Denim Dog Beds!

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A dog bed is one of those things that’s a must-have for any pet lover, but finding one that can withstand a beating from our pups has always been a challenge. Jack and CC are big, slobbery knuckleheads (that we love so much, it hurts), and we often joke that if attending school was a thing, our dogs would be the smelly kids in class. Never mind that CC doles out tongue baths nightly and they get more baths than any pet we’ve known, no, these two can make a freshly laundered bed look filthy in less than a day. All that to say, our house wouldn’t be a home without them (Libby, too!), and while every choice we make is a direct result of ensuring their comfort, we’re always hopeful to merge their needs with our home’s style.

We’ve been using beds and mats from Janery for years now, including an extra wide foot-of-the-bed cushion that lives – you guessed it – at the foot of our bed. It’s made of two cushions with waterproof liners, and Jane whipped up a custom length in an outdoor fabric that would envelop both. We love it, but lugging it into any other room isn’t practical. Scott and I agreed that we wanted a couple of beds that we could easily kick from room to room; we wanted dog beds that didn’t look like dog beds, and they had to be affordable, (extremely) durable and able to hold up to endless washings.

As I was pulling my jeans out of the dryer a few months ago, I asked Scott, why aren’t denim dog beds a thing? A quick online searched proved that they are a thing, but I was having trouble pinpointing one that checked off every one of our wishes. If it was attractive, it wasn’t affordable. If it was affordable, it wasn’t washable – and the list goes on. Heavyweight cotton denim is a fabric that only gets better with age, wash after wash. I was determined to make our own.

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SUPPLIES USED FOR 2 DENIM PET BEDS

2 – 26″ x 26″ IKEA FJADRAR cushions
A set of Euro sized waterproof liners
2 – 22″ brass zippers
2 yards of heavyweight denim fabric

Tip: The Etsy shop that I purchased our fabric from is no longer active, but I found that searching for all cotton denim brought up thicker options overall (as denim with stretch is typically a little more thin). Here’s a close match to the fabric we purchased. 

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This is probably my favorite part: I brought my fabric and zippers to our local dry cleaner, and I asked her if she could sew up two pillow cases! Knowing myself far too well, it would be weeks (if not months) before I pulled out my sewing machine, and even then, let’s be honest, we’re not on the best of terms. I asked her to make each case a 24″ square, which would allow our 26″ pillows to look and feel more full. We agreed on double stitched seams for extra strength and an invisible zipper. You can see above that our denim was a medium blue, but we ended up preferring the lighter variation on the underside! She sewed the cases so that the underside was exposed, and we couldn’t be happier with the results:

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The pillows received a waterproof liner before we slipped on their covers (the Euro sham is usually sized as a 26″ square), and both the liners and covers have been washed and dried countless times over the last handful of months. Just as we hoped, the denim fabric has held up especially well, with virtually no sign of wear! If anything, it only gets softer with each wash.

For the most part, the beds hang out in our living room, but by the end of the evening, Jack and CC will have pulled them into the funny little nook. They’ll arrange the cushions so that they’re next to each other, or in the off chance that Jack isn’t around, CC will double up – à la The Princess and the Pea.

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We love that these cushions don’t scream, ‘look at this doggie bed!,’ and I waited a couple of months before writing this post just to make sure they’ve lived up to our expectations. And they have! For two beds, our supplies totaled less than $90, and the cost of having them made was an additional $30. For something that has proved to be so durable – in such a classic, casual fabric, too! – we’re super happy.

Now just imagine if I could learn to sew and, most importantly, stick with it?

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  • Stacy G. - January 12, 2017 - 6:19 AM

    These are great! I need to try a dog bed with Millie again. For some reason, she wants not part of them. She came to us with a blanket that she eventually chewed to shreds. I bought her a nice pad for her crate that she chewed to bits one afternoon while we were away. After that, I bought her a puffy pillow bed for the living room, and she never even sniffed it. I gave it away to a friend. Millie has been with us for four years. I wish she would just get comfy and settle in. :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 12, 2017 - 8:51 AM

      Oh, Millie! We have that same issue with Libby. She would rather crush every pillow than sleep in a cushy bed, whereas Maddie was totally happy to curl up in her kitty basket. These silly pets of ours and their foibles.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - January 12, 2017 - 8:28 AM

