How Do Our Pets Affect the Way We Design Our Homes?
A new Houzz survey reveals our home renovation decisions are increasingly influenced by the animals we live with
So it’s no surprise to also learn we’re increasingly adapting our homes to accommodate our pets, and the survey revealed that three in five pet owners actively consider these ‘family members’ when making decisions about renovations, with Houzz designers also noting a rise in pet-specific requests.
From bed nooks to dog showers and feeding stations, read on to see some of the ingenious design features people are incorporating to keep their fluffy pals comfortable and their homes organised.
*Percentages represent responses across the UK and Ireland
More than a quarter of respondents to the survey reported the organisation of pet-related items as a design challenge.
“For many people, storage is a key part of designing where they live, and considering your pet within this is integral to a design that works for everyone in the home,” Katie Greenhalf of KG Lifestyle & Interiors says.
“People are keen to integrate items for them within their interior design scheme,” she says, adding that a number of clients have requested bespoke cupboards in the kitchen for a pet’s food that are easily accessible, but also hidden away to keep things clean, tidy and out of reach.
We like our pets to feel at home, and a quarter of pet owners have created a built-in nook for their pet’s bed.
It’s a smart design decision: not only does it mean an end to beds and cushions strewn across the floor, but a dedicated nook can be positioned out of the way and integrated into the look of the room as a whole – and, of course, give your pal a cosy space to retreat to.
Popular choices include a space within a run of bespoke cabinetry, as seen in the sleek kitchen design by BetterPAD.
Find a local carpenter to create a bed nook on Houzz.
More: Expert Ways to Integrate Your Dog’s Bed into Your Home
Providing an easy route in and out of your home is an important consideration, especially if you have cats.
34% of you responded that you’d considered your pet in the redesign of your home, and the access factor, in particular, can be a conundrum. This is especially the case with the popularity of full-width glazing, often in kitchen renovations or extensions: where does the cat flap go?
Architect Dominic McKenzie acknowledges that homeowners are always very keen to make their pets’ lives better as part of a renovation. “There’s usually a dedicated area devoted to the pet, and often their ways in and out of the property are high on the list of priorities when planning the project,” he says.
Dominic shares his innovative – and stylish – idea to overcome this challenge (pictured). “We designed a house with wall-to-wall glazing across the rear elevation, but the owners’ cat needed a way to get in and out,” he says. “We devised this special entrance through one of the cupboard doors in the kitchen, which leads onto a cat flap to the outside. We made the cat’s doorway house-shaped to give it a special character,” he says.
Leah Chisnall of Absolute Project Management shares a creative approach for cat access where this kind of solution isn’t an option. “We’ve had two projects that included rear extensions with beautiful full-length glazing and no space for a cat flap,” she says. “As a solution, we created cat flaps on the first floor (in a study and a bathroom), and included bespoke cat staircases from the first floor to the garden for the family cats to use.”
Pet cleanliness challenges featured prominently in the survey results and included concerns around dealing with fur/hair (65%), smells (27%) and dirt, mud and other outdoor elements being brought in (52%).
To help combat some of these issues, almost a tenth of you (8%) have carved out room for a dedicated doggy bathing space. A popular way to go with this is a scaled-down shower for pooches, often in a boot or utility room.
“The dog featured here is the very lovely Biscuit, belonging to one of our previous clients,” Leah says. “As part of their terraced house renovation, we converted a fairly snug ground-floor loo into a dog shower room. We built a short tiled shower wall to enclose the space, fitted a stone (splash-proof) shelf for shampoo bottles and fur brushes, plus hooks for towels and dog leashes, and made sure the shower waste was large enough (with an adequate catcher) for the excess dog fur.”
On the cleanliness front, a place to hide away cat litter trays has come up anecdotally for designers.
Leah shares another project where her team created a beautiful cat litter room for a client. “We carved out a small space in an understairs cupboard with a hole in the hallway door for the cat to get in and beautiful stone flooring for the litter box to go on,” she says. “It was a very luxe and practical solution to keep it out of sight.” This version was designed by KG Lifestyle & Interiors.
Animals aren’t often expert at eating tidily (and why should they be?) but we appreciate solutions that keep our floors clean.
To that end, 34% of respondents have created a space for feeding pets. This clever push-to-open design by Sola Kitchens makes use of the often otherwise redundant plinth area beneath a cabinet.
Despite all this design intervention, more than half of you (57%) also responded that your pet has free rein to roam the house as they please and sleep wherever they like… Ahhh.
How have you renovated your home to accommodate your pets? Let us know in the Comments.