Apr 18, 2016

A Pet-Lover’s Guide: How to Create Home Decor

What’s your pet decorating style?

Do you want every item to scream “proud pet parent?” Or are you looking for ways to seamlessly blend pet supplies and home decor?

No matter what your preference, there are multitudes of knick-knacks, crafts, and DIY's that will meet both your home-decorating and pet-loving needs.

Looking for a little inspiration? Check out a few of our favorite things:

Print It, Frame It, Hang It on the Wall

Whether you prefer a classic black and white portrait or the full Andy Warhol treatment, there are endless ways to add a little pet-lovin’ to your walls.

Try a few of these pet-art ideas on for size:

● Add candid photos of your pet to a gallery wall.

● Turn a few favorite photos black and white and hang them in a grid.

● Commission a pet portrait painter for a custom piece.

● Make your own pet silhouette art, either with Photoshop or craft paper.

● Buy or make word art that celebrates pet ownership.

Get Your Hands — Er, Paws — Dirty

Proud pet parents: Take a cue from plain old baby parents. Instead of immortalizing handprints, make paw print keepsakes or art.

For paint projects, baby-safe paints are a safe, non-toxic choice. Go simple and nostalgic with a single framed paw print, inscribed with the date you first brought your pet pal home. Stamp multiple paw prints into a modern, multi-colored grid or geometric pattern. Or use those painted paws to make custom coasters.

If you’re feeling ambitious — and don’t mind a bigger clean-up — let your paint-pawed pet run wild over a plain sheet or stretch of fabric. Frame your favorite section of the result. Or use it as a shower curtain.

Or turn it into a duvet cover or pillow shams. Go crazy: The only limit is your imagination.

Want a less messy project? Use salt dough to turn paw prints into paper weights or ornaments.

The Dog Is in the Details

Dig deep and use every detail to both contain clutter and give a quirky, pet-lovin’ vibe.

From puppy bottom coat hooks to stretching cat bookends, there are plenty of unique hardware pieces and quirky knick-knacks and paddy-whacks designed with pet owners in mind. If you can imagine it, there’s probably an Etsy seller that makes it.

If you don’t want your pet supplies to stick out like sore thumbs among your carefully curated decor, put vases, boxes, baskets and other corralling items to work. Stash pet treats in a pretty canister, hide leashes in a vase or toss pet toys in a pretty lidded basket when guests come over. Pick funky, pet-themed storage items or keep them simple and in line with the rest of your decor.

When decorating, just remember not all decor is created equal. Some are pet friendly, while other items pose hazards. Baby-proofing guides are often handy pet-proofing guides as well.

DIY to Pull Double Duty

Pet beds, gates, crates, feeding stations: Designer versions surely exist, but DIY versions usually fit your needs, decor, and wallet better.

Depending on your skill level and needs, you may opt to make your double-duty furniture from scratch or renovate an existing piece. Try thrifting dressers, nightstands, coffee tables and other items that are already in need of some TLC. That way you don’t irrevocably alter a family heirloom or pristine piece.

Can’t wait to mix form and function? Try one of these transformations:
  • Hide a litter box in a base cabinet, closet, chest or dresser. A simple cat flap is the first step, providing access yet keeping odors contained.
  • Make a pet food station out of an old dresser. Retrofit the lowest drawer to hold food and water bowls at perfect grazing level. Pull out when it’s mealtime and push out of sight once mealtime is over. Try using other drawers to hold the rest of the food, treats, medications, toys or other gear.
  • If you choose to do this, make sure that your dresser doesn’t back up to a heat vent in your room. Being too close to the vent could make your pet uncomfortably warm if it malfunctions and put it in harm’s way (which is why it’s so important to have regular heater service).
  • Make a chic side-table-slash-crate for your living or family room. Crates are both a great tool and a place of comfort for many animals. If you want to keep one close by but don’t want a cheap metal eyesore, try transforming a side table or coffee table into a latchable pet haven. Or, if you’re up for it, make your own from scratch.
  • For a cozy, custom pet bed, turn the bottom of a nightstand into the perfect dog or cat bed. Buy or make a cushion to fit the space and add your pet’s favorite sleep aids, like a curtain, chew toy or other lovie.
  • Cover a storage ottoman in cat-scratch friendly material. Use it as the designating scratching spot and for tucking away toys or other items.
  • Build your own pet gate and match it to your home’s decor. Affix it to doorways or make a freestanding gate that can move from room to room as needed.
When your pet is part of your family, doesn’t it just make sense to decorate with them in mind? Use the above ideas as they are, adapt them for your own style or make them a jumping-off point for your own unique creations.

Megan Wild is a pet lover who loves hanging out with her four-legged mutt. When she isn’t hiking in the great outdoors, she’s writing on her home improvement and decor blog, Your Wild Home.

Thoughts on Getting a Pet for the First Time...

Every day I can see Olly getting a little bigger; I can’t believe how fast my little boy is growing! As he gets older though, I’m starting to think about all the things we’ll get to enjoy together, like his first holidays to far off places or his first day at school.

Recently though, I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of pet we would get. He loves animals, and I know that as soon as he goes to school and he sees that other children have their own, that we’ll get the inevitable question: “Can I have a pet?”

To be honest, I love the idea of adding a little furry addition to our family, but there are a lot of considerations when taking on a commitment like that. I thought in today’s post that I’d share a few of these with you.

What pet suits our lifestyle?

First and foremost, we have to think about our day-to-day lives, and what kind of a pet would fit in with all the chaos of our little family. Sometimes I think I’d love to get a dog, and I can just see taking him for walks with Olly and turning it into a real opportunity for family time. However, things in our family are so busy, and I have my hands full most of the time with Olly.

I’m not sure that bringing a little, exuberant puppy who needs constant attention into our lives is realistic. Instead, I think about getting something smaller like a rabbit or guinea pig to start off with that we can keep in the garden, as they would need less attention and would be easier to take care of. Maybe we can think about a puppy when Olly is already in school!

Breeder vs rescue centre?

After deciding on the kind of animal we want, where would we pick up our new fur baby from? I always thought about getting a rescue pet (click here for more info), but then I’m concerned about whether or not that’s a good idea with our little boy being so young. I would hate to fall in love with a dog and then have him nip at Olly.

Instead, I’m looking more towards places that are kennels associated with registered breeders. There are plenty of puppies for sale in the UK that are sold through these organisations, and they’re often registered with the local authorities, only work with carefully selected breeders, and the facilities themselves are spotless, so you know that your new addition has been well taken care of.

What would our budget be?

Finally, just like any member of the family, pets are expensive! Their food, vet bills, insurance payments, toys, beds – the list goes on. We’d have to be able to fit all of this into our monthly budget. I’ve looked into the pet insurance deals that are on the market, and if you get in touch with your vet, they often have monthly payment plans for yearly check-ups and vaccinations.

What other advice would you give someone buying their first pet?

Remember, you’re promising to take care of them for the rest of their lives, and that will be expensive. Whether it’s dog biscuits, toys or cat litter, everything will need replacing on a regular basis, so make sure you’re able to provide that.

I hope you found this useful – let me know in the comments below if you have any other advice for people getting their first pet.

This is a collaborative post.