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10 cool doghouse ideas to give your pup a unique space

Your dog is no ordinary pet. Dogs’ personalities are entirely their own, whether they’re athletic at heart, lazy as a sloth, or anywhere in between. Every pup makes himself at home in his own way, whether he snuggles up with a favorite toy, finds a beloved spot by the window, or curls up in his doghouse at the end of the day.

Shouldn’t your dog’s space reflect everything that makes him happy? These cool doghouse ideas are just a few examples of the ways you can customize your fur baby’s space into something that suits him to a T. Even with minimal artistic ability, you can get creative to make something amazing. Check out these unique doghouse designs, perfect for your one-of-a-kind canine companion.

Give it a paint job

A fresh coat of paint goes a long way in updating the look of a doghouse. The traditional woodsy colors can be nice, but they don’t match the vibe of every pup. You can shop for wood stain in a variety of colors or go for good old-fashioned paint — just make sure it’s safe for outdoor and pet-friendly use!

If you really want to go above and beyond, pick up or make a stencil of your dog’s name to paint over his house’s door. It’s a small change that makes the space truly his. Painting the trim around the house and roof is another, less time-consuming option, but it’s just as cute when done correctly.

Wine barrel hideaway

Wine barrels can be repurposed into a variety of functional pieces of furniture — and an outdoor dog house is just one unique example. Here’s how:

  • Purchase a clean wine barrel. Check your local winery or retail liquor outlet to see if they have one for sale.
  • Open one end. You can either remove the end completely or cut a hole just large enough for your pup to step inside.
  • Build a base. You’ll be tipping the wine barrel on its side and you don’t want it to roll while Fido is napping.
  • Furnish the interior with comfy blankets or natural material like pine or cedar shavings. Either way, choose something you can easily clean.
a german shepard lies on the porch of his wooden dog house

Build it with your own two hands

If your pup doesn’t have a doghouse yet, he really should — especially if he spends a lot of time outside. And what better way to show your dog your love than to build him his own home?

Thanks to Lowe’s, you have all the knowledge you need to make this dream a reality. With their free construction plans, you can have step-by-step guidance while you put together a modern, geometric doghouse any canine will love. You’ll love it, too. This attractive design will look at home in any yard, whether hidden in the back or plunked down in the center of the lawn.

Pup play station

Create a secret place for your dog to hide away that doubles as a fun climb-and-play station with these two unique ideas:

  • Repurpose an empty plastic barrel or corrugated plastic drainage pipe into a dog shelter. Choose a spot in your yard that can be accessed from both sides. Build up each side with fill dirt, then lay sod to create a pathway across the top of the underground dwelling. Close off one end of the barrel or pipe to create a hiding place or keep both ends open so your dogs can run through. Finish the opening(s) with decorative stone to resemble a tunnel entrance or primitive stone cave.
  • Transform a plain, plastic dog house into a rock cave. Use leftover landscaping rock to build around the existing shape, securing as you go. Feel free to landscape accordingly, using ivy or other climbing plants to complete the transformation.

Add a living roof to your dog’s house

For garden-savvy folks, building a living roof for your doghouse can make the structure blend in with the rest of your gorgeous yard. The idea is to use the roof of the doghouse as a planter bed, whether you modify an existing doghouse or build something entirely new. The talented team at Gardening Know How has thought through the process already and has its own tips, tricks, and instructions for building a living roof on your doghouse.

Customize the interior

As important as the aesthetics of a doghouse are, nothing beats renovating the inside, where your dog is bound to spend a good portion of his time. If he’s comfy in his one-of-a-kind doghouse, you can rest easy knowing he’s safe and happy.

Adding a plush dog bed inside his house will give him a place to relax comfortably. Many dogs don’t mind lying on the floor, but a blanket, cushion, or bed will make it even more inviting for your pooch. He deserves the best, after all! Warm fabrics can also help keep the doghouse warm in colder months, which makes them a win-win for pets and their parents.

If you want to go the extra mile, adding wallpaper inside the doghouse is 100% an option, though this might be more for looks than for your dog. Let’s be honest — it’s so cute!

Kiddy playsets

Who says human kids should have all the fun? Plastic playhouses for kids can make great indoor and outdoor dog houses for your pampered pet, too. Search online sources for garage sale finds or buy a new one the next time they go on sale, like this Little Tikes Magic Doorbell Playhouse on rollback at Walmart. Tuck it away in an unused part of your yard and, if you’re so inclined, add fencing and landscaping to give it more charm.

a brown puggle sits on the deck of his wooden doghouse with a green football
Kenneth Frost Lie/Shutterstock

Build them a yard of their own

So many people find joy and purpose in creating and keeping up with their own yard, so why shouldn’t your furry friend have the same option? Adding a few pet-safe plants near his doghouse gives him a few more things to sniff, explore, and pee on, which can go a long way in the happiness of a dog. You can take it a step further by building his own agility ramp or dog run if that’s what he’s into. The options are never-ending if you’re willing to put in a little time. With just a few more things around, your dog will stay stimulated for longer. Bye-bye, boredom!

Pallet palace

If you think you’ve exhausted all of the ways to repurpose a wood pallet, think again! A pallet’s wooden slats are the perfect ventilated material for assembling a DIY dog house. Its construction provides a raised platform floor as well as pre-constructed walls. Use another pallet as the roof and cover with tin sheeting to provide protection from the elements.

Porch peek-a-boo

What’s beneath your backyard porch? If it’s unused space, why not spend a little time and money to turn it into a functional area for your dog to hang out? Here are the basics:

  • Clear out the space. If you haven’t been underneath the porch for awhile, be careful. Remove any debris and signs of other animals, such as rats, raccoons, or feral cats.
  • Lay down substrate. Opt for pine or cedar shavings like these from Tractor Supply, which are comfortable to lie on and naturally repel fleas and other insects.
  • Enclose the area. If you want the area to double as a kennel, use strong fencing material like chain link. Otherwise, feel free to be creative with lattice or other materials that match the exterior of your house.
  • Add landscaping if desired. Be sure to choose non-poisonous plants that are easy to care for.

These are just ten of the nearly limitless ideas when it comes to unique doghouse designs. Pet parents have gotten so creative over the years; there’s sure to be endless lists of inspiration to discover online as well. Think big! With an open mind and some extra time, you can personalize your pup’s space into whatever suits him best. He’ll be comfier and more at home than ever, all thanks to you!

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Gabrielle LaFrank
Gabrielle LaFrank has written for sites such as Psych2Go, Elite Daily, and, currently, PawTracks. When she's not writing, you…
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