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Interior Junkie x Pet Lover: Design Ideas For Decorating a Home with Pets

I cannot imagine living a life without pets. I love my mini-doodle Diesel with all my heart, and he's part of the family. He's spoilt to death, has plenty of toys, custom furnishings, and a designated cabinet in the kitchen and roams the house freely. Do I want my dog to live his very best life? Yes. Do I want him to take over my interior? No.

As much joy living with animals gives us, designing a stylish, pet-friendly home is tricky. Other than not always treating our furnishings with quite the same level of respect as human housemates, certain pet essentials, like dog crates and litter boxes, are often major eyesores.

With a bit of thought and planning, you can create a designer look without compromising style.

With a bit of thought and planning, you can create a designer look without compromising style. I am giving you several styling ideas, anywhere from doggy-wash stations to designated drawers for food bowls, to decorate your home stylishly with your furry friends in mind.

puppy eating 100yr old vintage Persian rug
Puppy Diesel eating my 100yr old vintage Persian rug 😱

Find pet essentials that double as designer furniture

When you don’t have the option of hiding an important piece of pet furniture, find a way to make it more multifunctional and part of the fabric of a room. There are many statement designer pet beds available these days, stylish and comfortable, to the envy of most humans.

A dog crate can be incredibly useful, especially in the puppy stage. But they're ugly, right? Thankfully you can also find stylish versions such as this Omlet Fido Studio Dog Crate. Before Diesel moved on to his round dog bed, he slept in this crate. He absolutely loved it. We still use it as a travel crate in the back of the car and he gets so excited the moment we get it out of storage. It was (and still is) his safe haven, and it looked good in my interior too.

If you select a crate design that has a flat top, you can add a few styling items on top (obviously taking care that nothing could fall and hurt your furry friend). I used to style it with a few plants, and a basket that held his toys.

Hidden Pet Bed

Not sure where to keep your pet's bed? Consider reworking a cabinet into a cozy nook, perfect for snoozing. If you're lucky enough to have a laundry room, this could be a perfect spot. But the kitchen or living room work well too. My dog loves his snoozes but also enjoys being where the action is. I have integrated Diesel's bed into my cinewall in the living room. A custom dog cushion, in my colour palette of choice, turned this area in my living room into his own cosy stylish nook, that's totally integrated in and in tune with the design of the rest of the space.

Integrated dog bed in built-in cabinetry / media wall
Integrate a dog bed in built-in cabinetry

That's right, if you've counted along, Diesel is onto his third designer bed; hazards of being an interior designer's pup!

Buy pet beds with washable covers

Many of us buy pet beds to avoid our furry friends sleeping on our furniture. They can get covered in allergy-inducing pet hair pretty quickly. It is crucial to buy pet beds with removable covers that can be cleaned regularly. Another upside of removable covers is that you can chose your design so they're stylish enough to leave out.

Below Diesel in his daybed (alright then, bed number 4 🙈) by Honden en Kattenzooi. It's a stylish add on in my interior and easy to move. During the day, this bed is in my office when Diesel does his very best impersonation of useless (and snoring) coworker.

Create a designated dining nook in your kitchen

Most pets are messy eaters. Diesel has this thing that when he REALLY likes something, he takes it to a 'special spot' to nibble on further, usually my vintage rugs. Great. Having said that, he knows what his food spot is, and that's where he goes when he's hungry. Just because they’re animals doesn’t mean your pets don’t deserve a stylish eating area. Invest in dinnerware that matches the style of your home.

If you have more than one pet, then chances are you’re dealing with a lot of food and water bowls. To prevent cluttering up a space with pet dishes, you can also integrate them into the design of your home with custom built-ins. You can, for example, dedicate a low-level drawer to built-in food bowls or use a shelf in an island nook, as featured below.

