In my last article I talked about the 5 Rs of sustainability and how to incorporate them into our eco friendly home decor. In this article, I’m going to focus on the ‘Reduce’ element of sustainability. By this, I mean reducing the use of items or products that may be considered harmful to the environment.
If you are looking for eco friendly home decor ideas and asking yourself, “what materials should I be using?” then you’ve come to the right place. When it comes to designing our home interiors it’s not simply about creating a stylish space, it’s also about choosing materials that are kind to the planet. This is why we should design our interiors with sustainable materials in mind. So what materials should we be using?
Let’s start with a classic biodegradable material: wood. But not just any wood, specifically, reclaimed wood. Rather than cutting down trees to create furnishings for the home, giving new life to old timber is a much more sustainable approach. Using reclaimed wood for either flooring, furniture or accent pieces will give your home a touch of warmth and character.
If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional hardwood then bamboo may be your answer. Bamboo is a fast growing tree-like grass and one of it’s biggest environmental benefits is it’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen in much larger amounts than trees. It grows incredibly fast too, reaching maturity in just 1 to 5 years, depending on the variety. This is so much faster than the fastest growing trees. Bamboo is an excellent choice for flooring, furniture and wall coverings, adding a touch of elegance in any room.
Cork is biodegradable, compostable and recyclable so an excellent choice for eco friendly decor. It is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree and is self regenerative so doesn’t contribute to the deforestation and the trees aren’t harmed during harvesting. Cork is an excellent choice for flooring and wall coverings as it provides thermal insulation and is naturally cushioned. It can be used for a range of interior decor, from furniture to planters there are numerous choices out there, many of which will add a stylish modern look to your home.
Glass is 100% endlessly recyclable so it is a very sustainable product. Did you know that recycling glass saves energy, natural resources and ultimately, carbon emissions. This is because used glass melts at a much lower temperature than the raw materials used to make new glass products.
Recycled glass can add colour and unique style to your home. This eco friendly material is used to make a variety of products, from wall tiles to countertops and also a range of decorative objects for your home. Embracing the use of recycled glass with all it’s colours and textures will bring a vibrancy to your home whilst being kind to the planet.
The most biodegradable fabrics are plant based ones so selecting natural fibers for your upholstery and textiles is a sure-fire way of bringing sustainable products into your home. So which fabrics are sustainable? The obvious ones are linen, hemp and organic cotton. Jute, rami and abaca are also derived from plants so are great for use in the eco friendly home. These fabrics are also free from harmful chemicals and pesticides so they are healthier for you and the environment.
From cushions and throws to curtains and bedding, these items have a timeless and organic appeal that creates a cozy, relaxed vibe in your home.
Low VOC Paints
Painting your home is an easy way to refresh your surroundings but did you know that most traditional paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can release harmful gases into the air. Opting for low-VOC or zero-VOC paints is not only better for your health but it helps reduce air pollution and promote better indoor air quality too. These paints are also good quality, very low odour and come in a wide range of colours.
I will be decorating my daughter’s room with zero VOC paint this summer and hopefully I can share the results with you later.
Metal accents in the home are on trend at the moment. Using recycled metal elements like light fixtures, hardware and furniture can give your home a unique, contemporary feel. Using recycled metal means you are helping to reduce the demand for new resources.
Aluminium is infinitely recyclable and has so many uses from garden furniture and ornaments to cookware. Actually, I read a fun fact about aluminium which said ‘75% of all aluminium ever produced is still in use today.’ Now that sounds sustainable to me!
Using natural stone for countertops, backsplashes and flooring is a very popular trend. Not only are granite, marble and slate durable, they are a sustainable option too. The transportation of these products can be problematic but if you can get locally sourced stone then you will help reduce carbon emissions and help local businesses too.
So these are my suggestions for sustainable materials to use in the home. Now I’m not saying I have all of these elements in my home at the moment and I do have some materials that are not as eco friendly, but as I’ve said before, I’m on this journey too and learning as I go. I do know that I am gaining knowledge about environmental sustainability and that I am conscious of the impact that our purchasing habits have on the environment. And I think that’s a good start!
By incorporating these sustainable materials into our home interior designs, we can create a space that reflects our unique style whilst being kind to the planet too. We can start on a small scale and add elements as and when we need them.
So, go ahead and embrace the eco friendly revolution in home design. We all have to start somewhere and our homes and the environment will thank us for it!