11/28/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Fine Design with Pets in Mind

On Twitter recently, I saw a Tweet that asked:

"When does design go too far? I had a friend looking for a cat this weekend...the only requirement was that it matched the furniture...crazy"

I say: Not crazy! As the incredibly devoted (OK, obsessed!) owner of two dogs that smile all the time, an interior designer, and a big believer in making life comfortable and easy, nothing could be smarter than designing a space that matches your pets.

For starters, it's practical. Pets shed, and in between using the lint roller and vacuums, you won't see the hair. If you're bothered by dirt, designing to match your pet is a must.

Design inspiration can come in many forms. The color and texture of a pet's fur is as good an inspiration as any. Pets' coats can be glossy, nubby, shirred. A room that combines these textures can be very interesting.

I designed an interior for the owner of a German shepherd. That dog shed like crazy. And it was going to have the run of the house. So I chose a color palette to match the dog: mottled brown, olives and tans. Voila, dog hair disappeared. Decor looked great.

There are other ways to make your decor work for your pet. Keep furniture dark or neutral in color to camouflage paw prints and pet hair. Use hardwood floors, rather than rugs, make cleaning easy. But steer clear of really dark stained floors -- they show everything. If you want to really treat your pets well (and yourselves, let's be honest), add radiant heat to the floors. It can help keep energy costs down and soothes frozen paws.

And, finally, if you're going to the trouble of matching your pet to your furniture, make sure that your dog bed matches, too. I love this Aluma den. It's a bed and an end table! And, it's kind of funny!

One thing to note: Sixty-three percent of U.S, households own a pet, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association's 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey. If everyone designed their homes around their pets, wouldn't that be beautiful?

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