10 Tips for Making Your Space Pet-Friendly and Stylish

Two housecats lounging by French doors in a stylish home

Cyndi Monaghan / Getty Images

It's important to create a space that's comfortable for the entire family, including our furry ones. When setting up the place we call home, there are things we can do to cater to our pets without compromising our personal decor style.

Here are 10 expert tips to help make your home work for you and your fur babies.

Meet the Expert

Create a Pet Zone

Think about how you have your home set up for convenience. We’re talking about designated areas used to keep your coats, umbrellas, and other outdoor gear. Apply this same concept to your pet's supplies to make it easy to find what you need quickly and to keep things organized. 

“There's nothing worse than running around the house looking for leashes, treats, poop bags, and the right harness before a walk,” says Abbie Harrison, the associate editorial director of Daily Paws. “Keep your favorite collar or harness and leash, a bag of treats, a collapsible water bowl, and even your pet's favorite toy in a single designated spot in your home, preferably by your front door.”

This way, you can grab and go whenever you need to take them outside without the fuss.

Add a Functional Crate

It's normal for your pet to roam from room to room. However, if you want to keep them contained while you have guests over or when you are away from the house, a crate is in order. 

Since there are various options, you can pick and choose what fits best instead of settling on a typical wire or plastic one.

“Many retailers are offering dog crates disguised as end tables, coffee tables, and other furniture you would already have in your home,” says Harrison. “Or you can go the DIY route and build a crate to match your home's existing decor and say goodbye to the traditional wire crate.”

Go Custom

In addition to stylish crates, you can also incorporate other necessities into your home’s decor. Instead of sticking plastic or ceramic feeding dishes in a kitchen corner, you can blend your pet’s spaces to match your own. 

“Design custom built-in pet spaces such as feeding stations, pet beds, or litter box enclosures to seamlessly integrate your pet's needs into your home's design,” says Brad Smith, co-founder and designer of Omni Home Ideas. “This not only saves space but also maintains a cohesive look throughout the home.”

Hide Hair

Dogs and cats will most definitely leave their mark on your furniture especially if their breed sheds. Choose a type of couch or chair that'll help disguise some of that hair.

“Opt for upholstery fabrics like microfiber, leather, or performance fabrics that are resistant to stains, scratches, and pet hair,” says Smith. “These materials are not only durable but are also easy to clean, making them perfect for homes with pets.”

For example, go with a lighter piece of furniture if your pets’ hair is light, or go darker if their hair is dark. This will help hide the shedding in between vacuumings.

Create Comfort

Depending on the age and breed of your dog, you might want to adjust the type of furniture in your living areas. 

Some smaller breeds or older dogs may struggle to hop onto the couch to hang out with you and the family, so be sure to select a piece with a lower profile. This way, they can get up without needing a ramp.

“For someone with large dogs who loves to lounge with their pets, deep sectionals create plenty of room for everyone," says Sarah Barnard, the owner and interior designer of Sarah Barnard Design. “Beyond contributing to a room's aesthetic, these design decisions can also help to reinforce or discourage habits that can lead to happier cohabitation for everyone.”

Say No to Carpet

Just like furniture collects pet hair, the carpet will do the same. It will also collect stains no matter how well-trained your pet is or how daintily they eat. Instead, look for a flooring surface that works well with your home’s design and is easier to clean, such as something in a tile, laminate, or wood selection. Even in those categories, some varieties work better than others for pet lovers. 

“Consider hardwood options that feel particularly interesting or beautiful or may have a more unique or decorative grain to add to the beauty and aesthetic of a space,” says Barnard. “Wood with more natural texturing can also help minimize the appearance of scratches or distress from pet paws.”

Tile keeps things cool when the sun is blazing, which your pet will likely appreciate. It also comes in a wide array of options. “Tiling can also be an excellent option for adding color or patterning to flooring,” she says.

To warm things up or to add another decorative touch, consider area rugs. “Incorporate area rugs made of natural fibers like sisal or jute, which are both durable and pet-friendly,” states Smith. “These rugs can protect your flooring, add warmth to the room, and provide a comfortable spot for your pets to rest.”

Coordinate Accessories

Tying your style together with a pet’s gear might seem like a daunting task, but it’s easier than you think. Go with what you love, and find a fabric that complements the style, colors, and pattern. Look for similar patterns and colors on items such as feeding bowls and pet beds.

“For consistency, consider finding ways to repeat materials or prints, like finding a favorite washable fabric that can be used to make both throw pillows and a custom dog cushion,” says Barnard. You can even use an extra matching drapery panel to create coordinating pet items.

If you have an existing furniture piece that you love, consider updating its look if your pet has left its mark. ”For furnishings that may be seeing some wear and tear from pets, reupholstering can offer a visual refresh," explains Barnard. "It's an opportunity to protect furnishings with more sturdy and pet-friendly fabrics, without sacrificing any beloved furnishings."

Pet Proof Your Space

When considering decorative items for your home, give some extra thought to how your beloved pet might interact with those items. Placement and storage are important in households with pets. 

“Neatly tie up electrical cords and tuck them behind furniture or put them away altogether when not in use,” says Harrison. “Do a sweep of your home for any breakables, sentimental items, or items that could pose a choking hazard for your pet and put them in an unreachable location.”

Adding gates in strategic spots is also a great way to keep pets out of spaces where they might be more likely to get into trouble. You can find pet gates in a wide variety of wood, wire, or even clear plastic styles to fit your aesthetic.

Get Smart

Installing smart technology around the house adds convenience and comfort for both humans and animals. You can adjust the lighting to set a mood or the temperature to keep everyone comfortable with ease.

“With the ability to remotely control lighting, window treatments, and home temperatures, pet owners can adjust conditions for their homes," says Barnard. "This helps ensure that their pets are comfortable while away, particularly during surprise heat waves or dips in temperature."

Technology also helps with day-to-day pet care, from feeding to giving out treats to waste cleanup. You can even get interactive toys to keep pets entertained.

Store in Style

Pets like to have space to lounge, play, and explore. Pet supplies can accumulate over time, so it's crucial to store everything properly. This keeps everything looking tidy and cohesive with the space around it.

“Try putting up a set of hooks that match your home's decor in your entryway, slide a couple of cute baskets in a hall closet or on a console table, or even repurpose an over-the-door shoe rack,” Harrison suggests. “Your life will be much more organized (and attractive) with all your pet's necessities in one spot.”

With a little planning and effort, you can make your home fit your personal style without sacrificing the comfort and conveniences that your precious pets deserve.