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Designing for pet-friendly interiors

From the Resene decorating blog

We love our pets – even when they get mud on the newly painted walls, scratch up the curtains and leave a layer of fur lovingly all over the new couch.

Create a bedroom for your dog

If you have the space, this is a really fun way to give your dog their own bedroom.

Walls in Resene Coast are marked with a dog kennel outline in Resene Half Athens Grey and a kennel door in Resene Armadillo. The dog bed exterior is Resene Half Athens Grey and the interior is Resene Coast. The stencilled paws are Resene Alamo and Resene Half Athens Grey on a floor painted in Resene Half Chicago. The coat pegs are Resene Alabaster and Resene Alamo. Bed cushion fabric from James Dunlop Textiles, dog bowl from Kmart. Project by Greer Clayton, image by Bryce Carleton.

There are some practical and fun ways you can incorporate your pet’s needs into your home, while still protecting your design investments, and without sacrificing your design aesthetic – so everybody’s happy!

Create a play and sleep space

Dogs particularly need a dedicated place, or two, where they know their bed is, and where they can find their favourite toys. It’s the place you can send them to when you need them to not be racing through the entire house.

Cats will tend to find their own spots, but you can try luring them to where you want them with a cosy blanket in a patch of sun – or a food bowl.

For dogs, keep their dedicated area big enough that they have some room to play, and put it next to a door for easy access outside. It should be away from main traffic thoroughfare areas, or working areas like the kitchen – without being isolated.

Make sure it has a comfy bed, and their toys tidied away in a basket that’s still accessible for your dog.

You know your dog best, so you’ll know what’s likely going to work to get them to hang out in their area.

Dedicated storage

Just like you might do with your kids, having a storage box or cupboard for all your pet paraphernalia can help keep your home looking ordered and today.

Take over a laundry cupboard or build a storage box in the shed or another out-of-the-way area, for items like surplus food, medicines, spare leads, old towels and even pet outfits!

Another idea for dog owners is to build a mud room, or at the very least a mud cupboard, near the exterior door you most use when taking the dog for a walk. If possible make sure it has a place to hang leads, bags and an old towel. Add in a place to sit where you can change muddy shoes and dry your dog down when needed, and add plenty of hooks for wet coats, and places for muddy shoes.

Protect the furniture

If you’ve finished your new decor with a beautiful statement couch, you’re probably not going to want it covered with pet hair or claw pulls.

When you’re shopping for furniture talk to the retailer or maker about how different fabrics attract or repel animal hair. You might also want to consider denser weave fabrics that won’t pull or tear easily. Leather and synthetic fibres are often harder wearing and easy to clean. Velvets and chenille may need covering with throws to protect them from animal wear and tear.

From a visual perspective a simple trick is to match the colour of your couch to your pet's fur, but just keep in mind not every item of clothing someone wears to sit on your couch will match your pet’s fur!

Be mindful of natural finishes such as wood, wicker, cane, sisal or rattan. They can all be very appealing to bite and to sharpen claws on. A bit of training may be required for your furry friends, or keep those finishes to areas that are out of reach or out of bounds for your pets. Alternatively look for metal and chrome finishes that won’t make such good chew toys or scratching posts!

Create a sleeping space for your cat

Create a sleeping space for your cat without adding more clutter to your floor with these decorative cat boxes finished in Resene Half Gravel, Resene Atmosphere and Resene Black Haze.

Wall in Resene Gull Grey. Project by Andy Fraser, image by Bryce Carleton.

Create a fun mudroom

This fun mudroom idea is perfect for storing all the dog walk essentials as well as muddy boots and coats.

The walls are in Resene Bunting with house storage boxes in Resene Breathless, Resene Jalapeno, Resene Hammerhead and Resene Sea Fog. The floor is also Resene Sea Fog and the house-shaped coat rack is Resene Hammerhead with a rail stained in Resene Colorwood Natural. The small bud vase, the stool and umbrella stand are painted in Resene Jalapeno. Bag from Citta, clock, gumboots, raincoat, beanie and runner from Allium, umbrella and navy cap from The Warehouse, mail sorter, hangers, child’s umbrella, navy beanie (in hanger) from Kmart. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

Protect the walls

Heavily textured wallpapers or fabrics can also be a magnet for animal hair, particularly around high traffic areas like doors or feeding zones.

Even very matte finish paints will attract dirt and fur from your animals (and your humans!) so look for a slightly higher sheen finish that is more likely to repel dirt and can be wiped down. For durable surfaces that are easy to clean, try painting with Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen or below the dado line with a waterborne enamel such as Resene Enamacryl gloss, Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss.

Keep windows clear

Most pets will also be drawn to windows and ranch sliders or French doors because they’re sources of warmth and light – and because they like to know what’s going on outside. Keep windows free of heavy curtains if you don’t want them to become dirty and worn. Either pull them back with cords, or substitute with blinds.

Consider minimalism

Having a bit of a declutter when you’re considering a pet, particularly a larger dog, or a kitty who likes to clamber is not a bad idea.

You don’t need to go for a strictly minimalist look with every surface completely clear as though you are living in a show home. But think about where your precious mementos and art are placed. Are they out of the way of rogue wagging tails, or jumping cats?

Would they be better placed in a different room? Or moved behind glass or placed up higher?

Make space in your entryway to prepare for and clean up after dog walks

Making space in your entryway to prepare for and clean up after dog walks is a practical addition to any dog owner’s home. Baskets and a seat are useful for wiping down wet animals and removing muddy shoes while the hooks are hand for storing leashes.

The walls are Resene Moonlight and the floor is Resene Grey Olive. The door is Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta with Resene Influential edges and the bench seat is Resene Chorus Line and Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta. The kete on the hooks are Resene Grey Olive and Resene Influential, the basket on the seat is Resene Influential and the one on the floor is Resene Grey Olive. The hook rack is Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta with Resene Grey Olive hooks. Mat from The Ivy House, metal stool (used as planter) from Collect Living, Kate Alexander Doorway artwork from Endemicworld. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

Create a drawer for your dog in the kitchen

If you’re renovating a kitchen why not try this handy trick for keeping dog food areas clean, tidy and out of sight.

You can find the full instructions on making the drawer online. Project by Leigh Stockton, image by Bryce Carleton.

Keep your colour scheme in mind

If you have carefully curated your colour scheme to be dramatic with walls in Resene Brown Bramble to draw attention to your new leather sofa framed by a feature panel in Resene Whiskey, having a red and green tartan dog bed is going to ruin the effect somewhat. If you don’t care, that’s fine. If you want people to notice the room and not the dog bed, try for one in a neutral colour.

Instead of that dramatic all white interior you might want to go for a warmer, more beige-toned neutral colour on the walls such as Resene Half Tea or Resene Cloud that are less likely to show every mark.

Dining in style

Finding a place to feed your pets inside that doesn’t become an immediate eye-sore is tricky. You could go all out and add a cat door into a storage cupboard, laundry or pantry so bowls are accessible to pets but not being constantly tripped over by everyone else.

If your pet doesn’t need access to the food bowls all day, you could remove a kickboard from your kitchen cabinetry and slide them out of sight when not in use. Or transform a bottom drawer into a feed station that can be closed when your pet’s not around.

Tips for painting with pets

Of course, having a pet-friendly interior design is not just about decorating to suit your pets; it’s also about decorating safely and neatly with pets in your house. There’s nothing quite as upsetting as a nice set of paw prints in your favourite colour all over the rest of the furniture and floor!

Here are some quick tips for decorating when there are pets about:

Resene Moonlight

Resene Breathless

Resene Chorus Line

Resene Influential

May 08, 2022

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