Doggy Decorating Dilemmas – The Results Are In

Interior Design by Honey the Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever on the bed.

Oops, looks like someone forgot to cover the duvet with an ugly sheet.

Every morning, we move Honey’s crate. It’s the only way my husband can open his dresser drawers.

Tumbleweeds of dog hair blow across the prairie of our staircase.

Our beautiful duvet, handcrafted in India, is covered with an old sheet to keep from being covered in fur.

Are we the only people whose “decorating” choices are dictated entirely by the dog? I wanted to know.

So I put together a short survey and you provided lots of interesting information—not the least of which is that I have it easy compared to the folks who also have cats, rats, ferrets, and snakes.

Are You Normal?

Most people enjoy comparing themselves to others and seeing where they fit in. Do you?

Here are the survey questions and the results:

Do you adjust the furnishings you buy and the way you decorate because you have pets?
  • 74% said, Yes, the decorating choices I make reflect the animals in my life.
  • 16% said, We’ve given up and just live in a giant kennel.
  • 10% said, No, I buy what I would normally have even without animals.

Well, it looks like I’m in the majority here. Maybe I’m not as weird as I thought. But I am a little envious of the people living in a giant kennel.

Do they really have a big drain in the middle of the floor so they can just hose things down? I’ve seriously considered that.

Do you decorate around large objects in your house used only by your animals? For instance, crates, cat trees, bird cages, exercise pens, etc.
  • 55% said yes.
  • 45% said no.

The most common objects decorated around were dog beds. Several people reported having different beds in each room. No one seemed to have fancy litter boxes hidden in the bottom of large planters. They’re usually hidden out of sight in the bathroom or basement.

Others reported terrariums, bird cages, cat trees, and toy boxes.

One person has end tables that double as secret dog crates and described a laundry room that sounds like something out of the pets issue of Martha Stewart Living—leash hooks, waist-high shower for bathing, a grooming counter. Wow! I wonder if it looks like any of these?

What factors into your decision to buy something for your house? Check all that apply.
    • 32% said it must be easy to clean or maintain.
    • 23% asks whether it’s safe for pets.
    • 22% ask if it will still look nice after a few weeks in a house with animals.
    • 13% consider cost because there is no use spending a lot of money on something that could be damaged quickly.
    • 5% consider whether their pet will like or accept the item.
    • And 5% supplied other answers including
      • None of the above.
      • Whether it’s safe for the environment.
      • Whether the person likes it. Gee, that’s a novel idea.
      • How it looks covered in black dog hair, how well it hides dog hair, or if it doesn’t hold onto “fluff.”
      • And, my favorite answer: “Will Desmond pee on it or think it’s a toy?” Thank you, Lauren.
Would you buy furnishings that help animal items fit better into your decorating scheme? For example, decorative cat condos, crates that double as coffee tables, dog beds that look like human furniture?
      • 46% said, Heck ya, I already have.
      • 38% said, Nah, I don’t see the use or don’t want to spend the extra money.
      • 16% said, Didn’t you read the response to question #1? We live in a kennel. Our whole house is one big animal play pen.

I really one to see one of these whole house kennels. Any invitations pending?

Do you feel like you have to make a choice between having animals and having an attractive home?
      • 70% said, maybe, but I’ve adjusted my standards because a home without animals is just a house.
      • 21% said, no, my animals haven’t had a big effect on the way my house looks.
      • 9% said, yes, somethings just aren’t possible with animals.

There were so many fabulous comments at the end of the survey I’m sorry I can’t include them all. But some people shared that their choice of dog in the future would probably be influenced by the fur and wear and tear some dogs cause on belongings. One person with a snake, ferrets, and a lizard has the extra responsibility of looking for gaps that would  hide a curious pet.

Golden Retriever

During the summer, the house stays so much cleaner. Maybe it's because we do most of our living on the front porch.

I guess I’m pretty lucky I don’t have any Golden Retriever-sized holes in my house.

