Skip to main content

Style Magazine

Animal House

Feb 26, 2015 03:16PM ● By Kerrie Kelly
As much as we love them, it’s easy to forget our furry friends when we’re remodeling or redesigning. Pet doors and beds are obviously important, but a pet-friendly design strategy goes a long way toward creating a more harmonious household. With a little work and imagination, you can create a stylish space that’s comfortable, convenient and clean.

1/Floors and Furniture

Hard surface floors are the way to go for all the reasons you might guess. With hardwood, laminate, or tile flooring, maintenance is much simpler—even when pets are coming and going all day. Keeping your furniture dander, dirt, and fur free can be simple with the right equipment on hand. Invest in a vacuum designed for pet owners, and keep a few color-complementary throws on hand. Tossing them stylishly over your pet’s favorite sofa or chair makes a big difference without compromising your personal style.


2/Space of Their Own

To avoid feeling that your pets have taken over the house, you need to make sure they have a space of their own. A few extra pet beds in high-traffic rooms is a good start, but dedicating a corner for sleeping, eating and indoor/outdoor access is also key to remaining master of the house. Mudrooms and laundry rooms are great choices, but the kitchen or home office can work, too. Converting a low cabinet into a pet apartment gives them a home base that looks like a custom finish just for Fido. Remove the cabinet door completely for easy access, or leave it to make your cleaning routine that much simpler.

3/Pet Doors

If you don’t want to feel like the pets have you on a leash, a pet door is key. These days, they can be installed in an exterior door or window, but it’s becoming more common to have them installed directly into an exterior wall. On the inside, some molding around the opening and a flap that matches the surrounding area keeps the space looking like it’s your own. Our favorite trend with pet doors are those hidden in a built-in cabinet, such as a media cabinet, that connects to an exterior wall. Throw in a stylish pet bed and a little custom paint or wallpaper, and you’ve created a special space.

4/Feeding Station

Feeding is a messy affair for even the best pets, which is why creating a dedicated space is ideal; the alternative is to hide the feeding station and have a little fun with it. Here again, giving up a little lower cabinet space is often worth the trade off, where dog dishes can be set into holes cut through the bottom of the cabinet and the whole affair disappears behind a cabinet door. Our favorite trend is custom drawers with built-in feeding dishes that pull out during chow time and close up immediately after.


5/Washing Station

Especially for people living in more rugged environments, a monthly trip to the groomer just doesn’t cut it. A half-shower tiled in right next to the washer and dryer uses the same plumbing hookups and keeps the mess—and the pets—contained. The key is a low threshold into the shower to keep you from having to catch and carry your pets. If that’s not an option, consider lowering the threshold to one of the existing showers in the house, which has the added benefit of helping the human inhabitants as they age in the home.
Kerrie L. Kelly is an award-winning interior designer, author and multimedia consultant. She has authored two books: ‘Home Décor: A Sunset Design Guide,’ published by Oxmoor House, and ‘My Interior Design Kit,’ with Pearson Professional and Career Education. To contact her, visit or call 916-919-3023.