Celebrate Chinese Year of the Dog

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

On Feb. 16, it looks like we’re going to the dogs, in a good way. According to the Chinese zodiac calendar, 2018 is their year and there’s a lot to be learned from this unique species considered by many to be the most caring companions.

“With good reason, dogs are dubbed man’s best friend. They’re playful, lovable and loyal,” says Dennis Fairchild, a Royal Oak-based feng shui expert and the author of “Healing Homes.” “They wag their tails; they’re optimistic and happy.”

As he explains, the tone of the Year of the Earth Dog is characterized by the desire to chase issues and causes larger than ourselves. “There will be a move away from materialism, toward self-reflection and reassessment of values to find a more noble path,” says Fairchild. “During this year, one benefits by minimizing one’s focus on money and status in favor of things simple and necessary. The Dog’s unselfishness will predispose us to act in good faith.”

House of dogs

As for your decor, Fairchild says it’s time to celebrate your personal creativity and originality in 2018. For your home, he says warm, earthy tones, from soft beige and rich tan to terracotta, are popular feng shui Chinese astrology furniture fabric colors this year.

Organic, natural materials (versus velvet or poly) with minimal patterns are said to bring luck to homeowners now. Additional Earth Dog colors include forest and emerald green (ideal for area rugs and bed covers this year) and deep shades of blue, like lapis lazuli.

“For increasing health and longevity, display sprigs of blooming dogwood (of course), as well as pink roses and orchids (live is best; silk is A-Okay, too). Bring nature indoors with live plants in your gathering or living room,” says Fairchild.

Remove your collections of small knickknacks; 2018 collectibles should either be big, unbreakable and hands-on touchable, or none at all. “It’s easier to clutter and horde in Dog years,” he adds. “Remove glass and breakable items; showcase things of weight or substance.”

For smaller accents, such as pillows and throws, do red, which is famously popular in relation to anything Chinese and symbolizes luck, happiness and joy. In the spring, consider a new welcome mat with red highlights for your front porch. To stimulate financial gain, place potted red geraniums there, too.

Select picture frames that feature glass, shells, opal, silver, wood and ceramic instead of gold or brass in the Year of the Dog. “Small-scale ceramic or wood figurines of animals — especially dogs — bring new life to a space this year,” adds Fairchild.

Rooms with ceramic tile are believed to deliver luck and prosperity this year. Embrace light browns and terracotta shades for this material.

Must-have items for the home include couches with removable pillows made for lounging, oversized chairs that are good for catnaps, furniture with wooden legs; not iron, and wooden wind chimes near your back entry to attract peace of mind for inhabitants.

Emphasize creature comforts for the bedroom with a cushy topper on your bed embellished with cozy blankets and soft pillows.

For your wall decor, Fairchild recommends circles and ovals instead of the typical rectangles and squares. The same can apply to your area rugs. This is inspired by the fact that dogs often circle two or three times before they settle down.

If you get stuck in a rut this year, invite change and opportunity by cleaning your clutter drawer, first aid kit or medicine cabinet.

Lastly, because loyalty is more important than ever in the Year of the Dog, consumers will be a little less likely to experiment, says Fairchild, who shares some “Famous Dogs” with a decorating and fashion eye: Madonna, Mariah Carey, Naomi Campbell, Cher, Sophia Loren and Claudia Schiffer.

Puppy love

On Feb. 16, Fairchild will do a presentation at Three Cats Cafe at Leon & Lulu in Clawson where they feature unique dog-themed pieces throughout. “We like dogs and there are a lot of great-looking dog accessories,” says co-owner Mary Liz Curtin. “They’re probably designed by people who love dogs and they’re so charming and have such personality that you like them even if it’s not your kind of dog or you have a cat.”

Her canine companions, Spot and Birdie, often go to work with her where dog lovers can find vintage reproductions, Recycled Rascals made from newspaper and a variety of charming coffee table books on the topic.

There’s even a couch covered in dog-themed fabric. “Any sofa is a great dog bed,” says Curtin who honors these beloved pets on a regular basis. “We celebrate dogs all the time. They’re loyal, happy, affectionate, and they’ll eat anything.”

Canine cache

Through City Bark in Detroit you can have a lifelike three-dimensional portrait of your pooch custom made by Orlando-based artist Meryl Rachlin, owner of Art That Pops, who works from photos and measurements. The pet boutique also carries fashionable dog beds from Jax & Bones.

At Bed Bath & Beyond, spokesperson Leah Drill says they carry dog decor not only for their customers, but also for their special furry friends. “Our wide selection of pet care options offer both clever and convenient products like cozy clothing and dog beds, to pet bowls, wall art, personalized items and more,” she says.

Drill says personalized pet products are popular, simply because people love their pets. From dog mats to wall decor, many can be customized.

One of the newer pet lines they offer comes from UGG, which shares the same aesthetic and cozy appeal as the UGG home products.

Other fun finds include the ED Ellen DeGeneres home decor items, such as the ones that were inspired by her dog Augie. “Like Ellen, the ED Ellen DeGeneres collection is relaxed and casual,” says Drill. “Most of her animal-themed items have a whimsical aspect to them, which are adorable and make people smile.”

Just like the lovable creatures featured in the Chinese New Year and in our hearts and our homes.

Jeanine Matlow writes the Smart Solutions column in Homestyle. You can reach her at

Dine & Design: Dennis and The Dog

Learn more about the Year of the Dog at Three Cats Cafe at Leon & Lulu in Clawson with Dennis Fairchild. Their Dine & Design: Dennis and The Dog event will be held 5-8 p.m. Feb. 16 (presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.). Dinner includes Soba Noodles for happiness and long life, a tangerine for wealth, chicken salad on mixed field greens (because it’s delicious) and a lucky red cherry cupcake. The cost is $25 per person and the location is 116 W. 14 Mile Road. For reservations, call 248-288-4858.