You’ve just gotten a puppy or maybe you’re thinking of freshening up your living space. What’s the best way to organize your precious pup’s area to look beautiful and be functional? Read on for useful tips and great products on how to design a space for your dog!
What will you need to get started?
You don’t have to go overboard to create a beautiful, functional space for your dog. There are a few basic items you’ll need to get started. They are:
- a great-looking, cozy bed with good support
- possibly a stylish crate if you’re crate-training/house training a puppy or dog
- beautiful dog bowls made from a healthy material
- stylish food bowl mats or trays to keep your floors clean and complete the look of that area
- a great toy box or bin to consolidate the many toys your baby will have and keep the space neat
- a few adorable toys to get started
That’s it. Seems pretty simple, right? It will be and I have some wonderful suggestions for you, as well.
Where is the best place in the house to create your dog’s space?
First, decide whether you want to dedicate an entire room to your dog(s) or a part of a room. I’d choose a place that’s relatively quiet and not highly trafficked. As we know, dogs are very social creatures so make it near a family room, but far enough away for your pup to have some alone time, if he or she desires (“I vant to be alone! LOL)
Get creative. Some homes have nooks perfect for a doggy den. Check out this great area, under a staircase, from Don Gardner Architects:
A dog’s own room
If you’re dedicating an entire room, I would choose a snug place away from the window, maybe in a corner, for the bed or crate. Dogs like to feel safe and secure and if they’re used to sleeping away from you (our four don’t fall into that category), having their own room to escape to when they need to rest, relax, sleep or even play, could be ideal.
If your dog is crate-trained or crate-training, here are some great things to include in the crate to make your pup feel really comfortable:
- a cozy bed or blanket
- its water bowl for overnight
- some favorite toys to occupy them if, like me, it takes them a little while to wind down and fall asleep
- a wee wee pad for puppies in training, just in case
Food bowls would do well on the other side of the space, away from bedding. I would use a tray or place mat under the bowls, because most dogs are messy eaters and keeping food particles out of carpets or off of wood floors is a good thing.
A play area is super fun, and would contain a toy chest (pick up after yourself, Fido!), maybe some great interactive toys and food toys, too (don’t forget to have an old towel nearby for any food toy participation). Shelving in this area is a great idea, to stack interactive games and puzzles, a treat jar, treats (and, maybe, that towel). Shelves would work well on a wall between the sleep and eating areas.
If you pooch is fabulous and has a wardrobe, maybe you’ll want to get one of the wonderful armoires on the market to keep his or her apparel consolidated and neat. That shelving we talked about can also include a place to stack hats, bandanas or other accessories. A small table or vanity beside an armoire would be great for a jewelry box and grooming brushes.
Another cute idea is to display your dog’s clothing on a rack, like at a photo shoot. Here, the idea is to organize it to be visually appealing, by color, type, something fun.
And, decorating the walls of your dog’s space has limitless possibilities. There are wonderful choices of cool wall signs, hangings, art, decals and more.
Here are some great examples of dedicated dog spaces:
Integrating your pup into a room
If you’re dedicating a portion of a room, your bedroom or a family room, perhaps, the crate or bed is the central item. Make it within eye’s sight of you if your dog sleeps in the bedroom, otherwise, choose a quiet spot away from traffic that’s not near any air conditioning or heating vent or window, if possible, no place on which drafts or heat can blow. And, I’d also keep it out of direct sunlight, where the crate or bed can heat up and be uncomfortable for the dog.
You can get creative here, too and, depending on the type of space you’re working with, do everything from create a Murphy bed for your dog to appropriate a corner of the room or the inside of a night table for a bed, to using a vintage tv cabinet to creating a little bedroom within a bedroom. Here are some examples:
If there’s no room for a food area away from bedding, then I’d choose a spot by the kitchen, but away from foot traffic. Like us, dogs like peace when they eat, and choosing a very noisy or heavily trafficked area can create anxiety and, ultimately, eating issues, like gulping their food, poor digestion and vomiting. Also, a dedicated doggy dining area will help prevent food guarding, a nasty habit some dogs have that requires specific training to overcome.
If you spend a lot of time watching tv or movies with your pup, you might also consider putting a cozy bed nearby or a beautiful throw that matches your decor. We did that in our living room. It’s the best feeling having all of that love around us each night.
Maybe now, you’re wondering where to look for some of these items. I have some favorites to share, ones I use and love.
