1. If you’ve ever potty trained a puppy or dealt with an upset cat, you won’t be surprised to learn that all fabrics and carpet in your new home should be stain resistant. Some fabrics are made with pets in mind: Most microsuede and leather will hold up well to scratches and allow for easy hair removal. Color-wise, stick in the same family as your pet’s fur for furniture and rugs, or select a patterned fabric, which will hide the hair better.
2. If you’ve got the real estate, think about setting aside some space for a pet room. These transitional areas are basically a mudroom for your pet. The design can be as simple as a bench and some hooks in your existing utility room or a full-fledged space of its own, complete with a dog shower and cabinets for stocking food, treats, toys and grooming supplies. You also could add a sink to this space so you can rinse out your pets’ food and water dishes separately from your own.
3. Looking to keep your home low on square footage? Even without giving over a whole room to Fido or Fluffy, you can make some small design choices that will help to hide their mess. Where is the litter box going to go? If you’ve got a well-trained cat, you could hide the box in the mechanical room, creating a cutout for access. What about the food dishes? Think about where your dog or cat will dine if you’re eliminating a separate eating area. And where will you stash those massive bags of dry dog food? A low cabinet in the kitchen or mudroom is a good storage option.
4. Once you’ve got a place for their things, it’s time to make your pets feel welcome in their new home. Dogs and cats will love to lord over the manor from a perch in the loft. Perhaps you could place a pet bed up there (that matches your decor, of course), or even build in a platform to give Spot a spot of his own. Of course, pets will also want to take stock of your big back yard—maybe a wide window ledge facing the garden or a birdfeeder would be the perfect place for your feline.
5. Keeping your pet in mind should extend beyond your home to your site. You can easily create a pet-friendly back yard by using gentle hardscapes (like pea gravel) for paths. If you’ll be planting beds, you might want to elevate them or add a border of stones or driftwood to dissuade dogs from running through your flowers. Also, be sure to check out www.aspca.com/toxicplants for a list of foliage to stay away from, especially if your pets like fresh-from-the-garden snacks.