How to design your home sustainably
Whether in politics or the media, in the office or at home, the topic of sustainability has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Those who are concerned with saving the climate make efforts such as eating regional and organic food, paying attention to production conditions when buying clothes, and switching to natural cosmetics. But furnishing your own home also has a huge effect on the environment. There are so many ways that you can make a big impact on shrinking your ecological footprint within your own home. Find out how sustainability is becoming one of the prominent interior design trends, and what exactly you can do to make your home greener.
Why is sustainable interior design important?
When decorating your home, choosing sustainable interior design methods may not be the top of your list. But the way you furnish your apartment can have a huge impact on your ecological footprint. Choosing the right materials and acquiring furniture and decor from sustainable sources will allow you to lesson your environmental impact significantly. Examples of sustainable design can vary from huge renovations--such as installing solar paneling and modern energy-saving heating methods--to smaller decoration projects, like buying furniture second hand. All of these steps are part of the overall concept of green design.
Make small changes for a big impact
An ecologically and socially conscious home interior begins with the details. For example, switching to green electrics: by using energy-saving lamps and sockets that can be switched off, you can save both energy and money. Energy consumption is one of the biggest contributors to climate change, and you can make a difference in your home. By switching to an ecologically conscious light and heat source, you can reduce your consumption. But you don't have to make such big expensive changes: even by adding curtains and carpeting (from local and sustainable sources), you can save on heating as these textiles add insulation. You can also reduce your water consumption by using water-saving shower heads. If you have indoor plants, not only do they make excellent decoration, but they also improve the indoor climate by filtering toxins out of the air you breathe. Additionally, lowering your thermostat by just one degree can lower your energy consumption by up to six percent. Individually it may not sound like much, but these efforts all add up.
Buy sustainable furniture
More and more labels and designers are focusing on environmentally friendly and socially fair conditions in the production and distribution of their furniture. Many brands are completely committed to sustainability and combine it with modern design and functionality. Brands such as Grüne Erde, Mater, Ekomia, and Bolia are excellent European-based designers which provide high-quality sustainable furniture. But simply purchasing furniture from your favourite designer does not necessarily have far-reaching consequences for the environment. When looking for that coveted sofa or a chic new chest of drawers, check for labels such as the Blue Angel, the FSC seal, or the Öko-Control seal to determine whether it meets current sustainability standards. This makes it much easier to make responsible furniture selections. Most importantly, however, when designing the interior of your home you should choose pieces which will last a long time. The furniture should be crafted with high quality so that it does not end up by the dumpster in just a few years. It is also worthwhile to choose fabrics which do not require lots of chemical cleaning, which is also environmentally damaging.
Turn old into new
That being said, of course you shouldn't just head to your nearest furniture store to replace all your existing appliances with sustainable versions. The best option for the climate would be to keep using your own furniture for as long as possible. Combining modern interior design with environmentally compatible standards may not seem easy; however, even if you are a design enthusiast with an impeccable sense for current trends, this does not automatically make you an environmental sinner. Before looking for brand-new furniture, explore some of the various alternatives. Of course, the most sustainable option is to buy furniture and decor pieces second-hand--this way, you can eliminate the most waste. However, if you are looking for something new, many labels offer newly-designed fronts and worktops suitable for conventional Ikea products. This way, you can give your home a new shine without having to dispose of furniture that is still usable. If you do purchase something new, be sure to donate the old so that, instead of taking up room in a landfill, someone else can give it new life and purpose. A further option is to shop in flea markets or online marketplaces. Here your inner bargain hunter can find used yet chic new favourites, or sell your own unwanted items. If furniture is damaged or has become so old that it can no longer be used, you should make sure to dispose of it properly, so that a broken wardrobe ends up in a proper waste site and not on the street. Also, be sure to check if any of the materials can be recycled.
A trend built to last
Many top interior designers agree that sustainable design is crucial in today's world. Reducing waste and consuming less is now something that you can actively do just by furnishing your home with sustainability in mind. From buying second-hand furniture to sourcing local materials to installing eco-friendly lighting and heating, there are many options which are accessible to everybody. Despite constantly changing interior trends, maintaining sustainability awareness in the home is crucial in order to counteract climate change and its consequences. Looking to the future, it is important to treat the environment and its inhabitants just as gently and conscientiously as your own four walls.