If you’re determined to be a sustainable consumer, designing an eco-friendly home may seem like a daunting task. Sustainable home design usually denotes eco-friendly decoration and design, using materials that have a reduced environmental impact.
Here are our tips for a simple eco-friendly, interior design makeover.
Upcycle, upcycle, upcycle
Before you make any purchases to update your interiors, first consider what furniture pieces you already have that could be upcycled to fit into your home.
Wooden furniture is the easiest piece to upcycle! You can strip away and re-paint, add new handles and feet, or even apply wallpaper for a fresh look. Revamp the pieces to fit in with your new style without creating unnecessary waste or purchasing new things that have to be manufactured.
Sofas, chairs, and headboards can all be given a new look through re-upholstering. That old chair you got from your grandparents can now become a chic statement piece. The old headboard you wish you could get rid of will make the whole bedroom look updated.
If you, or someone you know, are handy, you can create in-style pieces of furniture from scrap material. Old window shutters could turn into a modern sideboard, old palettes can be turned into bookshelves or patio furniture, and an old wooden ladder and scrap wood could be turned into a stylish clothing rack.
If you’re starting from scratch but you’d still like to upcycle, have a look at pre-loved, second-hand furniture to see if there are any pieces that you see potential in.
Green sustainable homeware
Plants are a no-brainer when it comes to sustainable interiors. They provide oxygen, filter out harmful chemicals from the air, and they offer natural beauty and freshness, bringing a little bit of the outside into your home.
Plants are also a great way to add colours and textures to your room, alongside the versatility they offer in terms of scale. They can be small enough to add an accent to a small coffee table, desk, or shelf, or they can be large enough to command floor space of their own.
If you have an empty corner or a space that doesn’t feel complete, a big floor plant, with a stylish pot, will bring freshness to the room. Keep in mind the size and scale of the plant within the room, a very large plant that touches the ceiling when the rest of the furniture is low may feel like it’s consuming a room, but if you live in a home with tall, cathedral style ceilings a tall plant would fit very well. Obviously, plants are living things so remember to only place them in a space where there is proper sunlight available.
If you’re not the best at looking after plants, a succulent or cactus may be just the right fit. These plants only need a little water and sunlight, so less hospitable areas are perfect, such as shelves or corner tables.
Natural textiles and finishings
Having a home filled with natural materials doesn’t mean your whole home has to be decorated with wood. Natural materials go beyond just furniture, Pillows, mattresses, upholstery, and beddings can all be made from natural materials, which helps to cut down on the production of synthetic materials that ultimately end up living in landfills.
Using natural materials will also mean your furniture and decorations aren’t made with volatile organic compounds (VOC). These are organic chemicals that easily evaporate at room temperature and are found in many common household products such as furniture, carpets, paints, adhesives, and even cleaning products. VOCs contribute to many health problems such as eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, dizziness, nervous system disturbances and even cancer. A great way to minimise VOC content in your home is to use natural materials.
Carpets and rugs should be created from natural fibres such as wool, cotton, or bamboo and wall finishings should be made with wood, ceramic, or cork. These do cost slightly more, but they are better for both you and the environment in the long term. These materials are actually biodegradable too at the end of their lifetime, so you aren’t creating any unnecessary waste.
Eco friendly furniture
If you’re going to purchase furniture brand new, we suggest you only purchase pieces made from natural woods and other sustainable materials, such as recycled wood, bamboo, rattan, or seagrass. It’s important to note that not all woods are sustainable, try to look for pieces that are certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), as this means the wood has been made with materials from well-managed forests and/or recycled sources.
Other certifications to look out for when your shopping for eco furniture include:
- Cradle to Cradle (C2C) – C2C certified furniture that can be dismantled to be recycled or repaired, or so that the parts can be replaced. This helps to extend the life of furniture pieces and keep it out of landfills.
- Eco3home – This is a certification that manufacturers were responsible for their sourcing and manufacturing of their products. Additionally, manufacturers can provide health and environmental information for each product.
- Green Housekeeping Seal of Approval – This seal was developed to help consumers sift through the confusing clutter of “green” claims on hundreds of products on store shelves and make more environmentally responsible choices. This seal covers a wide range of products not limited to furniture.
- Rediscovered Wood Certification, Rainforest Alliance – This certification confirms that the furniture uses reclaimed wood.
- Zero Waste to Landfill – This is a certification that goes to companies that send less than 1% of their waste to landfills.
Remember, a sustainable home won’t materialise overnight. Don’t go and dump all your old furnishings and replace them with eco alternatives, being environmentally conscious is all about using up what you already have, and introducing new eco options one step at a time.
Download the GoEthical App for more sustainable homeware inspiration
hop from GoEthical during 2021 to help make sustainable lifestyle choices, whether you have a specific product in mind, or you’re looking for items to reduce your waste. Buy and sell sustainable, artisan, ethical, pre-loved and eco-friendly products at GoEthical.
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