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  • Writer's pictureHeather Holcombe

Can My Pet Be Home During An Interior Design Project?

Pet-owner clients sometimes ask if their pet can remain in the home during an installation or other design project. That is a great question—and an important one for all involved, not the least of which is the beloved pet*. The answer depends on various factors, such as the type and length of work in your home, how much coming and going is expected, and your pet's type, personality, and age. I've created this list to help guide pet owners considering an interior design project in their home. It's especially relevant if there is work to be done by others inside your home.

As many of you know, I own a dog and two cats. I love our pets (most of the time), but I admit that our kitties have a mind of their own. (Don't all cats?) Importantly, I plan for them when someone comes to do work or repairs in my home. Although they are (mostly) benign, they have gotten in the way of someone doing their job - like when they sit on my keyboard when I'm typing.

Six things to know about pets during a design install:

  1. Safety: Depending on your pet, having it roam your home might be fine during a design project. However, a more active, curious pet might pose safety risks for workers. Pets can get underfoot, causing someone to trip or even hurt the animal as they stumble over them. Also, a pet could get hurt or become entangled in equipment or materials.

  2. Stress: Strangers working in a pet's safe haven can be stressful for the animal. Unfamiliar noises and people coming and going can stress a pet. For example, I have a client whose dog loves people, but if there are unfamiliar noises in the home, the dog gets very anxious and starts shaking like a leaf.

  3. Runaways: Does your pet have a knack for bolting through open doors? During design work or installation, exterior doors will open and close as crews carry material and equipment in and out. They might not see - or be able to stop - a pet escape.

  4. Containment: The pet owner knows their pet's demeanor and the best ways to handle and contain it. If your pet is prone to pulling a Houdini and escaping (or you happen to know they're in love with a poodle down the street), please arrange to contain it during the work. We don't want any escapes during our watch!

  5. Pet lovers: Not everyone can be like us and love animals! (Gasp!) Some people don't like animals or are allergic to certain types of pets. More reasons to make a plan for your pet during work!

  6. Bad chewables: This can be of particular concern during the installation of items like blinds or drapes. Pets, especially young ones, sometimes think things are chewable or edible when they're not. Many bits and bobs (like plastic clips, styrofoam, plastic, screws, etc) come with installations. Some items could be hazardous if ingested.

Consider yourself incredibly lucky if your pet is:

  • super calm,

  • not prone to bolting to visit a paramour down the block,

  • isn't affected by unfamiliar things, noises, or people,

  • doesn't bite, chew, or eat that which is typically inedible,

  • and isn't a Nervous or Nosey Nelly

That kind of pet will likely be fine during an interior design installation. However, if in doubt, please make arrangements for your cherished Fido or Felix the Cat. Their safety and comfort is paramount.

If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. We want a beautifully finished interior design project along with happy clients and their pets!  

*For this post, we'll assume that "pets" refers to cats and dogs, as they're the most common pets (I think!).


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