Decor & DIY

Look at this pretty awesome DIY dog house makeover

I have two dogs, Jozi and Cupar. They are our children – we love them so much and take them everywhere with us. Like any family there are a few rules – they are not allowed on the couch or the bed, they are not allowed to jump on people and at night they sleep outside. When we arrived in Cape Town – we realized we needed a bigger kennel for the two dogs. We found a lovely dog house from a local company – Arbor Designs. The patio really helps keep the kennel dry when its raining and when its dry Cupar sleeps outside on the patio.

We recently moved into a new house and the dog house needed a redo to match the house, the orange wood looked a little outdated for the new modern garden. So I decided to re-vamp it for them and share this DIY dog house makeover tut with you.

DIY dog house makeover
DIY dog kennel

Steps we followed with this DIY dog kennel
Before you start revamping your fur children’s little house, take some time to fix it up. Replace any rotted wood by pulling the rotten piece out and adding a new one on. If there are any loose panels – nail them back in (just make sure the nails don’t poke out on the inside of the kennel as they will scratch the dogs. When the structure is secure take coarse sand paper and sand the structure down – if you do not sand the wood the varnish off the wood the paint will not stick onto the wood and within months the paint will be peeling off and all your hard work will be for nothing. After you have completed the sanding – wipe the structure down to remove the sawdust.

The next step involves priming the wood for paint. You will need 1 liter of wood primer and a medium sized paint brush. Before you paint this onto the kennel please bear in mind that the dogs cannot sleep in the kennel for 2 days due to the fumes from the paint, so make an arrangement for them to go to the kennels or sleep inside. Paint the wooden kennel all over (it is not necessary to paint inside) – except the roof. You will find that the wood soaks up the wood primer – which is great as this is helping restore the wood and help you later on when you paint it later on.

DIY dog kennel
DIY dog kennel

Once you have completed painting the kennel with the wood primer – let the kennel dry for 2 days in a well-ventilated area. (Ensure you clean your brush thoroughly with turpentine). After 2 days you can start painting the kennel the desired colour of your choice. It is important to buy water based enamel. This paint is a strong and durable paint that will weather well outdoor. As well as being a durable paint the fact that it is water-based makes it a lower odor paint which is great for painting your kennel. Overseas they have developed a pet-friendly paint which is non-toxic and safe for animals – unfortunately, we do not stock this paint in South Africa.

Paint your dog kennel with your colour of choice – I would suggest two layers of paint. Allow a day in between to dry properly. Again during this time it is advisable to not allow your pets to use the kennel as to avoid the fumes.

Paint the roof with a waterproof paint to seal it properly. To make the interior a little bit more comfortable for the dogs I bought some carpet tiles from a local hardware. They are super easy to use. Just peel off the sticky back and place on the floor and rub them down so they stick well.

If you would like to make a custom sign – paint their names on a piece of wood (remember to prime the wood before hand). Cover the sign with modge podge (2-3 layers) to help waterproof the sign. Nail the sign into the kennel.

I love how my DIY dog house turned out – it matches the house and garden so well.

DIY dog kennel makeover

PS. Our dogs are named after places we have loved – Jozi is after Johannesburg and Cupar is a Scottish town that we loved.

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Lauren is the owner of Lauren Kim Photography, Lauren Kim Food Photography and based in Cape Town. She specialises in food and lifestyle photography. Connect with her on social media on the links below.


  1. How lucky can the Dogs be? They just have to talk. Very nice kennel and beautiful doggy kidz

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