Written by Cara Fitzgerald | 29 May 2024

Many pet owners are putting their furry companions at the forefront when renovating their homes. This emerging trend even has a name – “barkitecture” (animal-first architecture) – and has been steadily growing in popularity since COVID-19 forced us home into isolation.

But, creating a pet-friendly home does not mean surrendering your stylish interior design to your furred (or feathered or scaly) friends – it’s about combining durability and functionality to form a space where all members of the family can live their best life!

Even if you don’t have a pet, chances are that when it comes time to put your property on the market, you’ll be selling to buyers who do. So whether you have a playful puppy, a curious kitten, or even a more unusual pet, here are some tips that both you and your pets will love.

Pet-friendly home design for lovers of furry friends. Family sitting on loungue floor with a cardboard cut out of a house and dog laying in front of them.

Pet-friendly design ideas

Go for durable flooring

Carpets might feel plush and cosy, but they are a magnet for pet hair, odours and stains. Instead, consider tiles and timber which are easier to clean and more resistant to little accidents. Area rugs are a great way to add warmth to these hard floor surfaces and can be easily cleaned or replaced. But, if you can’t be persuaded to go without the warmth of carpet, steer towards for low-pile varieties and choose stain-resistant options.

Pick the right fabrics

Choose fabrics that can withstand claws and are easy to clean. Microfibre for example wears well, is resistant to scratches and can be wiped down easily. Also consider slipcovers for your furniture as they can be removed and washed regularly.

Create pet-specific spaces

Creating a designated space for your pet can make them feel more comfortable and will also look intentional. Custom-built pet nooks in the laundry are common, along with a deep pet tub for wash time, an under the stairs dog den, pull out kitchen drawer feeding stations, food bowl slots built into the end of the kitchen island bench, wall mounted cat baskets and a cat hammock underneath your coffee table are a few more creative options.

Add in pet perches and lookouts

Our pets are always curious about what’s going on in and out of the house. While cats enjoy perches, steps and ramps to climb so they can explore and sleep in the high places of your house, dogs will benefit from views through glass doors or purposely installed low windows running along the lower portion of a wall, and preferably looking out towards the street or yard.

Include dedicated storage solutions

Pets come with a lot of gear – leashes, toys, food and grooming supplies. A dedicated cabinet or drawer in your kitchen for pet food and treats, and baskets or bins to store toys will help to keep your home organised and everything in its place.

Avoid toxic items

Pets explore with their mouth and nose, so it’s important to avoid indoor plants and flowers that are toxic to pets, such as aloe vera, lilies, chrysanthemums, peace lilies azaleas, and philodendrons. Also use pet-safe cleaning products and keep potentially harmful substances, like chemicals and medications, securely stored away.

Install some smart tech

Investing in a little bit of smart technology can add value to your home while putting your mind at ease – especially if you’re away from the house for hours at a time. Pet cameras can help you keep an eye on your pet while you’re out, while automatic feeders and water dispensers will keep them nourished. Step it up another level with a smart pet door that can be programmed remotely or operated via radio frequency with a key attached to your pet’s collar.

Design with pet behaviour in mind

Understanding your pet’s behaviour is also a key to designing a pet-friendly home. If your cat loves to scratch, provide ample scratching posts to protect your furniture. If your dog tends to chew, ensure that electrical cords are out of reach. Observing and anticipating your pet’s needs and behaviours can help you make good design choices before problems arise.

Provide engaging play things

Ok, so not exactly a home design element, but… don’t forget to provide plenty of opportunities for your pets to stay active and entertained. Snuffle mats, puzzle feeders, interactive balls and other boredom busters are an excellent way to keep your pets occupied and happy.

Designing a pet-friendly home doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style, in fact it can add strong real estate appeal depending on your market. Where once you might have hidden away pet items when guests came over, now it’s about being creative and intentional about how you incorporate and display them in your home design. With a bit of thoughtful planning, you can create a space that not only looks great, but is comfortable, on trend and enjoyable for all members of your household – furry or otherwise.

Need some advice? Contact us! Rated the number 1 agency in the suburb 9 years in a row, our team at @ap-realty can provide you with personal advice whether buying, renting or selling. Let us help you unlock the door to either your dream home or investment property.

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