Great must-haves for your dog’s space & your home
The dog beds I love and use (we have four of them!) is from The Puppy Hugger C-Shaped bed. Why? I love the shape of it. It’s unusual, easy for my small dogs to get in and out of, it has that comfy bumper like the bagel beds, and the entire bed is machine washable. I just throw it in and it comes out gorgeous again, never losing its shape. Here’s my crew – Sophie, Ani, Albie & Jasper – hanging out in our backyard on their beds. OK, so they weren’t exactly hanging out. Mom staged the whole thing. It’s a miracle what some favorite treats can do. But, trust me, this wasn’t the first take.
For years, I had cushy bagel beds that required zipping and unzipping, stuffing and un-stuffing…it was exhausting! The Puppy Hugger also offers its Cloud-9 Bed, shaped like bagel bed that’s gone through a luxury transformation; it’s set high up and is very cushy.
Thankfully, you can find stylish crates these days. Take the DenHaus, made from powder-coated steel with artsy or zen-like cut out designs. I love the Bowhaus style. Another I love is from PetzPodz, however they don”t ship outside the UK and Europe. If you love them, too, keep asking to get international shipping. Maybe they will. They are so so cool and colorful. And, you can always choose to buy a beautiful crate cover from brands like The Puppy Hugger or Molly Mutt. The Puppy Hugger uses plush fabrics in lots of colors and patterns, that are very soft and cozy. Molly Mutt use beautiful cottons in colorful patterns. All are machine washable.
Did you know that glass is the safest and healthiest option for dog bowls? It doesn’t attract bacteria if kept clean; it won’t leach anything into the food or water, like some plastics and metals, and its dishwasher safe. My hands down favorite bowls are made by PawNosh. These beauties (we have 7 of them) are made from recycled glass right here in the USA. They are weighty, which you quickly get used to. But, that weight means they’ve been engineered to withstand being dropped from 4 feet onto concrete and not break (not even crack!). I can be klutzy when washing them, dropping the soapy ones into the sink all the time. Imagine if they weren’t so sturdy? I’d have gone through quite a few by now.
The Cubby Bowl comes in two sizes, the newest being the Mini; perfect for our Chihuahuas. Colors are a gorgeous Aqua, Tangerine and Celery. PawNosh was kind enough to send us some Mini’s to test. We LOVE them! Even the bigger dogs can’t resist taking some sips from Ani and Albie’s water bowl. It’s just too cute!
There are two brands, in particular, who have feeding mat solutions I love. One is Dog Fashion, creators of spa, home decor and apparel products for dogs and some for us humans, too. We have two of their feeding mats – the Silver Plate style – and we love them. I throw them in the machine often. Just no dryer because of the no slip backing.
The other brand that has fantastic food trays with matching bowls is called DENY Designs. This is a cool site. They have a ton of wonderful designers from around the world who create entire matching collections – everything from pillows to dog bowls with matching trays, even awesome dog beds and bandanas. Worth checking out.
A well put together pup has a place to store her clothes and that, too, must be stylish! There are lots to choose from including creative DIY pieces. Yvette Ruta makes gorgeous armoires. If you want to spend a little less, you can go onto Pinterest, which has some great ones like this repurposed cabinet, now functioning as a little girls’ wardrobe. Could be for a furry little girl or boy, too!
Whimsical, beachy, modern, antique…almost any box or basket can be made into a toy chest for your dog. We are currently using wire baskets that come in tiers, so we can fit more toys for our spoiled kids. I also came across this wicker, bone-shaped toy box I loved from Pottery Barn. And, Etsy and Pinterest are great resources to find fantastic options, which you can match to your decor and, in some cases, can function as a design object, too.
In my search, Etsy shops offered everything from the posh, at $349 from JakeyBB to the whimsical, personalized red wagon at $49 from KMGStore.
We’ve covered crates, beds, bowls, mats, closets and toy boxes. What’s left for your best friend’s room? The toys, silly! There are so many choices of toys today, for destroyers to plush lovers and everything in between. Because each of our pups is an individual, they’re the best at picking out the toys they love. So, I’ll leave you with that.
I hope this has sparked some ideas or given you some solutions to creating the perfect space for your dog. If you have any other ideas you’ve tried or want to share, or you have any questions, just post them in the comments.
Does your dog have his or her own room or have you integrated them into an existing space in your home?