Kirsty McLuckie: The trend of keeping pets in mind when renovating or furnishing

New year, new home improvement project – gone are the trends of 2021 and in come the hot and happening colours and fashions of the future. However, 2022’s hottest interior trend is apparently not for the benefit of the human occupants of the house.

Picture: Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock
Picture: Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock

More and more, interior designers are receiving requests from customers to create a home that is liveable and functional for all family members, including cats and dogs.

On Pinterest the groan-inducing “Barkitecture” – redesigning rooms for the benefit of pets – is a top trend prediction for the coming year.

And a TikTok user went viral recently after creating an entire living room for his dogs, with miniature side tables, lamps, sofas and a flat screen TV. After all, there is now a designated dog TV channel, so why not a doggy TV lounge?

It all sounds quite mad, but actually, looking at our canine and feline household, I can see the attraction of keeping pets in mind when renovating or furnishing.

According to Oxfordshire-based interior designer Anne Haimes, requests for built-in custom-made dog beds in a fitted kitchen are becoming more common, where the space for one or two cupboards is sacrificed to make room for a made-to-measure mattress under the countertop.

And there is a lot of sense in this – including a designated space for our dog would go some way to alleviating the need to constantly step over him as he chooses to snooze in the ergonomically designed triangle between fridge, sink and hob.

In living areas, Haimes reports that owners are incorporating bespoke multi-level “cat trees” for their felines to scratch, climb and sleep, complete with soft hammocks framed in high-quality wood.

She points to a trend for “multi-functional furniture items, particularly side tables, that have a built-in space for cats to climb in and relax, lined with sheepskin”.

But actually getting our prototypically recalcitrant cat to actually sit on or scratch an item supplied for that purpose, rather than a valued heirloom, has always been beyond me.

Looking at some of the pet items available to purchase for bedrooms made me think of how far we’ve come in just a few decades.

Alongside the chihuahua-sized pink four-posters, you can get a dog bed which slides out from under your own. Many years ago, such “trundle beds” were used to accommodate children in an overcrowded space. Now they allow us to be next to our dog’s snores – or worse, emissions – as we sleep.

The most tempting place to try a little barkitecture, I feel, is a utility room. I once conducted a viewing in a beautiful cottage that had a full canine wet room inside the back door, complete with low-level bath, hot shower, grooming table and flexible air dryers. I was suitably impressed – and apparently these are now becoming commonplace.

Our scruff, Ted, would be mightily perturbed if he were subjected to such pampering, but it would be infinitely more convenient than rugby tackling him with a towel in an effort to stop him vigorously shaking mud up the interior walls after a winter walk.

Maybe such improvements are not so barking after all?

- Kirsty McLuckie is property editor at The Scotsman

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