Sustainability is a sizzling topic in interior circles and beyond. All things green, eco, and environmentally friendly rank high on the must-have list. Luckily, when it comes to home decorating, helping the planet is easier than you might think. Through sustainable interior design, you can make better decisions for the environment while you style your home. Read on for everything you need to know!
Sustainable Interior Design 101
Sustainability has become a blanket term for green practices. Many people want to be eco-responsible but are unsure of what being sustainable truly entails. On the whole, creating an eco-friendly home boils down to avoiding things harmful to the environment.
We’re here to talk about our favorite design trend capable of slowly rehabilitating the planet as well as uplifting communities. Plus, we’re adding sustainable interior design ideas to help make your home green!
What is sustainable interior design?
Eco-friendly or sustainable interior design aims to stop the negative impacts consumption has on the planet. Not only is this approach beneficial to the environment, but it also aids communities. What’s more, eco-design can create healthy and better functioning interiors.
All in all, sustainable interior design is the practice of
- Minimizing the use of non-renewable sources, like energy
- Using eco-friendly products and methods
- Maximizing a building’s potential through passive design
- Conserving water and eliminating waste
- Improving indoor quality
Ready to update your home with sustainable interior design, but not sure where to begin? Schedule your Free Interior Design Consultation to get started with an eco-conscious interior designers today!
Why is sustainable interior design important?
Sustainability issues are forcing industries to think differently about materials and design. The main concerns are population growth, finite non-renewable natural resources, and pricing pressure on non-renewable commodities.
The booming interest in sustainability makes it easy for individuals and businesses to invest in the trend. Besides, eco-friendly interior designers are also there to assist in every step.
The Benefits of Sustainable Interior Design
- Reduces harmful emissions and a waste of resources
- Allows temperature control through passive design
- Protects the ecosystem and enhances the quality of air and water
- Conserves water and reduces waste streams
- Restores and protects natural resources
- Grows and promotes the Green Market
- Maximizes a building’s longevity
- Cuts the cost of operating a building
- Boosts property value
- Promotes productivity of the occupants
Top 10 Eco-Friendly Interior Design Tips
Fortunately, it’s easy to be green. In fact, you’ll be well on your way with a few insightful sustainable interior design ideas. Moreover, residential, commercial, and industrial spaces can benefit equally from eco-design.
1. Include Energy-Efficient Design & Architecture
An eco-friendly home often starts at the most basic level – construction. So, if you have the option, opt for architecture and design that minimizes energy consumption. Reducing the need for additional heating, lighting, and energy for appliances is the way to go.
This method includes renewable, non-carbon-based energy sources, like solar power, as well as structural and design innovation. Insulating windows, curtains, carpets, and a light color scheme, for example, minimize the need for heating and lighting.
2. Hire a Sustainable Interior Designer
Working with a professional versed in eco-friendly interior design is a foolproof way to create a green abode. For one thing, sustainable interior designers are up to date on eco practices. They can pick furniture, fixtures, and appliances that have the lowest impact on the environment. In addition, designers promote local businesses and enhance indoor air quality.
Often these choices are not as obvious as they might seem. When it comes to flooring, for instance, linoleum is a better choice than vinyl. The reason is linoleum consists mainly of jute, a natural fiber. Vinyl is also known to be toxic. This is an example of how a sustainable interior designer could guide your design decisions.
3. Source Local & Fair Trade Products
Creating an eco-friendly home takes mindful decision-making. One such choice comes down to supporting local makers and businesses. Also keep an eye out for fair trade products. They support transparency, equity, and respect in the global trading market.
What’s more, you reduce the need and requirements of long-distance transportation when you buy local. Plus, local products are often unique and bring personality to an interior.
