Adding any sort of pet to the family often results in a dramatic rethink about your home design — how will you accommodate the newest member of the household? In addition to figuring out how often to clean, exercise, and feed them, it's also vital to think about how your new pet will fit into your home, and how you can create a space and routine for them that you can live with. To help you out, here are 10 of the best home design tips to consider if you have a pet.
1. Think ahead.
If you're building or renovating, this is a good time to think about your pet's needs. Dog beds and cat flaps don't have to be kitschy eyesores if you take a considered approach to their inclusion. "Clients commonly ask about incorporating space in the laundry where the pet will sleep," architect Jan Robertson of Robertson & Hindmarsh, says. "You might also want to consider a deep tub for washing a muddy dog and good ventilation for litter tray areas."
2. Customize it.
Forget paw-print cushions and day-glo beds, creature comforts can be modified to suit your style. Blanket boxes can be converted into cat beds and kitchen-drawer feeding stations — there are lots of creative options.
3. Match, don't mix.
Have a look at your home as it is and consider what may need to change. "If you have your heart set on a black cat, pale lounges and soft furnishings are a rookie error," says Paul Mansfield from online magazine Pooch.
4. Choose a versatile sofa.
"The only sofa your pet really has his eye on is yours," says Mansfield. "If it's leather, you may need to reset your design aesthetic to the distressed look. Microfiber is the fabric of choice for a pet owner — it's easy to clean and wears well."
5. Create a feature.
Fish can't wreck your home, which is probably why they're such a popular pet. Hanging a fish tank may cost a pretty penny, but it will add an interesting element to a space. You can also consider investing in a more sculptural home for your scaled friends, as well. Don't forget to have fun with playing around with the interiors of the tank, too; play around with different stone and coral options.
If you don't have a fish, think about organizing a striking cat run or stylish furniture for your kittens. You could also create a cute little corner specifically for your dog and his or her many belongings.
6. Breathe easy.
It's important to pick a spot in the house where your feathered friends is not in contact with toxins. "Cooking fumes, air fresheners, scented candles, and hair spray are poisonous, and cigarette smoke can be fatal to birds," says Irene Falcone, founder of online organic beauty and lifestyle store Nourished Life. Furthermore, it's a good idea to keep your furry friends away from these air pollutants where possible, too, as they have sensitive noses.
7. Invest in a good vacuum.
Whether it's fur or feathers, you'll be vacuuming a lot more once you have a pet, so make sure you've got the best vacuum cleaner possible. Pet vacuums come with modified accessories, advanced filtration systems, and extra suction power. Wash the vacuum filter regularly to stop odors building up and, if it has a bag, pop in a moth ball or a cotton wool ball infused with a drop or two of essential oils.
8. Be prepared.
At some point, your pet will do the unthinkable... on the carpet, on the sofa, even on your bed. "I've found a product that really helps neutralize smells left by urine and other nasties called Doggy Don't Smell," says Falcone. "It has a blend of organic ingredients that destroy the bacteria that causes the smell."
9. Cover your tracks.
If you have wood floors, expect a certain amount of scratching over the years. "We chose vitrified porcelain tiles in the shape of timber planks with an ingrained effect," says Leanne Carter-Taylor of Quintessential Duckeggblue. "Our four dogs can run around on them without skidding. Best of all, their claws don't leave any tracks."
10. Think aesthetics.
If industrial and antique objects are your bag, think about chic storage. "On a trip to Belgium I found a giant metal coffee bean container, complete with original advertising," says Carter-Taylor. "It has a hinged lid and is perfect to keep dry pet food fresh."
This post was written by Homes to Love editors. For more, check out our sister site, Homes to Love.