By Alex B., Designer

As COVID has kept most of us at home this past year, I’ve noticed many of my friends and family members have adopted a four-legged friend during this time. And they’re not alone.

According to 2020 research by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 67% of households in the United States own at least one pet, which is a 10% increase from the 57% they found in 2018.

With pet ownership on the rise, I’ve also noticed an increase in clients that are searching for ways to make their households more functional, welcoming, and safe for their pets and their families. And as a mama to two medium-sized dogs myself, I feel the exact same way. While there is tons of inspiration online, below are some of my favorite practical and easy-to-incorporate ideas, whether you’re doing a full room remodel or just a refresh.

1. Fabric

If you’re anything like me, there’s a chance you’re fighting the battle of pet hair management on a daily basis. Even if you are blessed enough to have a non-shedding breed, the toughness of fabric to withstand possible accidents and muddy paws is a huge consideration.
CHOOSE fabrics on couches, bedspreads, and drapes that match the color of your pet’s fur to help it blend in between deep cleans. Look for pieces that are also meant to be washed, like removable couch cushion seats and backs. Smooth textures like leather and synthetic fibers are also excellent for repelling fur and cleaning up messes.

AVOID delicate materials like silk that can be ruined by dirt and claws. Shy away from pet-hair magnets such as velvet, corduroy, and thick shags unless you can keep your furry friend off the furniture.

2. Flooring

Pets love to play, and if you live in a cold climate like Wisconsin, they tend to play indoors more often than not. Whether it’s the inevitable weather, potty training or claws, pet owners know from quick experience that certain floors work better than others.

CHOOSE hearty floors, especially in mudroom/porch areas, like tile, sheet linoleum, commercial-grade vinyl, cement, terrazzo, or stone.

AVOID light and solid-colored carpets, especially while your pet is potty training. Also avoid floors that scratch and dent easily, like cheap vinyl, painted wood floors, and soft wood floors like pine*.

*I absolutely love old houses, and sometimes you inherit wood floors, whether hard or soft. Regardless of whether you live with a pet or not, wood floors can dent and be scratched over time. Rather than covering your lovely original floor all the way over, I suggest homeowners use large, washable area rugs, hall runners, and stair treads to protect the original beauty from the everyday wear and tear of life.

3. Functionality

A pet-friendly home is also a tidy home. Having hidden, easy access to all your pet’s needs keeps them convenient to use and out of the way when not needed. A bit of organization and planning can go a long way in this regard.

CHOOSE to have your pet’s everyday items stored where they will be used most often. Built-in food bowls in a kitchen drawer. Aquarium cleaning supplies and food are stored in a dedicated cabinet space. Leashes on a dedicated hook in the foyer closet. Toys are hidden away inside a stylish chest or coffee table. This keeps them out of sight yet within arm’s reach. A win for all!

AVOID placing these items in a hard-to-reach space, even if it is hidden. You know yourself the best. I’m a short individual, so placing my pet items on the top shelf of an upper cabinet means that I won’t want to use them often, since it’s inconvenient for me to reach them. Understand your needs so you can meet your pet’s needs.

4. Pet-Proofing

Like humans, pets have their own individual quirks. Thankfully, you can design around those individual behaviors with a little bit of forethought.

CHOOSE to counteract your pet’s bad habits. Hide the trash can in a kitchen cabinet if they get into the garbage. Use a bar-height kitchen table if your dog likes to counter surf for food. Use furniture with metal legs rather than wood if your pet is a chewer or a scratcher. Build a soffit over upper kitchen cabinets if your cat likes to go exploring up there (and shouldn’t be). Simply countering bad behavior may be the best thing you can do for your pet and your sanity.

AVOID permanent fixtures in the home, like a dedicated puppy training pad spot, if you are not planning to utilize it in the long run.

5. Have Fun

That is what having a pet is all about. Whether it’s a pet washing station in the laundry room, a built-in aquarium in the living room, or a pet nook under the stairs, the possibilities are endless.

CHOOSE to incorporate projects that will make you and your pet happy. A tall fence for running around outside, an indoor/porch aviary for your feathered friend, a window at pet-viewing height for observing the yard, and easy access to toys is a great place to start. Pet-themed décor and art is also a joy to have in the home, especially if it’s personalized.

AVOID ideas that are hard to clean or hard to use. Once again, you know yourself best. No matter how wonderful the feature is, if it seems difficult or cumbersome to utilize or take care of it, then chances are you won’t.

There are a million ways to make your home the ideal sanctuary for the whole family. Through a little bit of personal observation, research and imagination, I guarantee you can create more harmony at home through your pet-friendly interior.

Contact us today to learn more pet-friendly interiors!