Once you’ve found the best pet-friendly apartment in Houston, it’s time to furnish it and decorate it. We’ve already shared some ideas for filling a pet-friendly apartment with store-bought treasures your pets will love. For those of you who prefer customized, do-it-yourself pet projects, here are some ideas and inspirations:

IKEA Hacks

We’ve mentioned the amazing DIY projects site, IKEA Hackers, before, and we’ll say it again: There is almost nothing you can’t do with a few items from our local IKEA store and a little DIY know-how. IKEA Hackers is a community-driven site, where DIY and IKEA lovers post photos of and tutorials for projects they’ve made by customizing IKEA products to fit their needs. They have plenty of projects for pet lovers. Here’s a sampling:

  • A simple Fabian shelf, mounted on the wall under a window, with an Irma throw and cushion inside, makes a perfect perch for a small dog (or a cat).
  • A Lack side table, with holes drilled in it to fit food and water dishes, makes a tidy raised feeding station for medium-sized and large dogs.
  • This post lists several IKEA DIY projects for cat lovers, including a series of shelves cats can climb up a wall, a DIY cat tree, and four ways to hide the litter box inside attractive furniture.

Pet Beds Galore

The most common type of DIY pet projects to be found online are pet beds—small and large, simple and complicated, made out of almost every material you could imagine. Here are a few ideas, from easy to ambitious:

  • Felt, cut, and sew old sweaters into a patchwork pet bed. What could be cozier?
  • Open a vintage suitcase, make a custom-fitted cushion, and you’ll have a dog or cat bed that’s stylish and soft.
  • Here’s an apartment DIY project for those of you with woodworking skills and a few simple tools: Turn a small, antique-style table upside-down, add a cushion and headboard, top the legs with decorative finials, and you have aclassy four-poster bed for your dog or cat.

Other DIY Pet Projects

Here are a few more ideas, from the simplest to the super-advanced:

  • MarthaStewart.com offers instructions for an easy, adorable, and fun cat playhouse, made entirely out of cardboard.
  • Corrugated cardboard scratching pads are a big hit with many cats, and it’s amazing how easy they are to make yourself.
  • Dog gates are a must in many apartments, both for your dog’s safety and for the survival of your stuff when you’re not home. There are many DIY tutorials for dog gates out there. This video tutorial shows you how to build a fairly simple, fun-to-decorate gate out of lumber that’s pre-cut at the hardware store.
  • For bird lovers who are advanced DIY-ers, here’s a project that turns an old armoire into a beautiful and roomy indoor aviary.
  • This project is not for beginners, since it involves plumbing, wiring, and an arduino microcomputer, but the payoff is impressive: It will sense when your pet’s water dish is empty, then refill it with fresh water without overflowing.