Happy Earth Day, everyone! Transforming a home into a sanctuary for your clients requires healthy and thoughtful choices. As interior designers and creators we have an opportunity to play a big part in helping the environment. Earth Day is a great reminder to be mindful with designing and decorating because the choices we make, no matter how small, have an impact on the world around us. Below are five small ways you can reduce your impact and make more environmentally friendly designs without compromising style.
1) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We’ve all heard the saying for years, but did you know the most important of this eco-conscious trio is to reduce? Reducing your design footprint can look different for everyone and might be installing energy-efficient light bulbs, using multi-purpose furniture or implementing more second-hand furnishings into your designs. When redecorating a home, take extra care to see if you can get creative reusing furniture and decor they already have. Simple things like new paint, a new stain, or reupholstering can provide a second life for items that are already in the home.
2) Seek Out Natural Materials
Nothing says you appreciate Mother Earth like incorporating natural materials into your home. Materials that come straight from the earth like wood and stone last a long time, have a smaller environmental impact and never, ever go out of style. Prioritize materials like granite, bamboo, clay, and natural fiber organic fabrics like cotton, silk and wool for drapes, pillowcases, furniture upholstery and bedding for a cleaner, greener home interior. The bulk of pollution for most items comes from pre-market processing, so staying away from synthetic materials cuts down the energy-intensive manufacturing process, reducing your eco-footprint.
3)Take Advantage of Natural Light
If you’re not taking advantage of every home’s natural lighting, you could really be holding back your interior design. Natural sunlight is the best quality light you can get as it brings out colors, warms your home and is 100% free and natural, not to even mention all the mental and physical health benefits of sunlight. The more natural light you let into your home, the less you have to rely on artificial lighting. If privacy is a concern, light filtering drapes or bamboo shades let in light while also providing privacy, or you can layer your drapes to provide different levels of light and privacy depending on the room and your needs.
4) Eco-Friendly Paint
Nothing freshens up a room as quickly and easily as a new coat of paint. Eco-friendly paint doesn’t contain airborne chemicals or gases that can wreak havoc on your health. Low-level toxic emissions in paint are called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Over time they leach into the air in our homes potentially causing headaches, dizziness, visual and respiratory impairment and memory loss. According to the EPA, the levels of indoor air pollutants can be 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor levels, sometimes exceeding 100 times that of outdoor levels of the same pollutants. Choosing low-VOC or no-VOC paint options is a huge way to level up the health of a home.
5) Invest in Quality Furniture
We say invest in quality furniture for a reason – high quality furniture is a larger financial commitment upfront, but the payoff over time is better than purchasing lower quality items that are often poorly constructed, made from synthetic materials and mass-produced. High-quality furniture is made to last in your home for generations so you can avoid adding to our rapidly growing landfills and using additional resources to replace your furniture every few years. Purchasing quality furniture from a local business is even better!
What Eco-Friendly Design Techniques Have You Used?
Do you have any little-known interior design strategies that are pro-environment? Let us know in the comments below!