Show your pet some love with stylish home decor
My first true love had red hair, green eyes and a bit of a moody streak.
He was a loner who didn’t especially like other people – sometimes he’d even scratch them. But to me, he was completely devoted. He loved to cuddle.
His name was Jack – and he was my tabby cat.
Jack, who I had for 15 years, had a bit of an attitude. When I had company, he’d often sit on chairs and swipe folks with his paw as they walked by. When I lived in South Carolina and my sister came to visit, he peed in her suitcase.
But Jack was the most committed fur-friend. Even when a tumor developed on his left shoulder and he could only walk with three paws, he’d hobble up from the basement each night to sit on my lap.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I’m reminded of my sweet, ornery cat. Is there any truer love than the love of our pets?
And let’s be honest: We don’t just love our pets. We adore them. And our adoration translates into big spending.
According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent $60.6 billion on pet expenses in 2015, up from $58 billion in 2014. Food was the biggest expense ($24 billion), followed by vet care ($15 billion) and supplies and over-the-counter medicine ($14 billion).
For Valentine’s Day alone, consumers will spend $681 million on their pets, according to the National Retail Federation’s Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey.
As we’ve integrated pets into nearly every aspect of our lives, we’re also integrating them into our decor at home. Today, pet stores offer a host of pet decor products, from duvet covers for dog beds to special candles that reduce pet odors.
Tammy Eugenio, co-owner of 3 Dogs 1 Cat Urban Pet Shoppe in Detroit’s Eastern Market, which opened in May 2013, says there are now coffee tables and dressers with integrated pet beds.
“Before we hid their round dog beds. Now it’s part of the decor,” says Eugenio, who owns the 2,500-square-foot shop with her sister, Trisha Stander and friend Rita Wilson.
And some pet-oriented furniture pieces are high-end. Custom cabinet manufacturer Wood-Mode, for example, created an entire Pet Parlor as part of its Embassy Row cabinetry. It features a multitasking room that has an island for brushing, grooming, sorting and folding; a hideaway dog dish drawer with adjacent food storage bins; a deep sink for bathing; and a “fountain” with faucet that allows fill-ups for a bowl tucked in beneath it.
Seattle designer Evan Gray Gregory, creator of her company, Modernist Cat, says incorporating a pet’s needs into a home “is an opportunity for added beauty rather than a problem of hiding an eyesore.”
“I’ve taken litter box covers, dog crates, scratching posts, pet beds and even food and water dishes and made them into gorgeous, high-quality furniture that serves our human needs and desires too,” says Gregory. “It’s why my slogan is: ‘Made for pets. Designed for you.’”
Personalized pet decor also is big these days, says Eugenio, such as pillows or wall hangings that feature specific breeds.
Cynthia Mair, whose nearly 3-year-old miniature pinscher mix Elroy has become the official mascot of 3 dogs 1 cat, hired a California illustrator to draw a cartoon of her dog.
“It’s on stretched canvas,” says Mair, who also works at the 3 Dogs 1 Cat Urban Pet Shoppe.
Pet beds alone are now available in a wide range of fabrics with funky patterns. Retailers such West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Urban Outfitters now all offer pet beds.
Washable fabrics is key, says Eugenio. The Molly Mutt duvet comes in three sizes – small, medium/large, and huge – all of which are 100 percent washable.
Detroit’s own Shinola offers a line of pet products at 3 Dog 1 Cat Urban Pet Shoppe, including dog beds in three sizes ($180-230), pet toys, collars and leads. A little leather pouch is attached to each lead, or leash.
Dog bowls also have stepped up style. Available in porcelain, metal, food-safe melamine in traditional or modern shapes, they can be found in a gamut of colors and patterns.
A growing number of bowls also are designed to slow down a dog’s eating. Designed to reduce choking or bloat, they’re built with patterns or obstacles to draw out eating a little longer.
“They’ve been really popular,” says Trisha Stander of 3 Dogs 1 Cat Urban Pet Shoppe.
And for messy eaters, pet mats also are important. Designer Bunny Williams recently designed a kiln-fired ceramic bowl for Ballard Designs, which is flat-bottomed and features a classic Chinese motif inside and out. It coordinates with a set of mats.
As much as we love our furry friends, they can also have their own aroma. Petfection is a Grosse Pointe-based company that makes a line of aromotherapy sprays not only to freshen the air, but to calm jittery or anxious pets with its Calming Spray.
Another local company, Starshine Square, based in Detroit, also makes odor eliminating soy candles specifically for pet owners. Scents include cashmere silk, strawberry kiwi, and clean sheets.
Many pet owners these days want their pet decor to fold seamlessly into their homes.
“Aesthetically, people are aware of how things blend,” says Eugenio.
Elaine Markoutsas of Universal Uclick contributed to this report.