    Dog beds are seriously, the worst. Especially with our dog, who is an un-build-a-bear. When we first got her, my husband let her on the couch. Then the throw pillows started to explode and the armchair arms started to look gnawed on, so I put an end to that. We got her a nice bed and it “mysteriously” exploded and then she cried because it wasn’t cushy enough to lay on the tile floor. I put a towel in there, it exploded. I put an old shower curtain in there, it exploded. We dropped her off at a friend of ours while we were traveling and she exploded THEIR dog’s bed. Her bed is now a fabric scrap graveyard and I can’t bring myself to try and replace it because that’s kind of a lot to pay for something that she’s going to use as a chew toy! She has chew toys and everything but oh no, she has to chew everything cushy, and then cry about the fact that there is nothing cushy for her to lay on. #rantover On a related note, let’s go learn how to sew ; I, too, have a neglected sewing machine and all I can really make is an envelope pillow with the world’s most crooked seams. Maybe if I learned how to sew, I could make dog beds faster than Ash could destroy them…haaaa.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 12, 2017 - 8:50 AM

      Dog beds are so hard, thank you for commiserating! Thank goodness our pups haven’t destroyed anything to shreds (knock on wood!), but Jack does love to nibble the edges of his bed, and the denim has been holding up like a champ. Poor Ash, the rough life of a dog, am I right?!ReplyCancel

      • Kathy - January 12, 2017 - 9:55 AM

        THE RUFF-EST. I’m just going to soak everything in bitter apple extract and call it a day. What’s that, Ash? Everything is comfy but it doesn’t taste good to chew so you don’t want to chew it anymore? IMAGINE THAT. ALL OF YOUR CUSHY THINGS HAVE MAGICALLY STAYED INTACT.ReplyCancel

        • Kim - January 12, 2017 - 9:56 AM

          Ugggh that bitter apple is such a necessary evil in this house, too. You’re not alone! Dog parents unite!ReplyCancel

        • kg - January 16, 2017 - 12:25 PM

          I had to bitter apple for mine too…some are just chewers! I found some chew toys helped – chew this, not this. Other thing I found was making a bed using good quality vinyl – I used a plywood base (put some ikea legs on it), then foam about 6-7 inches, then covered with a drop cloth, then finally vinyl. Then I put a snoozy crate mat on it, just to cozy it up, and also easily replaced when they shred it. And the vinyl handles the bitter apple very well. My sympathies, hope what I did helps you too!

          Kim, have you ever thought of starting a Pet Website, you seem to have good insight into pet behavior (had a friend who was appalled that her dog moved his bed around! LOL), and to solving and decorating the house to accomodate the pets. And you have good pet connections too, great stuff! Just an idea!ReplyCancel

          • Kim - January 16, 2017 - 12:59 PM

            I LOVE your vinyl idea! We have to be careful with vinyl in the off chance that our kitty would want to cozy up on it. Her nails are like little razors, and she can slice through just about anything!

            And thanks for the kind words. We like to sprinkle in the pet stuff here when it makes sense, and we’re all eyes and ears for any suggestions! You miiiiiight just say we’re pet obsessed.

  • Allison H - January 12, 2017 - 10:14 AM

    AH! love these! my friend and i were just talking we wanted to have a sewing day and make covers for our pups’ beds! this is a great idea!! thanks for inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Bernadette - January 12, 2017 - 10:42 AM

    Kim, our styles are pretty different, yet you continue to be such an incredible source of recommendations and inspiration! I’ve had two euro pillows stuffed in my closet for months, and I now know what to do with them. Wrigley and her new little brother will be getting two new beds as soon as the puppy teething stage is over :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 12, 2017 - 10:51 AM

      Aw, how sweet that Wrigley has a new little brother!ReplyCancel

  • Daniel @ Manhattan Nest - January 12, 2017 - 2:46 PM

    BABIESSSSS!!!!!!!!! Jack is a great model but CC SLAYS. Like, I cannot with this. Look at that dumpling!

