Whether or not you made it to our 2nd annual big furry festival, Tails & Treasures, by now you know University District loves to keep everyone and their dogs active, happy and engaged. From the pet spa at Esquire to keep pups squeaky clean after a zip through our urban dog park, to the dedicated dog run at Rhapsody, these are just a few ways we’ve prioritized healthy active lifestyles for you and your best friends.
It’s not just about walks to the park, though. Indoor time with your dogs and cats is critical, and if you happen to be working with a smaller home space you’re probably used to creative ways to keep your home in sync with your personal harmony and your four-legged pals.
To stick with the theme of pets in honour of our signature Tails & Treasures event this month, we linked up with Chloe Leung and Jennifer Madsen, resident interior design experts with our builder partners Homes by Avi and Brookfield Residential with their tips and suggestions for some quirky ways to keep your space primed for you and your furry.
As we all know, life is about doing the best we can with what we’ve got. When it comes to designing a smaller home, the power of light is your friend. Mirrors reflect light and create the instinctive feeling of space, breadth, and pop in spaces that don’t have as much real estate to work with.
On that same note, you’ll want to focus on lighter palettes and tones for your small space. Big, dark coloured furniture and decor pieces can suck up space and light in your already limited area and show off unwanted sheddings from your pooch or kitten.
“In addition to a little fur camouflage, whites, light greys, and light taupe colors can help make space feel more spacious,” Jennifer Madsen told us. “Bringing in pops of colour within the accessories, art, furniture, and the odd feature wall can help add interest, while maintaining an open and bright feel. Adding too many ‘loud’ or dark colors can overwhelm the space, making it feel cluttered and small.” A colourful pet bed that complements your palette is one great way to incorporate colour in your pet accessories too and is easy to change out if your style changes!
Photo Credit: Brookfield Residential
And on that note about double function design? Chloe continues: “To maximize space in smaller units, furniture choice is essential. There are many pieces that have a double function, while incorporating a nice design aesthetic. An example is an ottoman with storage. On the outside it is cozy and soft, while the interior is structured to store many things from board games and extra blankets to knick-knacks and your fur baby’s toys.” What better way to keep them from underfoot?
“Another example of a dual function furniture piece is the TV console. Instead of buying a piece specifically for a TV, a narrow bar table is a great way to add extra seating to the space. Adding a few barstools to it provides extra seating for meals, while grounding the TV above. To add even more function, a bar table with storage would be optimal as it provides a place for any movie/game consoles to be set up for the TV.”
We mentioned a couple of dog-oriented University District amenities earlier, and one of the more convenient aspects of living with dogs is they’re relatively easy to entertain. A leash, except in the urban dog park, and some mobility, and you’re off to the races – Rover’s usually happy with a walk to the dog park and some healthy sniffs to scope out the world.
Cats are a trifle more complex, of course. They love their home zone and routine, but they also need their slinky, sneaky, particular methods to entertain themselves. Jennifer had some clever ideas along those lines as well: “A great way to keep pets entertained in a condo is to add play spaces within the design of the space. For cats, a designated ‘climbing wall’ could be a great way to keep them active and out of things they should not be climbing on. Stylized shelves that are strategically placed could be used for this purpose if it adds to the design of the space.
Not to forget the puppers of the world, Jennifer had some plans to enact there too. “ For dogs, a nice soft rug and a bin full of toys can help to keep them entertained. The rug not only helps define the design of the space, but the boundaries of the play area as well. A nice basket with the toys can add to the décor of the space, while maintaining the function as storage. Having the basket of toys available for the pets to retrieve, encourages them to entertain themselves when their owner is unavailable.”
“Generally speaking,” continues Jennifer, “When pets are sharing the space, consistency and balance is key. Matching the pet’s things (bed, dishes, etc.), to the colors and style within the space, makes the room feel cohesive and well put together. This helps to eliminate any feeling of clutter that could overwhelm the space.Pet accessories have so many options these days that finding something that matches your style is generally easy and fun!”
Proper materials for your furniture and decor will also go a long way toward keeping your home fresh and clean with your animals in tow. Chloe Leung explains: “When It comes to having a pet, having the right finishes in your home is very important. Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring, or LVP, is the most durable for animals as it does not scratch as much as hardwood and it is harder to see scuffs that were caused by your pets. Dogs just need a comfy couch or a nice rug in a space to curl up on. There are lots of fabric and material options out there that are durable and stain resistant that make clean up a breeze.”
Photo Credit: Passive Haus
Whatever furry you call family, don’t let bowls, beds, crates and a colourful assortment of pet accessories stop you in your tracks from creating a stylish abode. Take these tips and tricks along with you to design a chic and welcoming environment where your smallest family members feel stimulated, comfortable, and ready to snuggle up for some quality time together. After all, you both deserve it!
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