As a long-time pet lover and owner of three dogs and one (very tolerant) cat, I’ve often struggled to balance my love of beautiful design with the challenges of managing four creatures that shed continuously, drip water from their water bowls clear across the kitchen and track muddy paws throughout my house.
It turns out I’m not alone. Between our recently hosted Pet-Friendly Design Clubhouse Chat and
my latest HouseBeautiful.com article spotlighting three KB Designers Network members who design pet-friendly spaces, my email box has been blowing up. I’ve heard from designers looking for products to accommodate pet spaces, manufacturers talking about how to modify existing products for pet needs and pet owners begging for creative design solutions for everything from older pets with mobility issues to sloppy eaters. It’s clear that the topic has legs – four of them, in fact! – and designers may want to take note.
The pandemic has driven pet ownership to record levels; for many singles and empty nesters, pets are becoming the new kids. And, when it comes to their pets, people will happily invest generously to ensure their comfort, health and happiness. Just ask Richard Landon at the Bellevue, WA-based Richard Landon Design, who actually designed a separate stair ramp for the comfort of his clients’ pair of low-to-the-ground dachshunds.
Or talk to Wellborn Cabinet, where demand continues to grow for cabinets designed to accommodate everything from pet storage to pet feeding stations.
Design professionals have long known the value of designing personalized spaces that work for the individual needs of the family. But with more and more families including four-legged members, it’s important to consider how spaces can accommodate the unique needs of pets, while still addressing homeowners’ desire for well-designed spaces that minimize mess and clutter and maximize aesthetics and function.
Designing pet-friendly spaces and showcasing them on your website can help you connect with clients who view their pets as family, and help you tap into a new and fast-growing niche as well. And, as an added bonus, photos that showcase pets can increase your social media engagement exponentially! Indeed, in one survey brands saw up to 295% more comments on Instagram photos that included a pet. Even the illustrious Sotheby’s saw this “pet effect,” with an Instagram post featuring a dog quickly garnering 4,949 likes and 161 comments, compared to their average of 2,406 likes and 37 comments for similar posts without a pet.
If you’re not on the pet bandwagon yet, it’s time to hop on board. Pets are big business, and designers can best serve homeowners by considering the needs of all of the members of their family – even the furry ones!