Once upon a time, if the family dog wasn’t banished alone to a dark, doorless dog house, he slept on an unforgiving floor in the house -- with not so much as a comfy memory foam bed with removable faux fur cover, matching bolsters, and built-in aromatherapy to ease his humiliation.

Today, we know better. Our pets are family. Fido eats at a table like the person he is and he sleeps like a king. Tinkerbell gets a WiFi-enabled litter box that cleans itself because enlightened cat parents don’t make their little princess walk in her own poop. 

DIYs for Passionate Pet Parents

In keeping with the furry-is-family trend, today we’re talking intentional spaces and simple, practical, fun elements to help your four-leggers live their best lives...without your home looking like a Petco display. Sure, you could buy all this stuff on Etsy (P.S., we’re all about supporting independent makers!), but then you wouldn’t have the satisfaction of knowing you did that!

Besides, your dog will think you’re the coolest. 

So without FURther ado (heh), in no particular order we give you stuff that says “You’re the best, Buddy." (Or Bella, Isla, or Shady Eddie…we don’t judge).

  1. Space under the stairs going to waste? We see a room for your dog to put his paws up and rest awhile. Pick a corner, nook, under-used closet -- you name it -- and make it all about your fave pooch. If you have open space available under your stairs, here’s something to spark your imagination.

    To any of the above, add an actually awesome bed (see below for suggestion), some nice storage for his beloved toys and a few special accessories like photos of the two/all of you, a special treat dish, orrrr a dog-sized coat rack for his favorite sweaters? (Hey, keep your shade; people have done weirder --- and mind-bendingly expensive -- things).

  2. For those without built-in spaces to give up and who’d like to create a welcoming, somewhat enclosed space for their canine companions to rest their paws in peace, it doesn’t get much easier than this adorable do-it-yourself “pup tent” that doubles as a perfect sunshade outdoors.

  3. Now, about those dog beds. Yes, you can plop a plush dog cushion on the floor and your dog will think it’s the Best Thing Ever. Unless we’re talking geriatrics, to your dog, a bed is a bed. Still, style -- whether upscale or funky -- is pretty cool, right? So we give you this elegant Murphy bed (yes, really!), this color bomb upcycled from a big ol’ tire, and this chic, modern option that looks a lot more expensive than it is. Looking for something a little (or a lot) simpler than all the above? This post from Family Handyman is chock full of comfy options.

    Murphy Dog Bed
    Image Source

  4. Cats are naturally curious, self-appointed monarchs who are happiest when supervising their kingdoms from above, and wow are there a lot of ways to give them what they want, so let us make bullet points for your convenience.

    Our house is currently cat-free, so would it be weird to build this easy-as-pie DIY wall-mounted perch + hammock DIY setup? Ok, whatever, fine. On the upside, we happen to know our Junior Editor’s kitty would love it! His mom would not, but we know she’ll adapt. (Excuse us while we make a Lowe’s run for some PVC pipe.) 

    In keeping with the lounging-with-a-view theme, we love this DIY wall-mounted cat hammock in white and natural canvas and the whole minimalist vibe the writer has going in her dedicated cat space.

    Sometimes a cat has to check on the great outdoors (from the safety of her house, of course) to make sure things are up to snuff. For that, this quick and easy window perch is ideal. What’s that you say? NASA couldn’t produce a suction cup you’d trust with your jumbo eh hem, sturdy kitty? Try attaching (with screws) a simple wood shelf to a window sill wide enough to accommodate said feline and finish with paint and a soft, durable upholstered cushion (or cushioning + fabric) that coordinates with your space. 

    Just ask your cat: there’s always room in the world for one more scratching post. Brittany at Pretty Handy Girl has this modern take you can whip together in no time and customize to coordinate with your decor. 

    We can’t get out of this without mentioning a cat tree, but let’s just pretend those hideous cardboard things covered in circa 1982 beige plush carpet don’t even exist and talk about this little beauty made with branches from actual nature. (Whoa.)

  5. If your furfriend is small or just can’t get around like she used to, you’ve probably moved something -- anything -- next to your bed to help her out. We have nothing against your cardboard box, but think you’ll like these sweet stairs a whole lot better, and they’re a perfect project for someone new to working with wood and tools. If even stairs are too much for your best friend, this adjustable ramp is a little more complex to build, but it may be just what the vet ordered.

  6. Get those bowls up up the floor with a feeding station that’s as good-looking as it is practical. We think you’ll love this one or this one!

  7. Your goodest boy definitely deserves this creative, simple-to-make treat dispenser.

  8. Ok, this is more for you than for him, but how much cooler are these personalized jars than the plastic packages pet treats come in? And they’re almost too easy not to make.

  9. While we intended to stick to indoor things, we had to include this seriously easy to build, portable, lightweight agility course made with PVC pipe. We can’t wait to throw a mini version of this together for our little guys. Good exercise for body and brain FTW!

  10. Last but not least, healthy treats are important--are we right? So obvs you have to have this waffle iron-style dog treat maker from Williams-Sonoma. (We, like Williams-Sonoma, are nothing if not practical.)

So many good ideas to make home feel even homier for your pet, so little time! What will you make first? 

More inspiration than tools? Check out Sparetoolz! Sparetoolz connects you with your neighbors and the tools you need, at a price that won’t make you howl. (Hey, it had to be said.)

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