Today's post has been inspired by a Mood Board I shared on my Instagram recently. I created it to help inspire the use of earthy colours in your interior design projects. My Mood Board went on to become one of my most liked Instagram posts so far! I took this to mean that it's obviously a "hot topic" and one that people care about, so I thought that I would take inspiration from that fact, and explore ways to be sustainable from an Interior Design perspective to help anyone who would like to explore how they can make "kinder to the planet", "earthy" design choices.
It's no secret that the state of our planet these days makes us feel ashamed to be a human being. And regardless of where you stand on the Global Warming debate. We all need to take an active role in improving our environment. And I hasten to add that I am by no means writing this post from an admiral position! I am well aware that I personally need to do more than just making use of the reusable recycle bags that I have or filling the brown bin that my council have provided me with; mind you, lockdown Sabrina seems to enjoy breaking down the cardboard boxes and playing a cheeky game of Tetris to get them all to fit inside their designated bag, she also seems to enjoy listening to the wine bottles clinking together when she puts them out to be recycled too :).
I know that I could be better informed than I currently am, because I recently watched David Attenborough's - Life on Our Planet and after doing some basic research on Palm Oil, I realised that so many of the everyday things we use, contain it. I also discovered that most of the items in my makeup bag have Palm Oil inside. I felt sad about my ignorance, but I am the type of person who takes action and I have since been educating myself and I have made some simple life changes and some thoughtful choices to adapt to more actively "do my bit".
As an Interior Designer, sustainability is always at the forefront of my mind, and where possible I will always encourage you to make "greener" choices on your project. But, I truly believe it's important to be authentic in this area. Too many times I have come across suppliers, and companies that tout sustainability just to increase sales. And that's one of the reasons why I jumped at the chance to listen in on a webinar entitled "Sustainable Sourcing for Interior Designers" it had people like Chloe Bullock on the panel, a designer who is at the forefront of sustainable Interior Design in my opinion. I learned so much from that discussion, but my major "take-away" was the fact that, just because an item has "Made in Britain" stamped on it, there are some useful loop holes which means that even certain imported products that may have had a partial piece included in its manufacturing process that was made or sourced in the UK, means that it can be classed as a product that has been made here.
This can be a minefield for you to navigate through! So, if you want to make sure that you truly are being sustainable when sourcing your project materials and if you're serious, then I would definitely urge you to work with a professional - then we can do all of that hard work for you!
And if it's not within your budget to hire a professional, here are some small but impactful ways that you can help reduce the negative affect on our environment.
Make Good Use of the Natural Light
A free and simple interior design tip, that's not only good for the environment, but it's also good for your wellbeing. Sunlight is our "best friend" when it comes to interior design, because it's the best way to brighten up a space and show off all of the amazing colours and textures. If you happen to have a home that does not have the windows in the right place to bring in the daylight, then you could always enlarge existing windows, or install new ones. If this isn't an option for you or you have no window in the space, then clever use of sustainable lighting is a good alternative choice.
Use Water or Plant Based Paints
Another sustainable interior design choice that's good for your health! It's also a convenient choice, because water based paint tends to dry quicker. The toxic gases that can be slowly released into your home due to the high content of VOC's (and many other nasties), inside conventional paint, could not only aggravate certain preexisting health conditions it could create new ones. Once they escape from your home, they then release into earth's atmosphere where they go on to contribute to what's known as greenhouse gases. However, the two alternatives I'm suggesting are not 100% sustainable and I have not used a Plant Based paint and do not know how they perform. So you will need to dig deeper and do your research in regards to sourcing premium paints that have a lower VOC content. And the good thing is that water based paints are very easy to work with, so they are the best choice for any enthusiastic DIYers!
An increasing furniture trend that has birthed some super talented people. Upcycling is the brilliant idea of taking something that in some people's eyes may be seen as being ready for the bin, but with a bit of TLC here and there, it's given a new "lease of life" and if the job is done well, it can even add monetary value! I've always loved the saying "one man's rubbish is another man's treasure..." this is a great way to add unique elements to your home, it also has sustainability & being environmentally friendly at the core.
Another great way to save money, is to take a look around your home and identify any item that you could incorporate into your new design style. Or if you really must get rid, then there are some great places to get recycled furniture.
Drop me an email if you'd like to explore additional ways in which you can save money and the planet at the same time.