Barkitecture: Home Design for Pets

Most pets want to be close to their family. I love my pets, but lately I’ve been tripping over my two large labs while puttering around the kitchen. They eye me longingly for any morsel of food that may tumble off the counters. In some ways, pets are like having little children underfoot. To keep some semblance of order in my home, I try like crazy (and almost successfully) to keep my dogs (and cat) off the furniture, but in the kitchen I’m constantly tripping over my pooches.

This NY Times article has got me thinking about designing spaces in homes specifically to accommodate family pets. The article claims, “Dogs and cats cause more than 86,000 falls requiring emergency room care each year, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that may be among the first of its kind. That translates into about 240 people who are treated for injuries caused by pets every single day in the United States, the study found.”

We design some aspects of our homes with our kids in mind. Why not do it for our pets? Animals love nooks, crannies, niches and cubbies to curl up in and be close to their family. Even dresser drawers and suitcases  can be repurposed to keep pets near and safe.

When I saw this picture over at Apartment Therapy of a built-in dog bed under a kitchen island, I immediately squirreled the picture away for a future DIY kitchen design project. This type of built-in solution offers another take on what could be accomplished if we designed spaces in our home with our pet’s best interests at heart.

Here are some inventive solutions for living dogs, and one very cool cat bed:

Inspired DIY ideas for living with pets:

Have you devised a solution that allows pets to be with you, but not underfoot at home?

Ronnie Citron-Fink lives in New York with her husband, two children (when they come home to the nest), two dogs and a cat. Ronnie is a teacher and a writer. She has been a contributing writer for Family Fun magazine. She currently writes articles about education and home design. Her writings are in four books including Family Fun Home and Some Delights of the Hudson Valley.

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William F.
William Ford4 years ago

Oh I miss my dogs (died few years ago)

Andrea Oefinger
Past Member 5 years ago

Some good suggestions, thanx.

Philippa P.
Philippa P.5 years ago


Tammy Smith
Tammy Smith5 years ago

Thanks for posting

Georgeta R.

Interesting. Thanks.

Kerrie G.
Kerrie G.5 years ago


Andrea Dorazio
Andrea Dorazio5 years ago

Pretty cool. Thanks!

Sue H.
Sue H.5 years ago

Great, critter friendly article, thanks!

Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat5 years ago


Mike Masley
Michael Masley5 years ago