In recent years there has been a growing interest in sustainability, and environmentalism is at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds. Making more environmentally conscious, sustainable decisions can extend to all areas of life, including home design. Sure, in an ideal world, all homes would have a carbon-neutral footprint and be as green as possible, but we don’t live in an ideal world. There are tips to suit all budgets. Sustainable home design doesn’t necessarily mean investing in solar panels or buying brand-new, top-of-the-range energy-efficient appliances. You can make smaller, conscious contributions too. Take a look.
Sustainable Interior Design: An Overview
Sustainable home design as a whole simply refers to building a home using sustainable materials in an effort to limit its impact on the environment during the build itself and also the lifespan of the house too. Interior design is similar, but because the house is already built and without carrying out any structural renovations, the bones of the house are already standing, so the sustainability aspect comes in through the decorative choices. This generally means choosing repurposed or non-toxic or organic or natural materials.
Painting & Decorating
If you are planning to repaint or redecorate your home, then you might be surprised to discover that a lot of paints are actually pretty bad for the environment, and they can also be hazardous to your health too. So, if you are going to paint, you should really try to choose low or zero-VOC paint. This means that the paint is free from or contains very low quantities of volatile organic compounds, which are often found in traditional paints; in short, the paint is much more sustainable. Try to check the labels and look for lower numbers. Before you can paint, however, you need to have a good base. This might mean the need for plastering, which tends to be a job best left to professionals. Luckily you can use MyBuilder to find plasterers near you.
The impulse to go and buy new is pretty strong, but this is not sustainable – for the planet or for your bank balance. Instead, consider upcycling. There are so many ways to upcycle, from transforming bits of furniture to making over old clothes. It is also pretty easy to do too. Take furniture as an example; if you think that it is no longer to your taste, then why not give it a fresh coat of paint, use Fablon, or even wallpaper and replace the hardware? If you don’t have the furniture to upcycle, then you could buy secondhand from charity shops or Facebook Marketplace, you are then increasing the lifecycle of an old piece of furniture, and it is often a lot cheaper to do too.
Light is an invaluable tool when it comes to interior design; it helps to create the illusion of space, and also, being in a light, airy atmosphere can also help to boost your mental health too. So, where possible, you should do your best to maximize the amount of natural light your home gets, and this can be pretty easy to do by choosing lighter colors to decorate with and cleverly positioning mirrors. By doing this, your home will likely look better for it, and it also allows you to cut down on your energy consumption too. Obviously, you will need to use lights occasionally, but by opting for energy-saving lightbulbs or even LED lightbulbs, you can still help to keep your energy consumption down.
Houseplants can really help to breathe a bit of life into the room by incorporating a little bit of nature. There are also a number of plants that can help to improve the air quality inside your home too. They range in the difficulty of care, so be sure to be mindful of your abilities when choosing and trying to buy from sustainable sellers. In recent years, however, lush green houseplants have seen some competition from dried and preserved flowers. In the past, these were probably only seen as a bowl of potpourri in your grandma’s loo, but they are making a comeback in a big way. They are much more sustainable than fresh-cut flowers, and they can still be just as visually appealing too.
The planet is drowning in plastic, there are no two ways about it, and plastic is incredibly bad for the environment; it doesn’t break down; it just contaminates the environment around it. If you can limit your use of plastic and other manmade materials inside your home, it is well worth doing. Instead, you should try to embrace natural materials like bamboo, wicker, or rattan – and they just so happen to be incredibly on-trend right now too. They are also more neutral in appearance, making them more timeless too. Obviously, not all sources of these materials are going to be particularly sustainable either, which is why it is well worth doing your research.
Similarly to choosing more sustainable materials in your furniture choices, you should also make a concerted effort in your choice of fabrics too. A lot of modern fabrics are made with synthetic materials and also include plastic and manmade fibers in their creation which are not sustainable or good for the planet. If you can opt for natural fabrics, then it is worthwhile, although, in some instances, they are more expensive and therefore not as accessible for the average person. A lot of natural materials like wool or linen are also more likely to last too, which makes them a worthwhile investment in the long run.
Other Tips For A Sustainable Lifestyle
Sustainable living is about more than how you choose to decorate your home, it is a lifestyle, and as such, there are a few tips that you can take on board to live a more sustainable life. Firstly, wherever possible, you should try to avoid using single-use products like cling-film, foil, or even single-use coffee cups. Instead, you should always look for reusable alternatives to cut down on waste and how much you are contributing to landfills.
To reduce your energy usage, you should always turn off items at the plug that you aren’t using, like your phone charger or kitchen gadgets; the same can be said for your water usage; why run the tap when brushing your teeth or washing your face when you don’t need to? This helps to keep your usage down and your bills, too, which is great in the current cost-of-living climate.
Purchase products from local sellers and small businesses instead of corporate giants like Amazon. This boosts the economy and also helps to keep the carbon footprint of the products low. In essence, the best way to live a more sustainable life is simply to become a more mindful consumer. Put more thought into your impact on the planet and how you can reduce this.
Incorporating sustainable elements into your home design is actually pretty simple and straightforward, as shown by the tips above. If you have the money to renovate or take on a bigger project, then you will definitely be able to do more, but even making small changes is commendable, and it adds up over time too. Think about your interior design tastes and where you can make more environmentally conscious decisions.
Featured image by Freepik.