How to design a beautiful space for your dog, and the best kit to buy

How to design a beautiful space for your dog, and the best kit to buy

A bespoke pet shower will cost around £2,000 to build – a considerable outlay, given that I can wash Rudy perfectly well with a bucket of warm water and a brush by the back door. Yet Chau reminds me that our dogs are no longer just dogs. Their comfort is paramount, which why owners are also willing to spend eye-watering sums on orthopaedic mattresses and hand-carved oak beds with pillows. “Dogs are like people; they have different sleeping requirements at different stages of their lives,” she explains. 

“Burrowing breeds such as dachshunds and terriers love to be covered up, as do short-haired breeds, such as whippets and Italian greyhounds, while dogs with heavier coats don’t like to be too warm. Some dogs like to stretch out; some like to rest their chins on the edge of the bed; older dogs need a firmer surface to support them when they stand up.” Along with duck feather mattresses, her company now sells anti-microbial memory foam mattress to protect older dogs from bruising themselves on the floor when they stand up, plus elegant raised frames in rattan. “A dog mattress is large – covered in the wrong fabric or plonked unceremoniously on the floor it will spoil the look of a room,” Chau says.  

Another popular option is to create purpose-built cubbies for dogs in kitchen islands or cabinetry. Jo Ashwin of Hill Farm Furniture designs cabinetry for kitchens and boot rooms with dogs in mind, creating cosy nooks beneath work surfaces. “I was recently asked to design a whole designated dog room, with a bed with drawers underneath,” she says. The most popular colours for dog cabinetry are practical deep blues and greens, with muted greys, soft blues, fawns on any upholstery and terracotta or limestone on the floor, or ceramic tiles that resemble natural stone. Both Chau and Field have noticed, however, that pops are colour are creeping in to dogteriors: vibrant oranges, damson pinks and Yves Klein blue. “Changing the colours of your dog’s mattress covers can refresh the whole look of a room,” Chau says. 

Where you feed your dog – and with what kind of bowl – is also a design opportunity, Field adds. She suggests earmarking a designated dining area for them, with a non-slip wooden tray and the kind of bowls you’d want to have on your own table, rather than the standard metal one that slides around the floor when they eat or drink. Her pointer eats out of a hand-thrown pot by Studio Ranj; Hempel’s dogs, meanwhile, eat their dog croutons and oxtail stew out of Goyard bowls, which are contained in a sturdy wood and leather tray.