Decoration Ideas for an Animal Shelter


Animal shelters house abandoned animals until they can be adopted by new families. Shelters are often utilitarian buildings, but decorating an animal shelter can make it feel more welcoming to potential adopters and raise the spirits of those who volunteer and work there. Choose decorating options that best reflect your shelter's tastes and space.

Star Adoptions

  • Purchase bright paper stars from a local craft store or paper supply store. Whenever anyone adopts an animal, take a picture of the new adopter with their new pet. Mount the picture on the star and tape the star up on the wall. Place happy remarks from the adopters about their animals next to the stars.

Coordinated Towels

  • Group donated towels by color, and use matching towels in blocks of cages. This creates a pleasantly synchronized, subtle arrangement. Pre-sort the towels when they come in so that you can access them quickly and promptly as necessary.

Chew Toys

  • Leave chew toys on the front desk to break up the visual monotony. Animals love to play just as much as humans do, and when a potential adopter takes her new friend into a room to get acquainted, she can bring a toy along. This can give the puppy or kitten and its possible new owner something to bond over and to play with.

Success Stories

  • Ask people who have adopted previously to write up their experiences with their new animal friends. Type up the experiences and mount them on cardstock for a more finished appearance. Hang the success stories close to where the adopters come into the shelter. This gives them an idea of what a good adoption can be like and might encourage them to look at animals they would not have considered before.

Soy Candles

  • Soy candles help scent the air without fumes that are harmful for animals. These candles have a low melting point that allows for slower burning, and unlike paraffin candles, which can cause respiratory problems, they are safe to use around animals and children. Soy candles are easily cleaned with hot, soapy water and can be placed around the front desk as decorations.

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  • Photo Credit Kitten Lying on Cage image by mickkid from
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