5 Tips for Sustainable Interior Design
What exactly is sustainable interior design and how can you achieve it? Read on to discover how to create a well designed home with my 5 tips on how to achieve sustainable interior design.
1. Energy Efficient Design
Reducing energy consumption in the home is a key factor in sustainable design. When considering a new interior design scheme, heating, lighting design and new appliances have a key part to play in making a building sustainable. Thermal insulation increases energy efficiency, storing heat and bringing down running costs for heating.
As bi-fold doors and large picture windows are increasingly popular in homes it is important to look for energy efficiency in large areas of glazing. All windows are energy rated with the highest being A++. Try this handy calculator on the glass and glazing federation website which estimates the amount you could save on running costs when choosing new windows.
Home appliances are another area where buying energy efficient models save on running costs. They are energy rated in a similar way to windows allowing you to choose the most efficient models. In addition to buying new and more efficient appliances smart technology such as Hive reduces energy consumption by allowing you to control heating and lighting as and when you need it remotely via an app on your phone. For the heating itself, Best Electric explains that a 2019 report by the Committee on Climate Change recommended that no new homes should be connected to the gas grid after 2025 due to harmful effects on the environment - so be sure to go electric.
2. Recycle and Upcycle
This may seem like a contradiction in terms when it comes to interior design as many people have a vision of creating a space filled with brand new furniture, fixtures and fittings. However it is important to consider the period and character of the property that you live in. For example when designing an interior scheme for a historic country cottage sourcing vintage and antique furniture adds to the character of the property, whilst the latest styles of furniture may look more at home in a newly built city apartment.
The Ercol All Purpose wooden chair is a design classic. Still in production and also a popular second-hand find
Sourcing second-hand can be budget friendly as well as adding character to your home. In this living room designed by Create Perfect, the gorgeous leather sofas were sourced second hand. Leather wears beautifully adding a wealth of character to the room.
The floorboards are reclaimed Victorian originals sourced on eBay. After sanding and staining to match the room scheme they came in at a considerable saving when compared to buying new. Read my top 10 tips for sourcing second-hand.
Additionally, often recycling existed treasured pieces of furniture can be a ideal solution to creating the perfect space. A currently unloved dining table may be transformed by adding new dining chairs. An old piece of wooden furniture may be more at home when painted to suit a new colour scheme or simply used in another room. Once you’ve invested in an iconic piece of furniture you’ll treasure it for years and it can often be the starting point for a whole new room scheme.
3. Minimise Air Pollutants
Air pollutants can be dangerous to your health as well as damaging to the environment so design your home to minimise their existence.
Make sure you use paints, adhesives and sealants with low VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in your home. Water based paints such as Little Greene Paints are one of the safest options.
Kitchen wall and cabinets painted in Little Greene Paint's Harley Green
VOCs can also be found in composite products such as pressed wood used in furniture and flooring as well as kitchen worktops. New technology is minimising the use of VOCs. For example Jesmonite is a popular solution for kitchen worktops and is a composite product made from plaster, cement and a water based resin containing no VOCs.
Ensure adequate ventilation as this prevents a build up of mould and allergens. Keep the air healthier with a good selection of houseplants which are known for their ability to remove toxins and clean the air.
4. Use Natural Sustainable Materials
Organic materials such as wood are renewable and sustainable. Use furniture made from natural woods and avoid particleboard and MDF which are made from compressed woods bonded together with resins which often contain VOCs. Bamboo and rattan are fast growing and quickly renewable.
Rattan Hanging Chair available at Outthereinteriors.com
Bamboo flooring is hardwearing and widely available and rattan furniture is becoming increasingly popular. Look for products certified with the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)to ensure they are from sustainable sources. In kitchens and bathrooms wood, marble and stone are sustainable design solutions for countertops. For textiles choose natural materials such as wool and leather as well as fabrics made from quickly renewable resources such as flax and hemp. Check for natural dyes and fabric treatments too.
5. Reduce Waste
Finally reduce the amount of waste production. This encompasses all of the above and can be achieved in home design by following one simple rule - invest in quality over quantity. Use a combination of technology and good design to reduce the waste of energy and water in your home. Invest in heirloom quality furniture which will be around for years to come through recycling and repurposing. When you buy new minimise the environmental impact by checking the source of your purchases.
Sustainability and wellness is an important factor in the Create Perfect interior design process. Contact Gina Everett for more information on how to design your home with sustainability in mind.
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