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Interior Decorating with Pets in Mind

November 19, 2008 ·

Pets have become more than just guard dogs or mouse-chasers to most of society; they have become friends and companions. It’s no wonder that you can find more and more ways to accommodate, accessorize, and modify your home to be pet-friendly.

Here are a few basic rules if you want the essentials for interior decorating:

  1. Nothing touching the floor should be white; even white leather can become stained or scratched.
  2. Use black sparingly. Getting light colored fur off of black furnishings and pillows is never fun.
  3. Bold or bright colors will show more hair than softer neutrals.
  4. Absolutely no velvet anywhere! If your animal sheds, this might as well be a hair magnet.

As for tables, try to find some that are sturdy or weighted, you never know when something may get bumped or run into. Put any accessories up where they are safe (mantles or high shelves will work).

For flooring, it’s preferable to use a hard surface like sealed stone (no slate!), hard wood, or engineered flooring. If you must have carpet, be sure to purchase cut pile, not loop pile. If loop pile gets snagged, the carpet will unravel, and this will surely entertain your cat or dog for hours and cost you hundreds to replace.

In a space not often seen, remove the doors to a larger cabinet and put your animal’s cage in it to free up valuable floor space (something many of us “Wood Street” homeowners are familiar with). This is a great idea for utility rooms that double as pet care centers. For a nicer look, you can have someone build the cage into the cabinet, but this could be a bit pricey. If you are re-doing cabinets, consider a multi-drawer cabinet in which the bottom drawer pulls out and houses the food and water bowls. If company comes over, simply slide the drawer into the cabinet and hide the mess. Think also of food storage, and get one cabinet with a built-in trash can or two, and store pet food in the cabinet next to the bowls.

You can modify your house plans to accommodate one of your pet’s most basic needs — needing to be let outside or into a room where they have food or a litter box. Usually there’s a trusty doggy door (which is also used for cats), but what was once a standard model with a soft plastic flap has now become more advanced with transmitters and automation. A transmitter can be applied to the pet’s collar which opens when the pet nears the door.  There are pros and cons to the transmitter: pro is that only your pet will gain access, thereby leaving those pesky raccoons outside; con is that some transmitters are too large for smaller pets and if the transmitter fails, your pet may be barricaded on one side or the other of the pet door.

So if you’re renovating or building a home from scratch, consult a design professional for some ideas on how to make your home really pet accessible and get the most out of your budget. Good luck!