    Those pillows are way cute! I’ve been carting around the same stupid big square pillow (still wrapped in its original plastic) for literal years now to do the same thing for Linus. It never occurred to me to have someone just make it for me…BE MY LIFE COACH, KIM.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - January 12, 2017 - 4:32 PM

    I have been meaning to investigate how to make my own dog bed and this is giving me a great starting point! I wouldn’t have thought of denim, but it’s perfect. My only road block is I’m a great dane parent and there is no way a 26×26 pillow would be big enough. Hmm I will have to start thinking some more..ReplyCancel

    • Ryan - January 12, 2017 - 4:44 PM

      For one dog bed that I made, I used old bed pillows and opened up the long side on two pillows and then stitched them together to make one bigger pillow. I’m about to embark on making a new dog bed for our newest dog who’s also our smallest yet at only 45 lbs. We currently have several of the round costco beds but they’re big and scream DOG BED.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 12, 2017 - 8:31 PM

      Aw, we love Great Danes! Thanks for the suggestion, Ryan!ReplyCancel

    • Loryn - January 13, 2017 - 8:00 AM

      My mom has a big lab/rott mix, and she uses a crib mattress for his bed. They’re inexpensive, and it’s easy to find waterproof liners.ReplyCancel

      • Kim - January 13, 2017 - 9:32 AM

        We’ve heard of that, too! Thanks for all the great ideas, guys.ReplyCancel

    • Devon - January 17, 2017 - 4:21 PM

      Find an upholstery store- I’ve had the BEST luck re-stuffing my dog beds with upholstery foam scraps. It’s $7 for a GIANT bag of trimmings (think large trash bag size). My dog beds are now filled with higher-quality foam filling than my own couch! haha The only challenge would be that it’s not like a pillow in that it has a pre-set shape. I used the existing dog bed filler case, cut a hole in it, and stuffed it (the filler didn’t have a washable cover, just the bed itself).ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - January 12, 2017 - 5:16 PM

    Just want to say thanks for calling it fabric and not material! Such a pet-peeve (pun intended) of mine!ReplyCancel

  • Trude - January 13, 2017 - 3:52 PM

    Fabulous idea! Absolutely love the photos you get of them – priceless. :)ReplyCancel

  • Andrea - January 16, 2017 - 2:56 PM

    I was so happy when I saw this post because I recently upholstered my bed with the reverse side of denim. I loved it but I thought I was crazy. So glad to know I’m not the only one. Here’s a link to mine: http://www.theycallherflipper.com/diy-upholstered-malm-bed/ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 16, 2017 - 3:06 PM

      That’s so pretty, Andrea! The idea of a denim bed is so dreamy. (Pun intended?)ReplyCancel

  • Amy McConnell - January 17, 2017 - 10:19 AM

    Oh my gosh thank you for the tutorial – I actually think this is something I could handle! And I agree with you – denim is one of the (very few) materials that gets better with time and ware. Also – love the pics of your pups, our fur baby is one of my favorite subjects to photograph too!ReplyCancel

  • Josh @ The Kentucky Gent - January 17, 2017 - 11:27 AM

    Your kiddos are the cutest! And aren’t the least bit camera shy, haha.ReplyCancel

  • Lyndsey - January 17, 2017 - 11:46 AM

    Oh how i wish i had the sewing bug, i’m a victim of stage fright also. So many stacks of fabric waiting for me to get up the nerve to actually MAKE SOMETHING! I have to say, Jack and CC are the highlight of my day. Their love, affection and goofiness always bring a smile to my face!ReplyCancel

  • misie - January 17, 2017 - 3:28 PM

    Those two knuckleheads are too much – I want to curl up on the floor with them. Dog bed and a great idea but really those two, they steal the show every time.ReplyCancel

  • Devon - January 17, 2017 - 4:25 PM

    I just love these two! Im basically obsessed with CC… until Jack comes along and steals the show. They’re just gorgeous! You always seem to have the best collars for them- I love the extra wide (2″?) look. I think I have the same one Jack is wearing in a narrower version, where is CC’s from? Is it EcoLucks too?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - January 17, 2017 - 5:47 PM

      Yup, they’re both the EcoLucks style from Dublin Dogs! We love how durable they are, but we especially love the extra wide width. :)ReplyCancel

  • Camilla - June 17, 2017 - 6:43 AM

    Oh, these are lovely. I love that they move them around to suit them. Don’t have dogs of my own but want a pile of these for myself. Love stretching out on the floor when studying or playing games and something soft and comfy to rest on is just the thing.ReplyCancel

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