Cat Climbing Furniture

Cats like to climb and sit up high to keep an eye on things. A well-designed system of shelves can get them off the ground easily to a safe height where they can comfortably relax away from whatever is happening below. Of course, you can buy ready-made versions. But why not integrating cat-climbing items into your decor, and have it serve a dual purpose?

Check out this amazing design, integrating a cat runway into the bookshelf of this stylish home.

Wall-Mounted Cat Bed

Free up space and mount your cat bed on the wall. You can choose beautiful baskets that add a design feature to your space, and blend in with your interior. Line the interior of the cat bed with a soft blanket that matches your colour scheme to create a snuggle corner for your cat to survey the room.

A pet station for messy bath time

Consider converting a spare bathroom or an area of your mudroom or back entry into a washing station for your pets. That way you'll keep the rest of the house clean when your pet returns from the outdoors with muddy paws. It will also give you a dedicated area to keep your pet supplies.

two golden doodles in dog wash station. Credit: Jay Wilde
Two golden doodles in dog wash station. Credit: Jay Wilde

Use performance fabrics wherever possible

I've learnt the hard way; pets and beautiful delicate fabrics do not match. When selecting fabrics for an interior shared with pets, I suggest investing in easy-to-clean, pet-friendly performance fabrics, such as microfiber and microsuede. This is especially important for the high-traffic areas of your home. Your mind will be at ease when you don't have to worry about dirty paws staining the furniture.

Stain-, fade-, and scratch-resistant leathers are also a good option for pet owners. Performance velvets are also a good choice, particularly when it comes to cats. Most cats realise their claws have nothing to hook into with velvet and thus have little reason to scratch it. The downside of velvet is that it's a real magnet for lint and pet hair. But because velvet is a cut pile though, it can usually be vacuumed right off.

Pet Friendly Plants

You may not have considered that plants can be toxic for your pets if ingested. Poisoning incidents in companion animals related to indoor plant exposures are far from uncommon. Data from the European literature show that 5–6% to 11% of the enquiries on pet poisoning received by poison centers are related to plants. These episodes involve both mature and younger animals which may be led to the ingestion of plant parts by boredom, behavioural alterations, or curiosity, and are becoming increasingly frequent nowadays since pets are more often allowed and kept indoor (read full research article here).

For dogs, the solution is easy. Unsafe plants can live on tabletops or shelves that are out of reach, but this won’t work for cats. You'll have to do some research and find out which plants are suitable for your home.

Common plants that are toxic are: aloe vera, baby’s breath, and daffodils. A few beautiful options that won’t be harmful: blue echeveria, bamboo, and button fern.

Take a look at this list by the ASPCA for a full data base on toxic plants, listed by type of companion animal.

Air purifier to keep allergens at bay

Many people are allergic to animals, or even just sensitive to them in one way shape or form. My own hubby is terribly allergic to cats and dogs, which is not practical when you have a puppy. Diesel (a mini-doodle) does not shed hair, which is a big plus, and this significantly reduces the allergen levels for my husband. Nevertheless, his asthma levels did go up a notch with Diesel in the house, particularly in winter when our home was less well ventilated.

I am not allergic. But I do have a pet hate (pardon the pun) for pet smell, especially the smell of 'wet dog'. We use an air purifier to clean the air in our home, which works a treat. The app that comes with mine even tells me that the air in our home is cleaner than the air outside, which can never be a bad thing, right? We have the Philips Air Purifier AC3039/10 (pictured below) but I am sure there are also others that work well. I am very happy with this air purifier because it not only works really well (my husband has no allergies in the house), it is also far more aesthetically pleasing than many others I have seen. No this is not a sponsored post, I am simply a happy customer.

Do not compromise on style, just because you have pets.

I hope I have given you some inspiration on how to decorate your home, taking your furry friends into consideration. Remember, you do not need to compromise on style, just because you have pets.

xoxo Marieke


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Hi! Thanks for stopping by.

I am Marieke, a Dutch Australian interior designer, business executive, tutor, content creator and social media influencer.


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