Pets have become more than just guard dogs or mouse chasers to most of society, they have become friends and companions. Living with our four legged children brings happiness and some unique challenges when it comes to the way our homes look. It’s no wonder that you can find more and more ways to accommodate, accessorize, and modify your home to be pet friendly.
If you want the basic essentials for interior decorating, there are a few basic rules:
1. Nothing touching the floor should be white, even white leather can become stained and 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. This is especially true if the table has accessories on it or the animal is young, if the item is of particular value to you, put it up where it is safe (mantles or high shelves will do).
For flooring, my preference is hard surface flooring like a 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. This will entertain your cat or dog for hours and cost you hundreds to replace.
There are many ways to accessorize your home to be pet friendly, particularly where you have cabinets. In a space not often seen, you can remove the doors to a larger cabinet an put your animals cage in it to free up floor space, 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 redoing cabinets, consider a five-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, it makes it extremely convenient to take good care of your animals.
You can modify your house plans to accommodate one of your pet’s most basic needs, like needing to be let outside or into a room where they have food or a litter box, there is the trusty doggy door (which is also used for cats). What was once a standard model with just a soft plastic flap has now become more advanced and secure with the use of magnets or other safety devices. The way it works it that the animal that is allowed to go in and out has a transmitter on his or her collar which opens the door, otherwise no one goes in or out. As far as litter box options, there is one client I worked with was building a house and actually had a “cat room” in the plans. The small 4-foot by 4-foot room off the garage had a designated place for the cat box, a toilet (she used flushable litter), and a hand washing station. To this day it is still on of the most ingenious installations I have seen, and being an animal lover, I plan to put one of these rooms in my new home too.
If you are really a pet person and are renovating or rebuilding a home, consult a design professional for some ideas on how to make your home really pet accessible and get the most out of your budget.