if you have cats then cat scratching posts are a necessary evil. rarely are they good-looking, but beware if you try to go without one. that sweet little room and board couch may end up looking a bit too shabby-chic if you aren't careful.
of course you could try this method - oddly cats are really freaked out by alumninum foil - but that's a bit labor intensive.
the other day i shelled out for the [horribly named] Purr-fect Post, which looks better than its $30 competitors at the local pet store (and admittedly work like a charm), but still leaves a bit to be desired, aesthetically anyway:
but then i found square cat habitat.
based in portland, oregon, sqh was born out of the desire to integrate cat furniture into a modern home - to have it accent an aesthetic rather than work against it. i like that.