One person reflected that a spouse’s hobbies had more of an effect on the decor than any dog. Hmm, what do you think? Is this a hubby rebuilding diesel engines on the kitchen table or perhaps someone collecting comic book memorabilia?

A couple of folks mentioned buying things used or dumpster diving (people after my own heart) because it’s not worth buying new.

But the overwhelming number of comments demonstrated the fact that we love our animals and wouldn’t want to be without them. If that means a messier house, well then so be it. And everyone else will have to learn to live with it. Amen!

Cool Design for Dogs

Blogger in residence at NewandHound has set up a Pinterest board dedicated to Dog Design for the Home.  It’s full of cool ideas so go check it out.

Giveaway—A Few Days Left to Win

Last week I reviewed Sophie: The Incredible True Story of the Castaway Dog at A Traveler’s Library and here, at Something Wagging. I’m giving away this book that tells the story of an Australian cattle dog who, after falling overboard in the Coral Sea, managed to swim at least three nautical miles in rough waters filled with predators to land. She survived alone on islands for several months before being reunited with her family.

If you’d like to win, use the Rafflecopter to make as many entries as you like. The contest ends Thursday, May 24 so don’t delay. Enter now.


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  1. Looks like we are normal! 😀


  2. I do make decorating choices around the animals. I bought my car after determining there was enough room to pack everyone in if we needed to in an emergency. And I have tumbleweed hairballs flying across the place too. And I live with it. Because stuff is just stuff.

    • Well put. One of the tenets of voluntary simplicity is that people are more important than things. I guess I’d add animals to that as well. It sounds like you would too.

  3. This is really interesting, and it totally makes me feel better about how I decorate around my guys! Thanks for taking the time to compile this!

    • I started it because I was curious about how much people actually spend on beautiful decor items that work well around animals. It seems like the folks who took the survey, however, are much more about having a flexible attitude than about buying tons of stuff. And I think that’s a good thing.

      Glad you enjoyed the survey.

  4. I loved reading the results. It turns out I’m either really normal for a dog owner, or we are all crazy dog owners. I wonder which? :)

    Loved the Pinterest page. What an awesome idea!

    BTW – Absolutely laughed out loud at Lauren’s comment about Desmond. LOL!

  5. Bwahaha! Lauren is spot on – many of my rescue dogs are not house-trained; I currently am looking for a new recliner – is leather or frequent cleaning best? how about the handle – hidden or would the long handle be chewed on?
    Yep, I’m in one of those kennel homes; I truly want to take my house to make it more appealing and clean for visitors but the focus is on the dogs. Once I have our home cleaned, organized and ready for photos, will send you some; the dog condo in a corner is a hoot as the upper level dogs jump up into their crates for meals and respite. I loved the Newfandhound Pinterest Board on Dog Design – I do have a half door I could put back in place to keep dogs in the house proper when needed – esp. with Pink Floyd who has slid down the stairs more than once and given me palpitations as I check him for injury due to his severe osteoarthritis.
    Wonderful, fun survey :).

    • Sounds like you gotta do what you gotta do. :)

      My first two dogs did major damage in the house (destroying an entire vinyl floor in the kitchen, for instance) which just about destroyed any desire of ever having anything nice.

      But my next dog, Shadow, came to me calm and fully house trained. I started buying nice furniture just to have her develop bone cancer in her jaw which, even while she was feeling pretty well, would bleed and end up splattering all over the house. Poor girl.

      Honey is an easy girl. And she was quickly house trained. But she can get sick or injured too and the house will just have to take it.

      I can’t wait to see pictures of your dog condo. It sounds like a lot of fun. :)

  6. A drain to flush stuff away in the middle of the house would have been a great idea when Mr T was around LOL! I can’t imagine lizards and snakes needing too much readjustment, but obviously there are still considerations. Good to know because I’ve always dreamt of having a snake (only for more than 20 years) but The Other Half is such a chicken.

