9 tips for designing a pet-friendly home that’s stylish and safe
A popular trend in the West – where “parcture” is a widely known term – the focus on designing a pet-friendly home is starting to catch up in India. Pets are an integral part of the family, occupying prime real estate in one’s home. Pet parents are no longer held back from meeting their pets’ needs with ergonomically designed special areas. From flooring, fabrics and furniture to custom nooks and safety features, we’ve got you covered with tricks to designing a pet-friendly home, with a touch of creativity.
Non-slip flooring is non-negotiable. Slippery floors are bad for joints, especially for larger dogs. “We only have tiled floors in our house to allow for good grip,” says Sarah Sham, principal designer at Essajees Atelier, whose home is a lesson in pet-friendly design. Avoid smooth, slippery marble floors and hardwood floors that are prone to scratching. Ajay Arya, founder of A Square Designs, recommends scratch-resistant options like laminate or even solid wood but with a sturdy finish.
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Our furry friends also need moments of solitude. Use negative areas, such as the space under the stairs, to create custom dens. Newer apartments often have ducted areas, box rooms and storage rooms that can be converted into cute nooks for pets, says Mili Shah Savikar of Interiors by Mili. “It’s always a good idea to invest in a good pet bed,” adds designer Sarita Handa. “Pets like to be around their family to feel safe, so choose a spot in your lounge or bedroom where they are within sight.”
Fur-free fabrics and upholstery
Pets and occasional messes go hand in hand. For ease of maintenance, shortlist stain- and spill-resistant fabrics such as krypton, microfiber, denim, canvas, leather/leatherette, softer fabrics that don’t attract claws and durable fabrics such as foam. Suede and velvet are fur magnets, while patterned and textured textiles help camouflage pet hair, stains and minor scratches. “Two-color materials that contain a mixture of white and beige give the illusion of not being dirty,” says Farah Ahmed Mathias, co-founder of FADD Studio. But no matter the choice, keep a sprayable fabric cover on hand and get slipcovers designed specifically for your furniture.
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Carpet: Tread carefully
We are divided on this matter. Rugs and rugs definitely help tie all the elements of a room together. But Handa warns: “They can harbor dander, ticks and fleas. If you must have them, choose dark colors and vacuum them regularly. Essential oils like geranium, lemongrass and citrus help repel fleas and ticks. But Ahmed Mathias has a different opinion:” “Using shag rugs is interesting because the fur gets lost in them.”
Furniture and Decoration
Consider multi-functional furniture like ottomans with storage, or coffee tables with built-in pet beds. Furniture with glass elements or flimsy fixtures can be risky. Choose heavy stone or metal pieces that won’t fall easily when your pets bump into them while playing. “Adopting pet-friendly furniture will help your companions feel at home while blending in with your interior design style,” highlights Varun Sadhana, co-founder of Supertails.
For curious cats who like to watch birds, or protective dogs who are always on guard, Sadhana suggests installing perches near windows. “Catius “Dog rooms are becoming increasingly popular among pet parents,” says Caroline Trevor, director of London-based TLA Studio. “Furniture-style wooden dog crates are now in vogue. If you have a small breed, kennels can also be built into the wall, just like a fireplace,” says interior designer Sanya Kantawala. Door covers are always a fun addition to allow your pets freedom to move inside Home and away.
Pets are no less than furry children, regardless of their age. Besides the obvious inclusion of grills around windows and balconies, consider railing heights. Hide electrical points and cords and keep them out of reach of pets, lest a curious cat or puppy start playing with them, warns Priyanka Singh, founder of Chalk Studio. Install pet gates to manage their movement, and green-thumbed owners beware: some plants and flowers can be toxic to pets. Get furniture with rounded edges and keep fragile items like glassware on a height to protect them from the vigorous tail shaking, advises Devika Khosla, creative director at The Works Interiors.
Benefit and organizational elements
Spaces under stairs can be optimized to design built-in shelves and drawers to store their toys and sweets, suggests Anika Mittal Dhawan of Mold Design. Keep chaos under control by setting up designated feeding stations, ideally elevated and equipped with spill-resistant bowls. The laundry room can be redesigned to include a grooming and grooming station. For cats, choose a hidden, well-ventilated location for the litter box and vertical spaces such as floating shelves, hammocks and scratching posts.
For pet parents, nanotechnology has been a godsend – it is water repellent, easy to clean, and prevents stains. There are a range of pet resistant wallpapers available to you. Insist on durable finishes and good sealants for your doors because they become easily available scratching spots for pets. Using sealants and erasable paints would be smart ways to thwart any mess. However, be aware of finishes that may be toxic to pets.