In the 2019-2020 APPA Survey, it was estimated that approximately 63 million households in the U.S. have a canine family member and 43 million are feline inhabited. We also know that during isolation and lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, pet fostering and adoption soared which means there are now more pet homes than possibly ever.
And, with more people spending time at home living and working, the need for everything having its proper place has become a top priority. The remodeling industry continues to be busy making homes more functional for our new lifestyle - helping homeowners incorporate office and study spaces into the home, creating indoor and outdoor entertainment areas, and providing adequate and innovative storage solutions for multi-use rooms.
It is no surprise then, that with the increase in pet ownership and the need to organize our living areas, we should also see a trend in creating dedicated zones for our four-legged family members. Here are 5 pet-friendly features we see popping up in homes and that we think are worth considering:
1. Pet Entryway Solutions
Dogs are definitely “(hu)man’s best friend”. They provide us with endless love and affection and keep us physically healthy too with the promise of daily walks. However, with our adventures in nature often comes a bit of a mess.
When returning from the great outdoors with Fido, being prepared is key to avoiding mud making its way onto your rugs and furniture. Some pet-owners are creating or installing storage, stocked full of wipes, towels, and treats, at the point of entry.
This storage does not need to be expensive or complicated. If you have a covered or screened-in porch, it could be as easy as placing a small deck box or storage bench with the clean-up essentials just outside the front door for the season. Alternatively, a basket or small accent cabinet upon entry can house the necessary supplies to take care of clean-up before your pup(s) are unleashed to roam about the house.
For homeowners wanting something more self-contained and who aren’t afraid of a larger project, mudrooms are the perfect solution for those that have space. These defined zones can feature hooks and benches, built-in cubbies or lockers, charging stations and storage consoles/cabinets, and even areas to wash up (kids and dogs). When designing the space, we recommend hard-surfaced flooring that stands up to water like tile, LVT, or laminate.
Whichever option is right for you, finding and making space to wipe down and dry off your dog at the point of entry will assure you leave the messes out of the main living spaces.
2. Pet Shower Stalls
Taking pet clean-up to the next level and growing in popularity amongst pet-friendly households are fully equipped dog washing stations. Rather than trying to hoist a dog into a tub or laundry room sink, these practical solutions are similar to a regular shower stall but usually only half the height, which makes them a breeze to get into and maneuver around. They are typically tiled with hot and cold water and feature a handheld showerhead for ease of cleaning and managing a possible squirmy client.
A mudroom, laundry room, basement, or even a heated garage (plumbing will be required) are perfect spots to consider if the space is available. There is no doubt that the luxury and function of this pet renovation is well worth the investment, making pet care a little easier at home, and is often a highlight when home buyers with canine companions are searching for the perfect place to settle.
3. Hidden Feeding Stations
Having all spent more time at home over these past months, having organized rooms with less clutter has been a challenge and a goal of many. Some homeowners are even re-thinking their pet feeding zones to create a more contained and camouflaged view.
Feeding stations for pets are now being incorporated into built-in kitchen islands as well as a mudroom, laundry room, and kitchen cabinetry. Some even function as pull-out drawers that can be hidden away once dinner time has passed.
We highly recommend if you are making the commitment to incorporate these awesome features, you do consider materials for ease of clean up. Going with a stainless drawer or a stone countertop base will tend to look nicer as time passes since they require less scrubbing for clean-up.
For homeowners that don’t want or have the time and/or budget for the construction involved in installing the built-in feeding stations, there are also options available for purchase that can hide away some of your pet feeding essentials and reduce the clutter laying about if space is available.
4. Pet Suites & Built-in Beds
Some pet owners are now incorporating pet beds into their shelving, cabinets, under countertops, and even as furniture accent pieces (think end tables and nightstands). Alternatively, we’ve seen people take underutilized space in their basement or under the stairs to create entirely “hidden” suites that have discreet pet entrances and hidden doors for their pet parents to enter when clean-up is necessary.
There is always wasted space that can be turned into an innovative and stylish pet zone, making your home function even better for the entire family.
5. Cat Highways & Perches
A new trend in cat home decor is incorporating cat highways and perches into your design. Strategic shelving and other feline-friendly obstacles and perches are finding their way onto interior walls and along ceilings, redirecting your kittens off the kitchen countertops to something a bit more entertaining. By taking them off the floor, you allow for less clutter and more space (especially those with little to spare) while still getting the opportunity to enjoy the playfulness of a kitten explorer. There are options for every style too.