Good news, pet parents: You can have your furry friend and a beautiful home, too. Although dogs and cats (and other furry friends) make their fair share of messes, the trick is to incorporate design elements into your space that are easy to clean, durable, functional, and chic. Needless to say, if you're searching for pet-friendly decorating ideas, you're certainly not alone.
In fact, interior designers say that there's a rise in the trend. "With pets such a common part of many modern-day households, consumers now look to include design elements into their homes that are pet-friendly," says Amber Dunford, a design psychology expert and the lead home decor stylist at Overstock.com. "We like to get to know our clients' pets and see how they use the home to ensure we’re selecting the right elements to keep the home from looking dirty and worn out quickly."
Yes, with a few key strategies, you, too can keep things tidy and stylish. Ahead, hear from interior designers who always decorate with their clients’ pets in mind. From instant upgrades you can tackle in a day to investing in quality furniture built to withstand messes, to home renovations that cater to your companion, these ideas are as trendy as they are practical.
Find Chic Storage Solutions
Just like humans, pets have stuff, so why not stock up on storage that goes with your decor? "I love using beautiful storage baskets for pet toys that are low to the ground, so you can train your pup to put away their own toys," says Jade Joyner, co-founder and principal designer at Metal + Petal. Similarly, Abbe Fenimore, founder and interior designer at Studio Ten 25, suggests creating "designated spaces for toys with cute bins and baskets, as well as wall hooks, to keep leashes tidy and easy to grab."
"It’s a sweet touch to see a row of beautiful glass canisters that include cooking supplies/foods along with dog treats," adds Dunford. "Many people even keep their dog food in attractive storage bins in their well-curated pantry."
Upgrade Your Pet's Essentials
However, not everything has to be tucked away. Items that must be accessible for four-legged family members can double as home design elements that fit your taste. "Pet beds, food dishes, and even litter boxes have become much more stylish over the years and have been designed to blend seamlessly into the home," Dunford says. She continues, "Litter boxes are always tricky when it comes to integrating them into a home. However, there are some clever options available that, at a glance, pass as furniture and function as a regular side table." Other multi-purpose pieces include side or coffee tables that double as crates for pets of any size.
And if you're looking to make some more permanent changes, consider your pet's needs when it comes to home renovations. "I recently turned a forgotten mudroom bathroom into a pet shower," Joyner recalls. "I also outfitted the mudroom with personalized lockers for each family member, including the cats and dogs, creating a place to stash food, bowls, leashes, and toys." Other ideas include finishing nooks underneath staircases, or adding a low, pull-out kitchen drawer with built-in holders for food bowls, which can pushed in — and out of the way — once Fido is done eating.
Be Mindful Of Flooring
You can easily brighten up a room with the simple addition of an area rug, but with anyone with a four-legged friend knows they have a tendency to track the outside in with them. Whether it's mud, snow, or little "gifts" from your cat, the best materials for foot (and paw) traffic are ones that are easy to clean. "Cowhide rugs and outdoor fabrics are great elements to include when working around pets," says Fenimore. "They are easy to keep clean and durable enough to withstand multiple cleanings." She recommends browsing Perennials Fabrics for indoor/outdoor rugs that remain stylish despite heavy use.
Another pro tip for tile flooring? "We use darker grout colors in areas where there will be heavy human and pet traffic, since white grout is not a great option for dirty shoes and paws," she says.
Choose Pet-Friendly Furniture
Whether you live with an endlessly shedding dog or a scratch-happy cat, furniture is one of the first things to get trashed. Joyner advises treating upholstery with fabric protector and incorporating indoor/outdoor furniture that's stain resistant and water repellant. And depending on your companion, consider how each piece will withstand weight, fur, and/or sharp claws. Add some chic throw pillows (which you can easily replace if they happen to get destroyed), and you've got a practical solution that still fits your taste.
But perhaps the simplest route is to invest in furniture that's specifically made with pets in mind. Kyle Hoff, co-founder of Floyd, explains how the furniture company makes its pieces virtually pet-proof. "The Sofa, for example, features a tight weave fabric which means it’s durable, doesn't hold onto most odors, and pet hairs won’t get stuck in between the threads. It’s also non-toxic and stain-resistant, which makes it super easy to wash spills, slobber, or the occasional accident with just water and maybe a little soap." He adds, "Cats tend to be pretty uninterested in the birch wood on our sofa and bed, so you don’t have to worry about them clawing on upholstery."
Add Animal-Themed Accents
“One of my favorite trends that gives homage to pets is the use of animals in wallpaper, art, and on textiles," Dunford says. "This can be found as repeating patterns of dogs, cats, or animal prints on a wallpaper, or a simple spotted print on a fabric or rug. Many pet lovers are also bringing in pillows, shower curtains, bedding or artwork that match the specific breed of their pet.”
Alternatively, you can also take a more understated approach. "For those not committed to dedicating an entire wall to their pet, a Dalmatian or cheetah print can be a subtle way to give nod to their furry friend," she advises.