Pet-Focused Home Renovation Projects

October 6, 2021

If you’re like me, your pet is part of the family. So why not give your pet their own comfortable living space in your home?  I’ve helped customers incorporate simple, inexpensive design ideas as part of their remodeling efforts to create pet-friendly spaces and functional updates. These updates not only pamper pets — they make your home neater and organized.   

Penelope the Bernese Mountain Dog After a Bath

On-Trend Home Improvement Ideas for Your Pets

A personalized collar and color-coordinated bowls aren’t enough for your furry family members. They will think you are spoiling them, but these updates not only make taking care of them easier, they keep your home tidier too.

Dog Wash 

Let’s face it – dogs love to get dirty. When the cold weather hits, it isn’t feasible to bathe the dog outside, and loading him in the car for a trip to the doggie wash is inconvenient and messy. 

Solution: Install a dog wash in the mudroom. Some of my customers forgo a laundry sink and replace it with the dog wash station. You can use a simple shower base or build a custom tile enclosure. Adding a faucet with a pull-out shower attachment makes quick work of dog shampooing. If you don’t have a mudroom or laundry room in your house, consider adding the doggie wash in your basement or garage.      

Built-in Pet Water/Feeding Station 

This upgrade makes feeding your pet easy and convenient—and you can make good use of a space that would otherwise be left empty (think in the hallway off the kitchen, in the laundry room, etc.).  

I’ve built these stations for some customers by converting lower kitchen drawers: Inside the drawer, a custom-built frame topped with stone or tile with cutouts that house the two bowls. (Because water will inevitably spill and splash, a wooden surface will warp over time.)  The benefits of these slide-out style stations are that the bowls drop in and out for easy cleaning, and the drawer makes it easy to tuck the food away when you have company or if your pet is on a strict feeding schedule. 

Food Storage Pull-Outs 

If you have a big dog or a few cats in your home, you likely buy pet food in bulk. Simply install the standard trash can-style pull-outs in a kitchen or pantry cabinet, and then buy large, airtight storage containers/bins that slide into the openings. This is a great way to keep food fresh with convenient storage.   

Dedicated Chill Space

Both cats and dogs can be territorial and enjoy having spaces that are their own. For cats, build perches in windows or add shelves to walls to give them an escape or retreat and a great view of the world outside. For dogs, build custom kennels under a stairwell or recessed in a hallway. These built-ins are ideal for giving your dog a sense of security and solitude—and you don’t have to manage the cumbersome metal cage in your living area.  

Private Pet Access 

To give your pets access to their food bowls or litter box, consider simply adding a doggie or kitty door in your closet or laundry room door. Using these functional pet doors, you can keep your main door closed and pet items tucked out of sight.  

Built-in Aquariums 

Some animal habitats can be treated as the focal point of living space, adding color and movement to a room. From tropical fish to reptiles and exotic birds, enclosures for these beautiful pets should be designed and built with ample storage and required amenities (water, electricity) in mind. It’s always wise to do your research and consult a contractor who has experience in building and maintaining these enclosures.   

Other simple upgrades include hooks or built-in cubbies or storage benches at an exterior door to corral pet leashes, bags, treats and other gear. Look around your home and see what ideas work well with your space. Your faithful companions are counting on you! 

The Best Is Yet To Come, 

Beth Orr