Pet-themed home design in 3 easy steps

This is a guest post for the sweet and talented Adriana Willsie - you'll see her custom pet portraits at the bottom. She's got some serious talent. Think I need a little painting of Thisbe?? Sure, you’re obsessed with your precious pup, and you can’t get enough of your cantankerous cat. But when it comes to decorating your home, you steer clear of showcasing your furry friends. After all, your aunt has covered every inch of her house in beloved bichons, so you know the crazy-pet-lady gene runs in your family.

But don’t let your fear of kitty-cat tchotchkes and collectible dishes covered in toy poodles scare you away from pet-themed décor all together. Using your love of pets as design inspiration can make for truly fun, unexpected, and personalized spaces. It’s easy to keep yourself from going overboard if you just follow these three straightforward guidelines:

1. Keep it simple

When it comes to pet-inspired home décor, it’s no surprise that less is usually more. Try picking an adorable print, a fun wall decal, or a cheerful throw pillow that highlights your particular furry obsession – but choose just one. After all, you want your space to represent multiple facets of your sparkling personality, and you are so much more than just a pug owner.

{This photo is included with the permission of the artist, Laura Ruth.}

I’m loving this sweet, fine art photograph by Laura Ruth. Wouldn’t it look lovely tucked in your reading corner?

A number of crafters on Etsy (myself included) make very simple, clean throw pillows featuring silhouettes of our favorite breeds. Two of my favorites are this natural burlap pillow with a cute dachshund applique and this brightly colored chevron pillow with dog embroidery.

2. Keep it modern

Nothing says fuddy-duddy quite like a tapestry throw embroidered with a baleful set of cocker spaniels. So go ahead and ditch the out-of-date pet-themed merchandise (read: anything you can buy at a hallmark gift store) and reach for items with a clean, modern look.

{This photo is included with the permission of the artist, Ashley Goldberg.}

I’m adoring this simple typography art print by the artist Ashley Goldberg. It’s airy and light and would brighten up any living space. Plus, it’s unique and unexpected – just like the spaces I like to create.

3. Keep it personal

What’s the point of pet-themed design if you can’t highlight the very furballs that matter to you the most: your pets! Lucky for you, there’s a world of options for celebrating your four-footed friends while decorating your interiors.

{This photo is included with the permission of the artist, kathyphantastic and her photographer Aimee Wenske.}

For instance, I’m drooling (no pun intended) over these adorably small decorative plates that come with a custom hand-drawing of your pet. They’d be so charming hanging on your kitchen wall.

Or, if original paintings are more your thing, a number of artists will do a fun, modern, and classy painting of your pet in acrylics or oils. I paint pet portraits myself (and this is my work shown below), but I also love the work of Corina St. Martin and Padgett Mason.

See? It’s not so hard. By keeping your pet-themed home design simple, modern, and personal, you can add fun punches of personality to any room without worrying about overdoing it.

Adriana Willsie is an unapologetically upbeat pet portrait artist living in Chicago, IL. You can see her work at, chat with her on twitter, or find her on facebook.