Home Design Ideas for Dog Owners
Home Improvement

Home Design Ideas for Dog Owners

Whether your dog is a Pomeranian compact enough to carry in a tote bag all over town or a towering golden retriever who commands a larger footprint, the pooch deserves their own space at your home—an indoor area where they have free domain.

There are numerous creative ways for dog owners to carve out a space that’s dedicated to their pets and still stylish, said Jason Nixon, an interior designer who is the co-founder of the Thomasville, North Carolina-based home décor brand and design firm Madcap Cottage. What that means depends on what your home is like—apartment living, for example, means an approach that’s different from one in a single-family property.

“My partner, John, and I have four rescue pups, a Boston, two pugs and a puggle—George, Cecil, Weenie and Beau—and the dogs have the run of our 1930s-era North Carolina home, the ‘House of Bedlam,’” said Nixon. “Nothing is off limits, but we don’t want to constantly vacuum up dog hair and clean off dog spittle to keep our home looking great, so we’ve designated a room just for them.”

Below, Nixon and three other designers share their advice on how other dog owners can do the same.

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Consider Stationery Feeding Bowls

“When designing a client’s kitchen in a small apartment, maximizing the space was the most important objective. In doing so, we wanted to find a way to incorporate her dogs’ feeding and water bowls without constantly bumping into them and kicking them over because the footprint of the kitchen was small.  We decided to remove one of the drawers on the end of her kitchen and instead, we built in a stationary dog bowl feeding station. This resolved all the issues of constantly kicking over water bowls and cleaning up water, and her dog felt extra loved having a place in the home that was only for him.”

A stationary dog feeding station resolved issues of constantly kicking over water bowls and cleaning up water.

Courtesy of Brittany Marom

—Brittany Marom, the founder of an eponymous interior design firm in Miami and New York

More: Toning Down Maximalist Decor Without Compromising Style

Repurpose Your Mudroom

“When we renovated our mudroom, [partner] John and I put down a limestone floor that is easy to sweep and wipe down when the pups track in mud and pine needles. The feeling is very English country house, so the flooring ticks off both the form and function box. The mudroom houses a console with a cut-out in the middle of it, and that’s where we placed one of the dog beds, so the pups think of this space as their go-to ‘cave.’

“We love the mix of the antique furniture paired with the dog bed and the idea that nothing in your home should be sacred but rather lived with. The dog beds are from Madcap Cottage and have frames that are upholstered in a hard-wearing performance fabric that cleans up easily. The cushion covers can be unzipped and thrown in the washer/dryer to keep them looking good.”                                                         

Designating a space for the dogs and putting down practical, easy-to-clean flooring, like the limestone in this mudroom, is one way dog owners can address form and function.

Madcap Cottage

—Jason Nixon and John Loecke, the owners and founders of the Thomasville, North Carolina interior design firm and home décor brand Madcap Cottage

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Keep the Views in Mind and Look Outward for Inspiration

“Whenever we design a home with beautiful treetop views, we like to take pets into consideration. They always enjoy watching the outdoors and streetscape. For this gracious three-bedroom corner residence at the Solaire in Battery Park City [in Manhattan], we installed a feature lounge chair next to the floor-to-ceiling windows to make an ideal place for an owner and their pet to take in the scenery. In this building, it’s perfect for sunsets as well.

“When it comes to designing for homes outside of the city, a new world of indoor-outdoor living opens up for families and their pets. For a residence that we designed in the Hamptons, we took advantage of sliding doors that allowed the indoors and outdoors to seamlessly connect. We also added rich textured fabrics, including fluffy rugs that pets love to curl up on.” 

A lounge chair beside floor-to-ceiling windows offers a pooch the perfect spot in an apartment watch the world go by outside.

Evan Joseph

—Rebecca Robertson, the founder of the New York-based design firm RR Interiors

More: Designing an Indoor-Outdoor Room for All Seasons

Have a Bed or Other Lounger

“It’s always a good idea to give your dogs a dedicated bed or other comfortable perch that’s a spot only for them—it will make them feel so adored. There are so many fabulous ones on the market, and you can have fun with them by covering them in a fabric that matches the room or doing a pop of color that stands out.

“You can also place an upholstered ottoman at the foot of your bed which is a great way to keep your pup pampered without having to share your bed. Add in a throw to make it that much cozier and more comfortable. And if your dog has a chaise or chair they love in your home, give into it, and let that be theirs. Just cover it in a durable fabric or even slipcover it so that it’s easier to clean.”

—Rudy Saunders, the design director of Dorothy Draper & Co., a firm with offices in New York, Palm Beach, Florida, and White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

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