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style purr-fection

From habitat magazine - issue 38, pet projects

Beautiful homes and happy pets are a walk in the park with clever colour and paint choices.

Creating a home that’s a castle for you and your four-legged friends doesn’t mean compromising on comfort, practicality or design aesthetic. Here are a few ideas to help ensure you don’t end up barking up the wrong tree before picking up a paintbrush.

Decorating with your pets in mind

The walls painted in Resene Tea and arches in Resene Napa match Lavender’s tabby hues while minimising paw prints. Floor in Resene Double Tea, floating linear shelves in Resene Casper, coffee table in Resene Double Napa, bench seat and round vase in Resene Casper, Nood cat ornament in Resene Tea and small vase in Resene Napa. Sofa from Nood, rug, coffee cup and cream and white cushions from Freedom, blue cushion from Farmers.

Scale, function and design

Interior designer Vanessa Nouwens says it’s best to consider how you live and how your pets behave when creating a pet-friendly home. “When designing a room, I ask how much or how little of the space the homeowners want their pet to have access to. This helps me understand how and where to integrate a pet’s requirements into the overall design.”

If your dog likes to play in the mud or your kitty is a climber, instead of agonising over muddy paw prints or broken vases, why not factor your pet’s athleticism into your room design? Shelves create visual interest while allowing cats to stretch their legs and survey their kingdom from new heights. Installing them is an excellent idea for those living in apartments or homes where cats don’t have access to outside areas where they can jump and explore. Make the shelves a design feature by painting them or by placing them in an arch design.

Embracing tabby tones - moodboard

Embracing the best of tabby tones with background painted in Resene Double Tea. A4 drawdown paint swatches, from right, in Resene Mako, Resene Casper, Resene Napa, Resene Double Napa and Resene Tea. Vase and squiggle dish in Resene Casper, smaller vase in Resene Napa and cat ornament in Resene Tea. Cushion cover from Farmers.

Dogs love having a basket and blanket to lie on – it helps them feel safe and secure. But there’s no reason the basket should look like a dog’s breakfast. Paint your dog’s bed in a complementary colour to help incorporate it into your home, and if your design allows, you could even create a special dog bed alcove. If your fur buddy is going to jump on your sofa, like it or not, choose a colour such as grey, which will help disguise pet hairs. A textured material will be forgiving of scratches.

Foodies for good girls and good boys

Does this scenario sound familiar? You’re cooking dinner, and a four-legged friend swoops in behind your feet to pick up any scraps. While you’ll never stop a pet’s food-loving instincts, a way to minimise underfoot cooking mishaps is to move the food bowl out of the kitchen and into another part of your home. Food bowls can be tucked away on a timber shelf under a hallway console and painted or stained in a matching colour. For easy cleaning, paint the shelf in Resene Enamacryl gloss waterborne paint or stain in Resene Colorwood protected with Resene Aquaclear clear urethane.

Decorating for your pets - perfect Schnauzer colours

Resene Silver Chalice painted on these walls is the perfect Schnauzer colour. Dog bed in Resene Armadillo, Resene Spanish Green and Resene Half Stack. ‘MAX‘ name painted in Resene Rivergum, hydration station and console in Resene Rivergum, floor in Resene Colorwood Shade, coffee table in Resene Half Stack, pendant in Resene Spanish Green and vases in Resene Armadillo, Resene Spanish Green, Resene Rivergum and Resene Half Stack. Sofa and rug from Nood, throw, grey cushion and dog cushion from The Warehouse, other cushions from Mocka.

Practical materials and finishes

Pets can be tough on furnishings and surfaces – paws and claws can take their toll. Keeping things squeaky clean is easier with tightly woven, wipeable, hardwearing and stain-resistant textiles.

“If you have an area in your home for pets, it is a good idea to use harder-wearing waterborne enamel products such as Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen for walls. It’s durable and easy to clean,” says Resene Colour Consultant Jackie Nicholls. “You could also use Resene Lustacryl, which has a semi-gloss finish and is even tougher on the lower half of the wall.

“Some pets have a habit of scratching a front door when they want to come inside, so our best recommendation would be Resene Enamacryl gloss, or Resene Super Gloss our toughest solventborne door paint,” says Jackie. Cats with a love of scratching will be forgiven (almost) if you sand back any scratched areas and rejuvenate them with fresh paint. Inevitably there will be rainy days and some little ‘accidents’, especially in the puppy or kitten stages. A painted or stained floor in a shade that nods to your pet’s colouring will be hardwearing and easy to clean while camouflaging any shedding between vacuuming. Paint flooring in Resene Walk-on flooring paint – its tough surface can take knocks, scrapes and frequent cleaning. For extra protection, finish it with Resene Concrete Wax. Hardwood, cork or ply flooring can be stained in Resene Colorwood and protected with Resene Qristal ClearFloor for extra durability. It’s a good idea to give your pets a little holiday while you set about making their new home purrfect for them. Little paw prints may be cute, but not on your new floor finish.

Coat of many colours

Just as we often look to nature for colour inspiration, there are tangible benefits when colour sourcing from our little four-legged friends. Paying homage to your best friend’s hues is easy with the Resene ColourMatch tool. Simply take a picture of your pal on a smartphone and upload it to find your pet’s perfect match. You can also use the Resene colour palette generator to create a Corgie-worthy colour scheme or a perfect Persian palette.

Pets have a heightened sense of smell, and if your cat is particularly sensitive, consider using Resene Zylone Sheen Zero, a paint from the Sensitive Choice approved range with very low odour and no added VOCs. Or for a more durable finish, especially for active pets that may be damp when they come in from exercise or playtime, look to Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom and Resene Lustacryl Kitchen & Bathroom with the added benefit of anti-bacterial silver and MoulDefender additive.

Having a furry friend in your home doesn’t mean your home design has to go to the dogs too, with a bit of planning and a few paint tricks you can create a home that’s the cat’s meow.

Resene Shade

› To learn how to create the dog bed, kitty-litter house and feeding station, visit

Projects: Vanessa Nouwens, Fleur Thorpe
Words: Moneuan Ryan
Images: Bryce Carleton

Thanks to our paw-some pets – Lavender the cat, Mitzy the Schnauzer and Frida the Griffon.


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Printed copies of habitat highlights are available from late March 2024 at Resene ColorShops and resellers, while stocks last. You can view back issues of habitat magazine online.

If you have an idea, project or story that you think would suit habitat, we’d love to hear from you. Please drop us an email with your details and include photos if submitting a project.

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