Decorating Tips for Dog Parents

Reading Rod’s GoPetFriendly post earlier this week  gave me food for thought. Go read it if you want a good hardy chuckle. He wrote about living with two large, hairy dogs in a Winnebago. I haven’t met Rod, but I must say I think he is a fearless man. Two people, two dogs and 200-square-feet of living space.

That post got me to thinking about my own humble abode and the creatures within. The ratio of usable space to dog is a bit higher but not by much.  I started thinking about the concessions, perhaps sacrifices, I have made for my furry family. The list became embarrassingly long.

But before I start, I must confess that I have been a fan of the species since before the Civil War. Well, a long time at the very least. And I have recently reached the benchmark of having lived fully 2/3 of my life in the company, nay close company, of dogs, nay multiple dogs. I am not talking consecutive dogs, but a multiple dog household. So I speak from experience about the concessions one can, and perhaps should, make for one’s canine roommates.

May I Suggest?

Crates should be considered design elements and placed artistically and creatively around the house.  A recent trend is the arrival on the crate scene of more contemporary, upscale  designs. They  are available in nearly every style from Modern to Mission Style in a huge range of striking colors and shapes. Even oval. If your tastes swing more to the time tested traditional style, think of using them innovatively. For instance, they can be stacked two or three high. An age-old decorating trick to make the most of small spaces is to” think vertical.”  Make good use of limited space by stacking. No need to be limited to having crates only on the floor! Draw the eye upward, again making good use of all available square footage. Top those stacked crates with an interesting bit of sculpture.

There are some new  faux-wicker crates that make lovely end tables or coffee tables. Designer fabric covers for crates have become trendy as well, with elegant appointments and attention to detail ranging from contrasting fabric covered buttons to elegant piping that trims the edges. Matching beds can be scattered  about simulating the feel one gets with designer pillows strategically placed on the couch. Among the dog-design savvy, this is considered very passe and old school, though some dogless people still hold to this design element.

Look for upholstered furniture  that isn’t. If you must upholster, then think micro-suede and leather preferably in a shade that is close to your dog’s coloring. My biggest investment, and one of the best, was a beautiful leather, 6-foot couch which the dogs enjoy immensely, especially in the summer as it remains cool to the touch, and they sometimes deign to share it with me.

Don’t like that leather look? Then think slipcovers.

Flooring? Think  industrial. Choices are limited, but on the bright side that makes choosing relatively easy. As a color guide, sweep or vacuum your present floor and match the dominant shade of collected  hair. If tile is the flooring of choice, grout should be dark as not to show the inevitable mud, mulch and messes. Rubber flooring works well and it is easy to find eco-friendly rubber flooring. It has the added advantage  of evoking memories of sweet moments spent in a high school gymnasium.

Don’t like the industrial look? Then think disposable.

Don’t overlook the effect a  scattering of chewed books and brightly colored toys can add, bringing accents of both vibrant color and interesting textures!

Photo credits: AndyGoodwin  and Zoomar on flickr

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One Response to “Decorating Tips for Dog Parents”

  1. Rod@GoPetFriendly 25. Jun, 2010 at 4:53 pm #

    Just to be clear, the 24 x 8 measurement of the RV is an external measurement. The actual floor space inside is much small due to cabinets, a sofa, walls, etc. That said, and given that we spend a lot of time at campgrounds, we’ve got the whole outdoors to be with our dogs. The only space limitation is what we place on ourselves!

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