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Interior Design with Your Pet in Mind

Updated on December 20, 2012

Your pet is a big part of your home's visual appeal. Home and gardening magazines often feature pictures of whippets lounging casually on designer sofas or schnauzers snoozing by glowing fire places. Interior designers have figured out that a pet can make a great visual impact on your home.

What these magazines rarely show is the visual impact of pet bowls, crates, leashes, and toys. The visual appeal of a home can be greatly hindered by unattractive pet supplies. Before throwing everything belonging to your pet into the laundry room and calling it a day, take a look at these simple solutions that will help your home look like it came straight from a magazine - pet supplies and all.

Dog Bedding that Compliments Your Color Scheme

Pet Beds - Pet beds are a nice way to give your pet a designated space that is their own. When choosing a pet bed look specifically at the upholstery and accent colors in the room the bed will be in. The bed that I bought for my dog, Lily, is essentially an over sized pillow. The bottom of the bed picks up the green and blue accent colors in my blankets. The top of the bed picks up the oatmeal color of my papasan chair. I particularly love this dog bed because the cover comes off and can be thrown in the wash. Because it is so easy to wash it stays clean enough to double as a floor pillow - I think I use it more than Lily.

Additional Bedding - Towels make great additional bedding for your pet. Towels can be used to line kennels or they can be put on a shelf or window ledge for a cat to curl up on. I used to use old worn out towels for this, but I have found that splurging for cheap towels that pick up the accent colors in my room is worth it to create a more visually appealing affect.

Small throws and blankets are also good options to line kennels. Pictured below is a baby comforter that fits perfectly in the bottom of Lily's kennel and matches one of the throw blankets I keep on my bed.

Decorative Pet Food Bowls

Stainless Steel Pet Food Bowls- I particularly like stainless steel pet bowls because they have a clean and streamlined look. The type that have a stainless steel food and water bowl connected by a wire frame are nice because the frame gives the unit a sculptural quality. The frame also keeps the bowls together and contained so that they don't end up halfway across the house. For older animals these elevated bowls are especially nice because they alleviate some of the stress on the animal's spine.

Ceramic Pet Food Bowls - If the design of your home is less industrial, matching ceramic bowls may compliment your living area better. These tend to be heavier and as a result are less prone to sliding around. As far as design, simpler is better. A ceramic bowl that is a single color (as opposed to one covered in painted paw prints or fish) will blend in better with the rest of your home décor.

Dog Treat Containers

The packaging for pet treats is rarely a thing of beauty. Putting different types of treats in varied jars will create visual appeal so that pet treats can be left in a readily accessible location. Try tall jars for long rawhide sticks and shorter jars with wider opening for smaller treats.

Storing Pet Accessories

Collars - Lily has a dark pink and green collar. These two colors happen to be accent colors in my room. The accent colors in her color create a nice visual effect when she is inside. When shopping for a collar consider not only what will look good on your pet, but also what will look good with your décor. After all, your pet is in your house a great deal of the time.

Leashes - A leash can clutter up a space if it does not have a designated location. Choose a convenient location and attach a hook to the wall there to be used solely for the leash. This keeps the leash from getting lost under coats and scarves when it is crunch time and the dog really needs to go out. If you fold the leash in half and hang it by it's clip and handle off of the single hook the result is a neat and visually appealing line.

Storing Pet Toys

Pet Toy Box - To keep toys from cluttering up your floors, designate a box for your pets toys. I went with a little canvas box that matches some of the other storage in my room. I can tuck the toy box away in my shelving unit or leave it out so that Lily can pull out toys. It is nice to have a place to put all of the pet toys when you are cleaning or have guests over. If you are really dedicated you can teach your pet to return their toys to the box after they have played. After that the next logical step is to teach them to clean up after your children. And your husband. The possibilities are endless.

Choose the Right Pet Toys - Avoid toys that are shred-able, spill-able, or greasy. You do not want your pet's toys to destroy the work you have put into keeping your living area looking nice. I recently discovered elk antler dog bones - which make no mess and are less of a choking hazard than a pig ear or rawhide. Rubber chew toys are also a great option.

Storage for Pet Supplies

Pet Food - There is nothing less visually appealing than an opened bag of pet food. I use an air-tight storage container to store Lily's dog food. The container prevents the dog from thieving food, keeps the dog food smell from permeating the room, and the food stays fresh for longer. The container I have pictured here does an excellent job of holding a 16 lb bag of dog food.

Unsightly Pet Supplies - Unfortunately most pet supplies are not made to be pretty. Some things you just can not buy to be attractive, and when that is the case hiding them in a low traffic area is the best option. You can also designate a drawer or a storage container for pet medications, nail clippers, brushes, and things you do not use on a daily basis.

Pet Proofing Your Home

Covered Trash Cans - Covered trash cans prevent trash from ending up on your floor or in your pet's stomach. They also hide trash so that you do not have to look at it and keep the smells contained. Note: Do not teach your pet how to work the foot pedal. That would be counter productive.

Breakable Items - Put breakable and priceless items where your pet can not reach them. If your pet happens to be tall -or a cat- think long and hard about where those places may be.

Shedding - Invest in a good lint roller. Lint rollers are great for (small) rugs, furniture, and pillows. Brushing your pet outside on a regular basis can also help decrease the amount of fur that ends up in the house.

Dirt Prevention - Pets tend to track in dirt. This is a good reason to make sure that the outer surface of anything fabric that will come in contact with a pet is washable. A throw blanket on a bed, slip covers on a nice sofa, and area rugs in high traffic carpeted rooms will make cleaning as easy as throwing the items that come directly in contact with pets into the washer

Interested in Reading More?

Living at a Pet Friendly College - Takes a look at the benefits of college dorms allowing students to bring pets.

Why People Look Like Their Pets - This article explore the psychological reasons why people often share similar characteristics with their pets.

Potty Training a Shelter Dog - Shelter dogs come with additional challenges, especially in the case of potty training. This article explores ways to potty train dogs who have already developed bad habits.

The Danger of Laser Pointer Toys for Pets - Laser pointer toys are likely to cause dogs and certain cats to develop OCD.

Preparing the Pup for the Cold Without Breaking the Budget - Some dogs are not properly equipped for the winter months, and this article suggests ways to keep your dog warm without spending a fortune on designer doggie sweater.


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    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you for publishing this outstanding article. Your advice is excellent and needful. Kudos!!


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