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Reclaim Your Home: Animal House


For many of us, our first child was a pet. They're our babies and best friends. Still, even the most die-hard animal lover (at least those reading this column!) wants to preserve a sense of style in the home while giving four-leggeds ample room to roam.

Here are some fun, pet-friendly ideas that won't leave you feeling like you live in a dog house.

A nook of their own. We've talked about dedicated space for grown-ups and kids. Turns out pets need it, too! Your pet's space needs depend on her or his size, naturally, but also on their temperament. A highly social dog might want their bed in a more central space, such as the kitchen or family room, while a cat or timid pooch may be happier in a cozy spot away from all the action. Choosing a spot that works for your pet will likely work well for you, too. More time in their special spot means less time under your feet!


Photo Source: Houzz - Cook Architectural Design Studio


Photo Source: Houzz - Candlelight Homes


Photo Source: Etsy


Photo Source: DIY Network

Designated dining. Food and clean water are daily necessities for a healthy pet. Ugly, intrusive pet bowls that you trip over trying to get to the coffee pot are not. Here are some ideas for keeping it tidy on the food front.

Just about every home has a spot in the kitchen, laundry or mud room, or near a back door that is away from (human) foot traffic but still easily accessible for your pet. Try seeing the space in your home with fresh eyes.


Photo Source: Houzz

Ultra neat freaks might even consider converting a small drawer into a furry feeding station. But if you close the drawer between meals, just be sure to leave a second water bowl out for your friend.


Photo Source: BHG.com

A raised feeding station can be a little easier on your dog's digestion, not to mention your back! Storage space below makes this option extra convenient. (Learn how to make this yourself right here.)


Photo Source: This Old House

Key to the great outdoors. Unless you don't mind being at your critter's every bark and call, you might want to think about a dog or cat door. But you should know by now that I'm going to ask you to think beyond the plastic flaps from days of yore. (Gasp!) In today's burgeoning pet industry, there are lots of safe and stylish options both you and your four-legged will love. Shop around and get creative!


Photo Source: Armijo Design Group

Installing a simple frame on the exterior masks that this is a doggie door. Smart and safe!


Photo Source: Hale Pet Door

Time-out zones. Sometimes even the most well-mannered dog needs a little enforced quiet time on his own. For anxious dogs or those who get excitable when company arrives, a contained space that lets them see and smell what's happening may be even more comforting than roaming free.

This built-in dog crate has access to the outdoors and lets your pooch keep an eye on indoor happenings, too.


Photo Source: Pinterest

Just like with a crate, keeping the door open makes this a no-pressure safe space for your dog. Once she knows it's her special spot, you'll be able to close the door as needed and she'll feel calm and cozy inside.


Photo Source: Houzz - LDa Architecture & Interiors

Pet and baby gates are another easy way to partition off a room but so many of them are ugly and unwieldy. I'm a big fan of pocket gates that slide back into the wall when not in use.


Photo Source: Houzz - Greymark Construction Company

Feline-friendly furniture. Cats love to climb, and scratch, and sleep, and sneak into tight spaces, and go pretty much wherever you don't want them to go! Rather than fight your feline friend's natural urges, I vote for taking charge so you can at least have a say on the fashion front. Take some inspiration from these cool cats on cozy, climb-worthy furniture that looks downright fresh, too.


Photo Source: The Petorialist


Photo Source: hauspanther

Just like I say with kids, it is possible to have furry ones in the family without surrendering your sense of style. Take a fresh look at your home and make intentional use of space. I bet you have lots of creative options just waiting to unfold!


Sara Eizen is a Seattle-based interior designer and home organizer with a passion for helping busy families reclaim style and space in their homes on any budget. In a bi-weekly column for Seattle's Child, Sara shares creative, fun, affordable tips and tricks for clearing clutter, sprucing up rooms with minimal effort, creating systems that simplify family life, and much more.



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