Fair Trade Basics
Fair trade is based on principles that ensure companies put people and the planet first. These principles include:
- Supporting economically disadvantaged producers through opportunity creation
- Ensuring an organization is transparent and accountable on all aspects
- Not supporting child, forced, or exploited labor
- Upholding fair payment, including reasonable prices, wages, and local living wage
- Commitment to non-discrimination, freedom of association, women’s economic empowerment, and gender equity
- Providing a good and safe working environment
- Maintain positive development within marginalized producers
- Respecting the environment by opting for sustainably managed sources, buying locally
- Minimizing waste and negative environmental impacts
4. Consider Retrofitting
One way to cut waste is by using or updating existing structures. With retrofitting, you can strengthen built-ins, walls or make changes to modernize or add on to a space. Moreover, assessing existing interiors for the possibility of retrofitting is a practice in innovation. Not only will this result in unique, green solutions, but it will also limit expenses. It also stops the need for demolishing and rebuilding.
5. Choose Low-Impact Materials
Use sustainable interior design materials as far as possible. Ideally, you would only source low-impact products and avoid non-renewable and harmful products. The latter includes anything made from fossil fuels, like plastics, nylon, polyester, and Styrofoam.
Low-impact products, on the other hand, are made from natural, renewable, and non-toxic materials. Pick responsibly sourced wood, cork, compressed earth, bamboo, or recycled metals for furniture and fixtures. As for textiles, choose organic or recycled cotton, linen, wool, and hemp.
Tencel and Qmonos are two new fabrics made from wood pulp and synthetic spider silk. Both are biodegradable and eco-friendly. Recycled polyester and Econyl recycles old plastics, posing a greener alternative to nylon and new plastics.
Finding Truly Green & Sustainable Interior Design Materials
It can be hard to tell the difference between unsustainable and sustainable interior design materials. Cotton, for instance, is a natural fiber but the environmental cost of manufacturing is high. According to studies, it can take as much as 20,000L water to produce one cotton shirt and a pair of jeans. In this case, recycled, organic cotton is certainly your best bet as it takes substantially less water and energy to produce.
Rayon is another example of where the natural tag can be misleading. It consists of plant fiber that is biodegradable. However, the manufacturing process is chemical, water, and energy-intensive. As a result, its production releases hazardous compounds into the air and waterways. This can cause health problems to factory workers as well as surrounding communities.
The bottom line? Get to know the brands you support, check labels, and contact green suppliers. And, when in doubt, research or ask an expert. Sustainable interior designers can guide you in making the best decisions for the environment and your home.
6. Reclaim or Recycle Furnishings
Take stock of the things you have. Eco-friendly interior design is made easy when you reclaim, recycle or reuse. For example, outdated furniture, like sofas, can be reupholstered and benches or cupboards can be refinished. A coat of paint could also be all you need for an update. You can also reduce waste by thrift shopping or using vintage and antique décor.
7. Select Sustainable Interior Design Products
Sustainable interior design products are low-impact, as mentioned above, as well as durable and timeless. And some items may be more expensive, but they will last much longer than cheaper options.
In essence, saving for high-quality products is better than splashing on quick trends that only last a season. Not only do lower quality products create waste when they wear, but they often come from unsustainable practices.
8. Install Energy-Wise Lighting
Lighting makes all the difference in an interior. Luckily, lighting design happens to be one of the most affordable areas in which to make a green difference. So, opt for energy-efficient fixtures as well as making the most of natural light.
Eco interior design incorporates smart glass, larger windows, and skylights where possible. It also prefers light color schemes that lessen the need for artificial lighting. When it comes to artificial lighting, LEDs or composite fluorescent bulbs are best. They last longer and lower energy consumption.
9. Save Water with Fixtures
Small changes can certainly have a big impact. In fact, by installing water-efficient shower heads and faucets, you can minimize your water use by 70%. This is an inexpensive eco swap that could certainly decrease your monthly water bills. So, it goes to show sustainable interior design updates don’t need to be costly at all.
10. Think Differently About Decor
Décor is the area most likely to see frequent changes and updates. For this reason, seasonal and trend-dependent products are susceptible to waste and over-consumption. With this in mind, it’s time to alter how we see decorative objects.
Living or organic products, like plants, are always eco-friendly and ideal for any season. Alternatively, reuse what you have by moving things around or seeing if you can change the use. A small mirror, for instance, is not only suitable for a wall, but can also double as a luxe tray.
Need help creating an eco-friendly home?
By working with sustainable interior designers, your home can be a green haven in no time. So, schedule a Free Interior Design Consultation to find out more today!
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