If you're a design-conscious cat owner, how you hide a litter box in your home is likely high on the agenda. The standard cat litter box is, let's face it, usually quite ugly- plastic monstrosities that eat valuable space and create an eyesore in the corner of whatever room they end up in.
However, it's 2024, so thankfully there are plenty of clever people coming up with creative ways to hide a litter box in the home. Yes there are also brands offering prettier options, but the best way to keep it out of sight and out of mind is by using clever interior design to conceal it somewhere in your home.
Architects and interior designers, faced with cat-owning clients, are incorporating these ideas in brilliant built-ins for modern homes. So, if you're looking for some pet-friendly design inspiration, here are some of our favorite architectural litter boxes (a phrase we never really imagined ourselves typing until now) to ensure owning a cat doesn't ruin your home's aesthetic.
Hugh is an experienced homes and property journalist, who loves nothing more than discovering new trends in how architects and designers are adapting homes to modern life. An animal-lover at his core, Hugh sought out the best examples of modern homes that have been cleverly adapted for their cat-owning owners for this feature.
How to hide a litter box
'There are a lot of off-the-shelf solutions for pets out there, including for litter boxes, but it is difficult to find pieces that are nice to look at and aren't bulky or cumbersome,' says Nathan Cuttle, founder of Studio Nato. For many designers and architects, this means incorporating something into the the fabric of the build that allows a cat unobstructed access to a litter box, while not disrupting your home's flow or decor.
1. Hide a litter box alongside a cat flap
'The oak lining continues to the window seat looking out to the garden,' architect Simon Graham explains. 'This has a cat flap and litter storage below, and a fixed picture window set within the deep brick reveals.'
This means only one design insertion for both a way to hide the litter box and the cat flap, while providing easy access to change the box as required.
2. Position it in transitional spaces
'We were intent on enhancing the lived experience of the owner and wanted to ensure we were meeting all their needs,' explains Hye-Young. This includes some playful built-in features in this modern hallway, such as a litter drawer, access by a small circular cut-out, and a niche to house the cat's food and water bowls, ensuring they stay tucked out of the way.
3. Create access where it most makes sense
The perfect location for hiding a litter box in your home might not always be the same place you want your feline friend to access it from. However, just like creating n entryway in your millwork, you could also create a portal through a partition wall to create a new entrance.
In this apartment designed by Studio Nato with the owners' two Bengal cats in mind, the litter box is hidden in an adjoining room. 'We hid the litter in the pantry closet but retained ease of access by creating a round hole in the wall through which the cats could come in and out,' explains the designer Nathan Cuttle.
4. Make a separate entry to a storage space
Storage spaces such as cupboards can be a great place to hide a litter box away, however, you'll need to create a separate entrance for your cats to use so that it's not dependent on the door being open for them to access it.
In this apartment by Scenario Architecture, plenty of pet-centric adaptations have been made to the space for the owners' cats, including a raised walkway that the cats can traverse. Access to this walkway is through a small cupboard in the hallway, which also houses a litter box. The cat can enter through a small rectangular hole when necessary, and also climb up to the raised element which extends throughout the single-story home.
5. Hide it under the stairs
Your under stairs space should never be wasted, and it has a lot of potential to help make your home a better place to live. From storage to the perfect spot for a small home office, there are a million and one uses for an alcove under the stairs. However, as your staircase tapers, the space gets less and less usable. However, that narrow corner directly under the foot of the stairs could be the perfect spot to hide a litter box .
This home's interiors, created by designer Brooke Copp-Barton, include a small cut-out in the smallest section of the under stairs storage millwork. It serves as a spot for the litter box, but also for the cat to eat in peace, given that it lives with a greedy dog prone to stealing its food.
6. Hide it in the kitchen
You might think the kitchen is the last space you want to locate a litter box but, as this clever design created by a Neptune kitchen designer goes to show, there are ways to make it work.
Using a corner cabinet in this modern kitchen, space for a litter box has been combined with the entrance for the catflap. A glazed door front ensures that you can see when the cat wants to come in from the cold, too.
7. Hide a litter box in the bathroom
Bathrooms are a common spot to include a litter box, but it's still not a space you'll want to have it on show. Why not try an idea like interior designer Jessica Helgerson, who created a tiled surround linen closet in the modern bathroom of this Portland loft apartment, including an alcove to hide the litter box?
How else can I hide a litter box?
If going bespoke with built-ins isn't an option for you, there are other options. 'Hiding a litter box doesn't always mean that you have to go with custom millwork,' says Studio Nato's Nathan Cuttle. 'A simple cut-out in an off-the shelf-cabinet or existing wall can do wonders for a pet and its owner.'
If budget's the concern, consider creating a space to hide a litter box based on these ideas but using more affordable furniture. A well-placed IKEA hack might just solve your litter box issues in the end.
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Hugh is the Editor of Livingetc.com. From working on a number of home, design and property publications and websites, including Grand Designs, ICON and specialist kitchen and bathroom magazines, Hugh has developed a passion for modern architecture, impactful interiors and green homes. Whether moonlighting as an interior decorator for private clients or renovating the Victorian terrace in Essex where he lives (DIYing as much of the work as possible), you’ll find that Hugh has an overarching fondness for luxurious minimalism, abstract shapes and all things beige. He’s just finished a kitchen and garden renovation, and has eyes set on a bathroom makeover for 2024.
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