At home in the world with your pets

Wares columnist Cami Weinstein on how you can make your pets feel at home – wherever you are.

Pets are part of our families and require a tremendous amount of time and energy caring for them. Pets are a wonderful way to teach children to love and care for others and the love they return is immeasurable. We always had pets when our children were small.  Our household over the years included two cats, one dog, lizards, a bird and many fish tanks. Their antics and the love they gave us and we gave them provided us with so much entertainment. 

There are some ways, though, to make living with pets less challenging and to enjoy the experience. Pets are happiest when they have their own spaces defined. Keep their food and sleeping areas in the same place so they don’t become confused. Many of my clients create an area for them in their home, such as the mudroom. They keep their food and water there and have even included a bath area for their pets. Many dogs have their own spot for their leashes, booties and coats. Keep pet areas clean and water and food fresh.  More often than not, pet owners keep the food and water in the kitchen.

Other clients prefer their pets’ sleeping beds be closer to the family action, and since most pets want to be included in every day living this makes sense. We have created dog beds to match the décor of the room. When making the beds, we use “performance” fabrics for bed covers that are easy to launder. We also recommend having at least two covers for the bed. While one is in the wash, you can use the other so your pet doesn’t feel misplaced. We also recommend “performance” or indoor/ outdoor fabrics on family room furniture to wipe up messes that both kids and pets can make. 

There are other ways to make life easier living with pets. Always keep a lint roller nearby to remove pet hair from furniture quickly. And vacuuming often keeps pet fur under control. I often select fabrics that are easy to clean and in colors that can hide a few stray hairs. For pets with dark fur we often select navy, dark charcoal, grays and cocoa colors. For pets with lighter fur, pale grays, creams and pale blues can easily keep a room freshly updated and hide stray fur. There are wide choices in area rugs and carpets now that can also stand up to both kids and pets and we often use them in designing homes. Today’s clients want both a stylish home and one that is easy to keep. 

Not only do we create homes to include our families and pets, we often design with animal prints. Animal prints such as cheetah, leopard, giraffe and zebra have been timeless motifs that can be used in either traditional or modern décor. In modern décor, faux furs are popular and often used on pillows and throws. There is even a trend of adding a “furry” chair or chairs as focal points in a room. A pale cheetah print can look great on a rug and can easily minimize stains created by your kids and real pets. Adding an accent chair in an animal print or even a faux fur adds a little spark of fun and sophistication to your room. Wallpapers also come in animal prints and when used can create a strong design statement. Think about using an oversized navy and white zebra print in a study to liven up the room. Also consider bird motifs in interiors. Traditional floral prints in both wallpaper and fabric designs often include birds, which are a particular favorite of mine. 

The travel industry has also catered to pets in the last several years. Many hotels now offer stays that can include the family pet. When traveling with your pets bring some of their toys and their beds so they feel comfortable and not frightened in new surroundings. Keep your pets with you as much as possible when traveling so they don’t get lonely or stressed out in an unfamiliar hotel room. 

Enjoy the spring and getting out and about with your pets. 

For more, call 203-661-4700 or visit

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