Are you looking for ways to reduce your environmental impact? A recent YouGov survey revealed that public concern over the environment has never been higher. It’s easy to feel powerless, but there are several steps you can take to make a difference – and many start at home.
You may have already swapped single-use plastic for sustainable alternatives. You could have cut back on your fashion consumption, too. In fact, the Trade Fair, Live Fair project found that the vast majority of European consumers are now taking sustainability into account when shopping.
But what about your home décor? From eco-friendly materials to long-lasting quality, here are five sustainable interior design principles to live by.
Energy consumption is one of the most obvious contributions to climate change. Thankfully, there’s plenty we can do to improve energy efficiency – and some tips may surprise you.
Heating and lighting are the two factors we have the most control over. Thermal curtains and blinds can insulate our homes in the winter by keeping out the cold air, then regulate them in the summer by blocking the sun’s glare. Carpets meanwhile are excellent insulators and remove cold around your feet and ankles.
You could also reduce your reliance on artificial lighting by simply painting your walls in lighter colours. Light colours will reflect more light around a room than dark ones.
Next up, it’s important to think about the environmental impact of the materials and products we use to decorate our home. This covers their entire life cycle, from harvest through to how they are discarded. The dream scenario is an organic material that is easily renewable and extracted in a responsible way, such as bamboo.
Sustainable interior design materials should generally be labelled as such. Deforestation is another environmental concern that’s been hitting the headlines, so look out for wood products that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This mark means the wood has been harvested in line with the 10 FSC principles.
Organic cotton meanwhile is grown without the use of harmful chemicals, while fair-trade labels protect the farmers responsible for processing it. You can find it in everything from sofas to throws and towels.
Trends come and go and our needs change over time – but throwing things away should now be your last resort. From recycling to upcycling, there’s several ways to extend an item’s lifespan or give it new life entirely.
Do you have a friend moving into a new place who’s in desperate need of furniture? Pass your unwanted items on to help them get set up. Alternatively, you could try selling them through online marketplace sites such as Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace or eBay.
If you think you can repurpose something, try your hand at upcycling. It’s the art of transforming an unwanted object into something of higher quality or value, and from repainting to customising embellishments such as drawer handles, it’s the perfect way to put your creative skills to the test while saving an item from landfill.
Investing in quality products and timeless design can help fight the urge for regular revamps and the waste that comes with them. Look for furnishings that are easy to maintain and flexible enough to suit the changing needs of the people using them - such as children moving through adolescence.
Part of this process is choosing furnishings suited to your home. Fitted wardrobes, for example, can be designed to make the most of any awkward spaces or dimensions such as alcoves or sloped ceilings. Their interiors meanwhile can be customised to suit your lifestyle and routines so that you’re unlikely to want to replace them.