How to design a pet-friendly home

Here are some tips for designing a pet-friendly home that also meets your needs.

Pets are such an important part of your family, which is why they should be a big consideration when decorating your home – inside and out.

Not only will thoughtful upfront design save you time and money, but it is also worth the effort to keep your animals happy – and not only the furry, four-footed ones. Pets such as fish, birds and reptiles have very special needs, and some of these can be tricky to retrofit.



Considering your pets’ likes and dislikes will help you decide which areas of the home need the most attention. For instance, do they prefer to be inside or outside? Do they spend a lot of time in a certain section of your home or garden?

If you have dogs and cats continually running in and out through the kitchen door, you could place two or three dirt trapper mats just inside the entrance. These will collect most of the mud, sand and damp on their feet before they come into the rest of the house. They will also be useful dirt traps for human occupants.

If your dogs spend most of their time outside, make sure there are several spots where they can shelter from the sun, wind and rain. For example, a covered patio with a corner just for them can be an attractive addition to a home, doubling as an entertainment area.

For dogs and cats, a bed tucked away in a corner will give them their own space to retreat to.

Pets like reptiles, fish and birds often have very specific needs, such as lighting and temperature control measures. Be sure to find out what your pet needs to keep it safe and healthy.


Pets can ruin expensive carpets and floor rugs, so it’s best to keep to flooring solutions like tiles, vinyl and resin. However, if you feel your house is not a home without loose carpets, choose inexpensive washable floor rugs that can be replaced relatively often if needed.

Wall to wall carpeting throughout a home is out of fashion – and for good reason. Even with regular cleaning, carpets house more dust and bacteria than modern flooring such as laminated wood, vinyl, resin and tiles. They are also more easily damaged and less easy to replace in sections. Laminated floors in heavy traffic areas may be damaged by sharp claws, as well as the moving of furniture.


Pets can bump into things while they’re playing, but there are several steps you can take to ensure your pets don’t injure themselves or break an expensive knick-knack.

Avoid furniture items with sharp edges.

Don’t place objects on side tables in areas where they can easily be knocked off. Instead, hang objects on walls or display them in cabinets.


As your pets move around your home, they will inevitably leave behind fluff and paw prints, so décor needs to be low maintenance.

  • Pet fur is less visible on upholstery that is a similar colour. For black and brown pets, for instance, it’s best to choose fabric in darker shades.
  • Pet hair is inclined to stick to some fabrics – like velvet and linen, for instance. Choose stain resistant fabrics that don’t attract fur, such as leather, which is easy to clean. However, keep in mind that sharp claws can permanently damage leather.
  • Washable acrylic or semi-gloss wall paint is practical and attractive. Dirty marks can easily be wiped off these surfaces.

With any type of pet, you need to make sure they and your home are kept scrupulously clean. Floors, curtains and blinds need regular vacuuming to keep harmful bugs at bay. Regular bathing and brushing of dogs and cats will also keep fluff to a minimum.

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