Expert Ways to Integrate Your Dog’s Bed into Your Home
Good design can help to create the perfect home for you, but also a cosy spot for Fido to rest his weary paws
Dogs tend to sleep for up to 12 hours a day, so they need a special and comfy place of their own where they can relax. Carefully consider the best position in your home for your four-legged friend’s bed, and make it somewhere that will positively enhance the household, not one that ends up being an eyesore and in the way. Here are a few ideas to consider.
There are several factors to think about when considering the best place for your dog’s bed: the height, width and length of your dog; the size of your home; how you interact and live with your dog, and their temperament.
You don’t want the bed to be in the middle of a busy household, and neither does your dog. Keep it away from the flow of traffic, but in an area where people congregate, such as the kitchen.
If you’re having a new kitchen fitted, you can incorporate a space within the design (read on for some ideas). Alternatively, you could have a separate piece of furniture made to match the style of your units that includes space where you could tuck a cosy bed or blanket.
Utilising a deeper “chest” unit will provide enough space for small to medium-large pets, and keep your pooch cosily and safely tucked away, rather than being a trip hazard.
If your space allows, you could design a semi-open area that could be closed off by a gate – either custom-made, as here, or a standard baby gate. This way, not only will your dog have his or her own domain, so will you. It’s a design alternative to shutting your pet in a room when visitors arrive or the house is busy.
Most dogs want to be at the centre of their family’s activities and the kitchen is perfect for this, but you may find that, on the odd occasion, it’s preferable to keep them a bit more contained for everyone’s safety – especially if they’re prone to getting under your feet while you’re boiling water or chopping things.
This balance can be achieved by building in or siting a large dog crate in a central position, such as under a worktop or breakfast bar. In case you’re not familiar with dog crates (and are looking at this photo and thinking, “Aargh – you can’t keep a dog in a cage!”), rest assured that’s not typically quite how they work. Crates are a key part of puppy toilet training and provide a safe and light spot that many dogs will be used to. Doors are generally left open most of the time and only closed, as already mentioned, for short periods when it’s safer to keep your hound tucked in his or her bed or you have nervous guests coming over.
If a shop-bought one won’t fit under your worktop, you could make doors with wire mesh fronts, which will allow your pooch to see all the activity without presenting a trip hazard.
You could also look at removable mesh doors, which would let you have the bed entirely open or safely closed – but with a clear view – depending on what’s happening.
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Dogs are naturally curious and love being able to see what’s going on outside. Having a view also helps prevent them getting bored. So if you’re building a new extension, consider including a low window, as this can be both an interesting architectural feature and a lookout point for your pooch.
If this is impractical, then think about lowering the sill of one of your existing windows. This will not only enhance the external views and create a extra sense of space, but, if you include a deep banquette seat, it can also make a perfect perch for your trusted hound.
Ultimately, we want them to be happy and often, with just a bit of thought about their environment – how much light there is and what there is to look at – you can significantly improve their quality of life.
Think about any areas in your home that are currently underused but still offer up a position in the centre of the home – such as the hallway. If you have the space for built-in cabinetry here, or have a decent-sized freestanding piece of furniture, look at solutions as simple as a large bottom drawer or cupboard that you could adapt into a doggy den.
You might also enjoy How to Create More Useable Space Without Extending or Converting.
Dogs tend not to relax unless they feel safe enough in their surroundings to nod off. For this reason, it can be good to choose an enclosed area – and the space under the staircase is ideal. It doesn’t have to be a Harry Potter moment – all cobwebs and old vacuum cleaners. With a little thought, you can create a perfect hound home.
The great thing about utilising the space under the stairs is that the enclosing wall is non-load-bearing, so you can remove all or part of it with minimal effort – depending on the size of your pooch. Just remember to make it large enough that you can get in to give it a spring clean every now and then.
If you already have an open staircase, you have a head start. This gives you the opportunity to either put a crate in the space or to build a customised bed platform, like this one.
The advantages of a platform are that your dog gets to slumber off the draughty floor and you can build in low cupboards or drawers underneath to provide storage for doggie accessories or even food and water, as seen with the integrated bowls in this cleverly designed space.
You then have a designated area that doesn’t really impact on the rest of the house, which you can personalise – perhaps with an outdoorsy scene, as here. Or try covering a cushion in one of your old jumpers. Either way, make it something familiar and comforting for them.
The living room is another great place for your dog to sleep, as this is often where the family goes to chill. Unless you have a huge dog, a cosy home can often be created in a sideboard, cupboard or storage area.
Look around and see what you’ve got – a door removed here or an internal shelf dispensed with there can open up some surprisingly suitable spots. Then all you’ll need is a cushion to fit the new-found space. If nothing suits, get some foam cut to size and have a hard-wearing, removable cover made for it to match your décor.
If you have one, a window seat, as here, is also a very good spot, because it’s both tucked out of the way and part of the room. In other words, dog-perfect.
Alternatively, you could consider creating the effect of a bay window by building out the walls on either side, leaving a deep enough space to slot in a seat like this one.
We all get to know our dog’s habits and not all hounds want to be in among the hubbub of family life all the time. Some would rather have a place just slightly away from, but still within earshot of, the activity, so they don’t feel excluded.
Utility rooms make ideal retreats. They’re usually close to the kitchen and often by the back door. Since these are rooms that take a lot of wear and tear (especially if your dog hangs out in there, too), use robust materials: stone or ceramic tiles are best for the floor, so if your dog likes to play outside all day, you won’t have to worry about muddy feet or soggy hair.
Remember, the dog’s bed doesn’t have to be enclosed; you could simply find a spot for their basket or build a den. If possible, position it next to the tumble dryer for warmth, and extend the worktop over the bed to give that feeling of enclosure and also so you don’t lose practical worktop space.
In terms of accessibility, functionality and budget, it might be that a freestanding basket or dog cushion is the best option for your home. But you should still ensure your chosen dog bed has its own designated spot – one your hound can get used to. Typically, against a wall or in a corner will be cosier for your dog, so how about using this as an opportunity to create some more storage cupboards or shelves for the household, as the homeowners have done here?
Up-and-over shelving, as here, can make excellent use of otherwise dead wall space, while providing an even cosier nook for your pup.
There are many great off-the-shelf storage options that are easy on the purse, so you don’t have to go down the bespoke route.
Having his or her own bed gives a dog a sense of ownership, of having somewhere that no one else can intrude upon. It doesn’t have to be much bigger than your dog – just enough so he or she can move around – but it does need to be enticing, secure and cosy.
That said, it’s your home and your dog’s bed should fit with the look and feel you’re trying to achieve. This might be easier if you’re building a den-like space into the fabric of your property, as it can then be customised to the size of your dog and designed to complement your décor. As here, you can even add some architectural details appropriate to the style or era of your home.
Where does your dog sleep and what kind of space would make the dream bed for them – and for your home? Let us know in the Comments.