Designing with Your Dog in Mind

Dogs and decor go hand in hand. Still, creating a canine-friendly abode that doesn’t compromise on style can be a conundrum; even a strict no-furry-friends-on-the-furniture policy can’t solve for the challenges that pet ownership can present in the home. To help us outfit our environments in a way that accommodates our pets yet passes our design standards, we looked to Kimberly A. Eastburn of Baltimore-based Kimberly Eastburn Interior Design for advice; here are her recommendations: 

Consider your carpet options. “As a designer, I can spot the telltale signs of a homeowner who’s given up just by looking down,” Eastburn says. If muddy paws, claws, or accidents are a fact of life in your house, she recommends opting for rugs with pattern, low-cut piles, and durable, easy-to-clean fibers, which will camouflage and stand up to pet activity better than their solid, shaggier counterparts.

Be strategic in your fabric selections. “Covering your furniture like a mummy doesn’t have to be your only option,” Eastburn assures us. “When selecting fabrics, you need to consider the durability, weave, and fiber content. Fabrics that were once thought of as outdoor-only have made their way inside and are diverse in pattern and texture, making them a great choice. Velvets are also a great option because the fibers are short and dense and make it difficult for fur to get imbedded,” she advises. And if your heart is set on a decidedly non-pet-friendly fabric? “I recommend buying extra yardage and having a cover or two made of the same fabric.” 

Embrace the intersection of dogs and design. “It’s very exciting to see what’s happening where pet-keeping and home-keeping intersect,” Eastburn says. “Furniture companies are combining form and function with pet owners in mind.” For example, pieces that double as an end table and a dog crate are now available and so attractive they’d even appeal to non-pet owners. Designer dog beds (like these from Raleigh’s Whitley Furniture Galleries) are also making it easier to have a pretty pet-friendly place to rest in your living room. 

Create a custom solution. “Thinking of clever ways to integrate your needs and your pet’s might offer you a more interesting solution to the utility items your pet requires,” Eastburn says. To that end, she has had gates custom-made to compliment the trim throughout a house, and a dog crate built into the base of a built-in bookcase. She also recommends getting creative with the everyday things pet owners need easy access to, such as leashes and bowls, by integrating them into kitchen storage cabinets. 

TSG Tip 179 adapted from Kimberly A. Eastburn’s “Interior Design Shrink” blog. Kimberly Eastburn Interior Design is featured in The Scout Guide Baltimore & Annapolis.