Inside the popular “barkitecture” design trend.

When you walk into a home, you may notice elements that stand out immediately—the floor to ceiling windows, the grand piano in the foyer, the elegant staircase welcoming you in, the flowers that liven up the entryway and the list goes on.

But have you ever noticed the dog’s bed? Or perhaps the cat’s jungle gym? With the latest trend in architecture and interior design taking a pet-first approach, you may start finding something new as the center of a person’s home. You’ve probably seen cute new chew toys, like “Dom Pawgnon” or “Chewy Vuitton,” but there’s a new level of pet luxury that far surpasses the designer plushies.

Animal-first architecture, or “Barkitecture,” is all about keeping your pet and their needs in mind when redecorating the home, according to Country Living. This new fad in design gives pets their own luxurious space, and it’s not only more aesthetically pleasing, but also more practical for the animal.

“According to new data from Pinterest, searches for luxury dog rooms have increased by a whopping 115%, while the number of people looking for dog beds made from furniture has grown three times,” reported a Country Living article in 2022. “Cat house design and luxury cat rooms are also on the up, with more owners creating stylish spaces for pets to nap, relax, purr and play.”

This trend not only lets homeowners pamper their pets, but finds creative ways to give their pets what they need for an ideal living space. Home renovations are seeing old rooms turned into furry play havens, cat-scratch posts that fit into home designs, elevated toys and beds and stylish storage for pet necessities.

“When working with clients, we often hear of pets being just as big a part of the family as a human being,” said Marcie Davis, agent for Summit Sotheby’s International Realty. “I love seeing this pop up in houses in a range of applications because it’s a selling point for those clients that do treat their pets like family. It’s a feature people didn’t even know they wanted, but now they feel like they need.”

Wondering how you can implement some classy upgrades for your four-legged friend? Look no further, tips and tricks to bow-wow your guests are here.

Out with the old, outdated red houses in the backyard and in with the new, posh mansions for your pooch. Instead of building your pet a designated space that hides away, why not show it off?

As a rainy-day DIY project, take some old wood and build an extravagant pet home that stands out in your living or play area. Special just for your pet, they can store food and water dishes, toys, beds, or just know that to be their space! Paint it to match the aesthetic of the room and voila, your pet’s home fits right in, literally.

If a home is too much, Pinterest results also lend themselves to repurposing old furniture to make an extravagant bed for your pet. Cozy blankets and pillows, instead of raggedy old ones, let the bed blend with the theme of whatever room it sits in. Some creative designs even lend themselves to adding storage within the pet’s bed, or designing it so it can slide in and out of a hidden alcove in the home.

Do you have a room or section of your home that just isn’t serving you anymore? Perhaps it could serve your pet? Pets love space just as much as humans do! If a dog or cat house isn’t your thing, why not turn that section of the home that’s just taking up space into useful space.

People have turned showers, spare closets and even nooks in the master bedroom into designated pet bedrooms. Pets can have their own space to close off in, knowing it as their own, for sleeping and more. If your pet is a messy eater, this is a space to consolidate their mess. If they misbehave, it’s a space to sit when punished or being trained. If they have a potty-pad that stays in the house, this becomes the spot.

Doors can close the pets off from the rest of the house in the event of guests coming over. Pets also come to know this space as their own, and can store their toys there so as not to leave balls and squeakies all over the house to trip over.

Some designs include scratch-proof walling so cats don’t rip up wallpaper, and built-in jungle-gyms to keep a home cat-proof. With space for a cat to play and toys already hanging, there’s no more fear of a cat knocking down valuables.

Some spaces even have swinging doors that let pets go outside whenever they decide they want fresh air. The sky’s the limit when it comes to utilizing space in a home.

Beyond giving pets a special home or space in the house, folks have taken to giving their pets their own spaces for sanitation reasons as well. A separate mini-dishwasher designated for pet bowls, so there’s no cross-contamination with human food, a food and water bowl riser to keep eating off the floor, and shower drains to clean pets more often and keep dander out of the house are all becoming more common than one would think.

Though the shift in the family pet dynamic started in the 1970’s, according to a New York Times article, the COVID-19 pandemic brought a surge in pet ownership, directly leading to an increase in spending for pets. “For some pet owners, pet-forward design is a confluence of making the home more functional while also pampering pups,” the article explained.

The function of these designs is all about making living with a pet easier, and when the homeowner sells, it becomes a special selling point that some homes don’t have. With pets being such central parts of a family dynamic, giving them as much love as a human baby just makes sense. Homes are meant to fit the way a family lives, and including the pets is becoming a big part of that.

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