    After reading the results, I’m double sure I’m lucky. However mad our dogs are are in the beginning, they always end up placid, and learn how to move around our overcrowded house. (They’d have to or they’d be missing skin and fur on their shins.) Totally unrelated to your topic, but I swear by incense and aromatherapy for at least some of this calmness 😉 x

  7. Lauren is after my heart, too! Ha ha ha! I’m glad to see I’m within the normal range, at least among those who took the survey. I saw these really amazing kennel covers at one time, too, and have never been able to find them since. They made the kennel look so cool! But since Kuster drags everything he can touch with his mouth into his kennel and destroy it, I probably couldn’t even have that, either. Actually, I’m rather frantically looking for a crate hiding solution before our annual party next weekend. *sigh*

    • Isn’t it amazing how you can plan around one dog just to have another one come along and change everything on you? I can see how bringing a puppy into the house makes all the expectations you had totally unrealistic.

      As for hiding the crates, instead of trying to make them invisible, why not make them a feature? You could put humorous signs on them or wreath them in flower garlands (Well, maybe not Kuster’s. He’d probably just drag them into his crate and eat them.) :)

  8. I’m so glad you put the results up, but now I can’t remember what I answered so I don’t know if I’m normal or not.

    Forget that comment, we all know I’m not normal. :-)

    • Well, who wants normal friends? That would just be boring. :)

      Besides, “normal” dog people expect their dogs to be perfect without training, never walk them, and turn them into shelters the first time they misbehave. Wear your abnormality as a badge of honor. :)

  9. I feel better about it all seeing how many other people have compromised. Once upson a time, I really did have a home straight out of Martha Stewart living, but man! Times been a-changin’! My house definitely isn’t meant for a magazine anymore, unless it’s one of those “before” shots, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

    • Oh I remember those days. I dreamed of putting up Bradbury and Bradbury wallpaper in my hallway and had tons of historic glass and Victorian silver. That was also about the time I walked 3 miles each way to work in 3 inch spiked heels during a transit strike because I thought sneakers looked stupid with a dress.

      Glad I grew up. And it’s probably all the dogs’ fault.

      BTW, it looks like you’ve just rechanneled your Martha Stewart vibe into your website. It’s just as much work and still looks great but it brings joy to many instead of just your closest family and friends. Good choice. :)

  10. Yay for dumpster diving! My previous roommate and I once found a gorgeous white table doing just that. The table was so awesome we actually ended up fighting over it when we moved out. I decided to be magnanimous in the end and let her keep it. One of my biggest regrets. 😉

    As I said in the survery, I was never the Martha Stewart type and prefer function over form. Having animals around fits right in to my lack of style. That being said, I’d love to find out how to turn my home into a kennel!

  11. I guess that I am normal, according to the survey…Whew!

    I love NewfandHounds Pinterest board for dog design! If I only I was crafty:)

  12. HA!! I am so glad people enjoyed that comment. I laugh about it, too. Thank goodness for me, Desmond has become–in his “old” age of 2 years–more inclined to think things are toys than good places to relieve himself, although I still haven’t replaced the area rug in our living room. I’m scared! LOL

    That Pinterest board is AWESOME! Thanks for sharing!

  13. I love the pinterest page!

    Having all the pets, (I’m the lizard-snake-ferrets-rats person) we tend to place their homes first and then decorate inside them – there’s no hiding a giant glass terrarium, but my bearded dragon has some gorgeous plants and rock formations to play around. It’s like a window into Australia. And to keep the ferrets out of hidey-holes we’ve taken to placing furniture very carefully. I’m glad you don’t have any Honey-sized holes too! Hooboy, it’s tough just keeping up with where the ferrets get to. And Regi (the snake) just plain isn’t allowed to free-roam, although he wishes he could!

    And pretty soon there will be a new baby – a hedgehog! Fortunately, the house is already prepared for the antics.

  14. So cool to see all of the results – it’s nice to know that I’m not the only crazy dog lady out there. All of my furniture is covered in dog-hair encrusted blankets, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. :)

  15. Nice to see that we’re all close to the same degree of crazy!


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