the blanket is not down, move him off, put the blanket down, and invite him back up. He’ll quickly learn that the blanket is the key to sofa-surfing bliss!) Keep in mind that the blanket option will only work if your vacation rental guests adhere to this policy.
  • Don’t rule out shopping for a Secondhand Leather sofa. Check consignment stores near your vacation rental home, or peruse Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.
    • A caveat: Buying secondhand furniture is definitely a bit of a gamble, though sometimes you can find great options in excellent used condition that you would not have been able to afford otherwise. If the price is right, this may be a great fit for your budget and your space. Just be careful and thoroughly inspect the sofa for holes, breaks in the frame, smushed cushions or a general disheveled appearance. This sofa is making a statement about the level of comfort you are providing to your guests, and you don’t want it to be something that shows up in your reviews as a less than enjoyable experience.

We decided that a leather sofa was really the only way we wanted to go. Armed with that knowledge, 

We narrowed it down to these four options:

  1. Poly & Bark Napa Sofa : Napa Sofa
    • 38″D x 88.5″W x 34.5″H
    • Clean, modern lines with 2 loose bolsters. 
    • Minimally processed hides that already show patina and variety (great to camouflage any additional scratches or scuffs)
    • Positive, Recent Reviews
    • Free Shipping and Free Returns (peace of mind guaranteed if we do not love it in our space)
  2. West Elm Hamilton Leather 3-Seater Sofa: west elm hamilton sofa
    • 35.8”D x 81″W x 31.5″H
    • Three cushions instead of two 
    • A bit smaller than the Poly & Bark Napa.
    • Beautiful color and Profile
    • Additional charge for Shipping & Return
  3. Poly & Bark Nolita Sofapoly & bark nolita sofa
    • 85″W x 34.25″D x 35.5″H
    • Mid-century fabulous
    • Angled wood legs
    • Free Shipping & Free Returns
  4.  Poly & Bark Argan Leather Sofapoly & bark argan sofa
    • 93″W x 35″L x 29″H
    • Bigger than the others
    • Low slung, sleek profile
    • Free Shipping & Free Returns

All of these look like great options. Poly & Bark at time of writing are sold out of the Nolita and the Argan, so hopefully they will come back in stock pretty quickly. You can sign up to be notified when they are available again. (I did.)

When searching, it looks like the Article website had virtually the same sofas as Poly & Bark for a slightly increased price and not as generous return policy. At time of writing, the Coronavirus is impacting production and delivery, so we will have to see how that affects us in ordering furniture; some items are delayed 12-16 weeks in delivery, which would take some of our choices out of the running. 

Related Questions: Sectional? Sleeper Sofa? Pros and Cons of Each

Sectional sofas are currently enjoying a lot of favorable attention. While they are a great option if you are working with a tight space, they also are not as flexible as traditional sofas in terms of arrangement options and that corner area in a sectional can also feel a little awkward or unusable. We opted to rule out sectionals for this particular living area.

Sleeper sofas (sofa with a pull-out bed) are also an excellent option for vacation rental homes. Many vacation rental owners like to offer a sleeper sofa to increase occupancy. A sleeper sofa was not appealing for us because we have plenty of beds and do not want to promote a larger crowd than appropriate. However, if your vacation rental needs the flexibility of an additional sleeping space, a sleeper sofa may be just the ticket!

Pet-friendly vacation rentals are a desirable commodity for vacationers who enjoy bringing their pets along on trips, so it’s important to furnish your space with those furry little friends in mine. A sofa that is friendly to pets and their owners will be a great asset in your new vacation rental listing!


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