Pets have always ruled the house, but these days they’re influencing everything from real estate decisions to home decor. According to a major 2021-2022 survey by the American Pet Products Association, American pet spending has more than doubled in the past decade and dogs are the biggest influencer driving first-home purchases among millennials. Is it any wonder that pet owners are looking for a way to make their furry companions feel at home in their space as they do?
Interior designer Tiffany Leigh Piotrowski has seen this trend firsthand. “Especially through the pandemic, people have adopted more and more pets, so creating comfortable and functional spaces for them is crucial,” she said.
Whether her clients purchase couch covers to protect new furniture or create an entire room just for their pets, her clients have their animal friends on the brain when designing their dream home. Take the private dog bath and spa she recently created for a client’s pooch to get pampered in. Talk about doggy’s dream home!
Pet-specific rooms are no longer uncommon.Cindy Rayner in Irvington, Virginia, had always put her dog’s bed in a partially enclosed spot under a desk or spiral staircase, but after moving into a nook-less house, she and her husband had to get creative. They transformed a 3 x 4-foot air pocket in their closet meant for an HVAC system into a private room for their 8-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, George, complete with tiles, paint, a rug, a mailbox, family photos, and more.
“George’s new home complements the foyer and gives him a snug alcove…I like to think he’d do the same for me," Rayner said.
Take It Outside
For those with outdoor space, there are ways to create a special spot for your pet out of the house, too. Amanda Molnar in Virginia built a “catio” with her husband as a fun project to keep her cats occupied during the initial COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. One of the kitchen windows now has a cat door in it,” she explained. “Outside is a three-level enclosed area with areas to climb, scratch, hammock.”
All four cats in the Molnar household enjoy their private outdoor space year-round; two even sit out there on rainy days to watch the weather. Amanda said her husband is proud of what he built, and they’ve both found immense in joy watching the cats enjoy their catio.
While it’s not always possible to give your pet a room of their own, there are many ways to carve out a spot for them that’s just right. Colleen Donnelly Pearson made a pet nook in the corner of her Astoria apartment before her mini bernedoodle Molly even arrived home. “We always imaginied creating the main window and corner area for a dog,” she said. “We had envisioned it as the perfect little nook for them to relax and look out the window.” Molly loves her nook, which contains a basket of toys, her crate, and the dog bed.
Make It Work for You
Like Colleen, my one-bedroom apartment doesn’t allow for an entire room dedicated to my rescue dog, Simon. After weeks of moving his bed around the apartment trying not to trip over it, I had a spark of inspiration. I moved furniture and rehung frames to turn the dead space next to my desk into a pet nook. A pouf, a basket of toys, artwork, and string lights went a long way to make Simon feel at home.
As devoted pet parents, all we really want is for our pups to be cozy, happy, and healthy. Sometimes, like in Simon's case, our creature's comforts look even more comfortable than our own!