Dog-Friendly Decor: How to Turn Any Room Into a Safe Space for Your BFF

Haylee Bergeland, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, RBT
·6 min read

rambo80 / Shutterstock

Just as you like your own time alone and your own space to relax in, so does your dog. Our lives can be loud, hectic, and messy—and this can create a stressful environment for your dog. So giving them a quiet retreat space in your home goes a long way in making your hound happy.

When your dog needs to be alone, or you need to be alone from your dog, converting a space in your home into a dogs-only zone is a great idea and super easy to do.

Best Spaces to Convert Into a 'Dog Room'

If you're fortunate enough to have enough space in your home that you can dedicate an entire room just for your dog, lucky you (and your pooch!). However, for your canine buddy to feel safe and comfortable in your home it's not a requirement that he have an entire room to himself. These ideas work well no matter how large or small your home spaces might be. Just always make extra sure each space has been thoroughly dog-proofed!

Laundry room

When it's not covered in clothing (ahem, like mine), a laundry room can offer a safe, secure place for your dog to retreat to. Be sure you make it extra safe by removing anything (or storing things away) not dog friendly, like clearing supplies, and keep the space more open by using adjustable gates instead of closing the door. Also make sure your dog is alright with the noises that come from your washer and dryer before you decide to make that spot into his new room.

Mudroom

Most mudrooms generally offer floors that are easy to clean and have easy access to outside, which helps keep outdoor messes from getting tracked through the rest of the house. They are also handy spots for storing pet gear like leashes and favorite toys. Make sure to add soft mats or dog beds to ensure your dog is comfy when he rests. And ensure there's enough floor space that your dog's special spot isn't in a main traffic pattern where he'll be underfoot.

Extra bedroom

It doesn't get any easier than turning over a spare bedroom to your four-legged friend, assuming you are OK with a little dog hair on the bed. Just be sure to dog-proof the room and remove anything that might become a danger to your dog such as cords, socks and undergarments, plants, or open windows. Then, baby gate the door and done!

Extra space under your stairs

Think Harry Potter's first bedroom, but without the sad back story. There are loads of great DIY under-the-stairs dog room ideas on the internet. Consider removing under-stair closet doors and replacing them with a baby gate. Or actually remove drywall and restructure the space into a doggie-sized room (you might need to consult with a professional contractor for this, to ensure you're not compromising the structural stability of your stairs).

Just be sure your dog enjoys a tucked away space and keep the spot airy and cool by installing an adjustable gate as a door or leave it open without a door. Wood-frame screen doors (like the kind you might add to an exterior entrance) also make clever replacements for solid doors inside. They allow you to shut the door on your dog's space, but still provide sight lines and air flow.

Basement

Not to be confused with a creepy location that scary clowns hide in, your basement (especially if it's finished), can work really well as a safe area for your dog to relax in. Use the whole space or section off an area with well-placed gates, dog beds and mats, and some favorite toys. If your basement is also the place where you store cleaning supplies, tools, paints, and other home improvement materials, be sure your dog doesn't have access to them.

Large closet

The size is important here, as no regular closet will do—even for a small dog. A walk-in closet or storage room is best. The space should be large enough that your dog can stand up in it, easily move to change positions, and lay down comfortably. You also don't want to be able to close the door on your dog. Remove the current door and replace it with a baby gate so the space is open and airy.

Corner of living room

If you live in an apartment and are short on space, just use what you have by investing in baby gates or adjustable dog pens. Block off an area of your living room so that your dog feels like he can retreat there when needed but still be near you while you watch TV or cook in your kitchen.

Things To Add to Make any Space More Dog Friendly

Baby gates and adjustable pens

Pet gates and pens are the perfect thing to keep on hand when you have a dog, and having more than one is even better. Use them to block access to rooms and spaces you'd rather your dog didn't venture into, and utilize them as a way to section off portions of a room that can become a perfect area for your canine buddy.

Rubber flooring

There are lots of different types of flooring you can use to make a dog space comfy. Rubber or foam flooring can work wonders in a space that doesn't already have carpet or tile. It's durable and easy to clean!

Fans

Many dogs find the cooling hum of a fan to be soothing. Make sure any fans you add won't tip over easily, and keep cords tucked away from chew-obsessed puppies.

Dog bed

To make sure your doggo is extra comfy, offer dog-friendly furniture or beds and plushy mats (bath mats work great!) and rugs in their space. Just be sure you don't have a canine that might like to "eat" a new dog bed before you add one to their doggie room.

Dog crate or kennel

If your dog is crate trained, placing their kennel in their dog space is a good idea. You can keep the crate door open and place a mat or rug inside to keep your pooch snug.

Water bowl

It's always important that your dog has easy access to fresh, cool water all day long. Consider investing in a water dispenser and use stainless steel bowls that are a cinch to clean, prevent stains, and are rust-resistant.

Enrichment items

Chew toys, puzzles, and interactive games are all great options to offer your dog when they are hanging out in their dog room. Purchase items that are well-suited to your dog, but remember that some dogs are likely to destroy toys when you are away, especially if they might be prone to anxiety. If this is your dog, instead offer up "tough chewer" toys or Kongs filled with kibble or get creative and make frozen treats you can sprinkle about the space.

Your dog will thank you when you give him a room or space in your home just for him. With a little creativity, your home will be a safe and happy retreat for your canine companion in no time!