Designing a Pet-Friendly Home

Imagine returning from a walk with your wellies caked in mud and a pup ready to greet you at the door. Now imagine that same entrance area without a custom washing station to keep it pristine.

Your furry friends are messy housemates and you need surfaces that can withstand claws, shedding and other debris. Try natural-looking but hardwearing options like woven vinyl and polypropylene.

Consider Your Pet’s Needs

While pets offer companionship and unconditional love, their presence in our lives is not without challenges. From muddy paw prints to dander and hair accumulation, it’s important to consider pet-friendly home design from the start.

Nan Ruvel, a designer in the Atlanta area, recommends building homes that have super-impervious materials. Her latest project is a dog-friendly house with a breakfast room converted into a mudroom. A doggie door is a convenient way to bring in dogs, and the porcelain tile flooring prevents tracking mud into the main living space.

Ruvel also suggests choosing stain-resistant fabrics for upholstery and rugs to minimise fur and hair buildup. She advises against carpeting, as it is a trap for lint and other debris. She prefers to use a hard, durable floor surface like vinyl, marble or ceramic tiles and terrazzo. Tile is cool to the touch and easy to clean, and it helps reduce dander and allergies. She also likes the idea of a recessed shelf where you can store leashes, food bowls and other supplies so they’re out of reach of curious pets.

Designate a Pet-Friendly Area

For many families with pets, a pet-friendly home isn’t just about the yard and doggie door. Interior design also plays an important role in making a house comfortable for pets and their owners.

In this example, a laundry room was converted into a mudroom and pet center with custom features to keep the area clean and organized. A lower cabinet door partially closes off the hallway that leads to the rest of the home, and wood bi-fold gates can be installed to further control the area.

A designated pet space is a great way to give your furry family members their own spot in the house, whether it’s for naps, eating or bathing. You can also add built-in shelves for pet supplies or a dog shower to wash away muddy paw prints and other debris without tracking it throughout the rest of the house. You may even want to plant an edible garden with pet-friendly plants like marigolds, snapdragons or fennel, which are not toxic to cats and dogs and can be a tasty supplement to their diets.

Create a Pet-Friendly Environment

With proper planning, pets can be a wonderful addition to your family and home. Incorporating pet-friendly design elements will make your day-to-day life with furry friends run more smoothly and ensure a healthy, comfortable environment for all.

For example, a mudroom can provide a place to clean off your dogs after a muddy walk and serve as a corralling zone to prevent them from wandering through other areas of the house. Similarly, a litter box can be designed to blend into the space as much as possible, with options available that at first glance could pass for side or coffee tables.

When it comes to flooring, opt for durable materials that are easy to wipe down and resist scratches from claws and nails. Rigid core planks are a great option as they hold up well to scratching and look just like hardwood. They also come in a variety of colors, so you can find the best fit for your home’s style.

Keep Your Furry Friends Clean

In the wake of COVID-19 and quarantine, many pet owners have discovered a renewed appreciation for the comforts of their furry companions. However, bringing pets back into your home can bring with it a host of interior design challenges if you aren’t prepared for them. From shedding to accidents and chewing, your pets may create damage that can leave rooms looking shabby.

Creating cozy pet spaces and limiting access to furniture and surfaces that can be destroyed will help prevent damage. Keep in mind that dogs like to dig their claws into fabric, and cats often chew things on tables and tabletops. Avoid keeping breakables like glassware and showpieces on tables within reach of your pets to protect them from accidents.

When designing a pet-friendly space, consider introducing more textured materials and fabrics that are easy to clean, such as leather furniture. These textures also won’t trap pet hair as easily as other fabrics. Also, look for a house and land offering with a large yard to give your pet a place to play and explore.

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