There are quite a few things you need to consider when choosing sustainable materials for interior design. Not to worry, we’ve got you covered. This is DECO’s ultimate guide to sustainable design.
Your home is your nesting place, a safe haven from the realities that lie outside your front door. You want it to be warm, inviting and healthy. Research indicates that certain building features such as daylight, connection to nature, and spaces for social interaction, appear to have a positive psychological and social benefit. Reduced stress, improved emotional functioning, increased communication and an improved sense of belonging are some of these benefits.
Sustainable interior design ideas emphasise the importance of improving the quality of your life, health and well-being by changing your indoor environment. It’s about implementing environmentally responsible designs into your interior setting. Improving how you live now and in the future, by avoiding depletion of our planet’s natural resources. Sustainable interior design ideas are interior designs where all the materials are intended to create an ecological balance with nature.
Environmentally conscious designs attempt to create indoor spaces that are environmentally sustainable and healthy for you and your family. It’s important you do your research before buying sustainable design elements. Here’s our quick guide to getting started.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
There are 3 dimensions to sustainable interior design, each offering a different level of impact to the environment and your quality of life.
1. Global sustainable interior design focuses on minimising negative effects and maximising positive effects on the global environment as a whole.
2. Indoor environmental quality considers the sustainability of interior environments. Improving indoor air quality and reducing indoor air pollutants. Improving thermal comfort and interior lighting.
3. Sustainable materials: Materials that minimise resources used and waste generated during the production process.
Because we spend most of our time indoors, interior design plays a key role in helping create functional spaces that improve our health and general level of satisfaction. Sustainability offers a long-term balance between your everyday life and the environment you live in.
GUIDE TO SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS
Material selection: Sustainable materials limit the use of fossil fuels during its composition and provides optimal performance for its application. Some examples include:
- All natural, low-maintenance and sustainable materials such as linoleum, cork and bamboo flooring. It’s durable and renewable.
- Eco-friendly countertops, made up of recycled glass, paper and plastic.
- Sustainable textiles and natural fibres, such as hemp, flax, soy, wool and camel.
Go on an adventure. Visit local flea markets, consignment stores and antique warehouses. Make an effort to buy materials that are renewable and locally produced.
Furnishings: Furniture is a major element in any well-designed interior. No one wants to sit on an ugly coach or be embarrassed by their bulky kitchen table.
- Opt for vintage, second hand gems or upcycle pieces in your home.
- Reuse and refurbish furniture when possible.
- Salvage and reuse pieces in your area.
Lighting: The difference between good and bad lighting can make or break the comfort, mood and overall satisfaction of your home. Windows will help you incorporate daylight into your design. Natural sunlight has been shown to boost the immune system and improve sleep quality. Maximise existing natural light by:
- Placing a mirror on a wall adjacent to a window. This will mimic the window and make it seem like you have multiple windows on the wall.
- Placing a mirror opposite a window. This will reflect the light and views from the window.
- Avoid heavy, light blocking window treatments. Let the light in.
- Use reflective surfaces to bounce the light around and give the impression of more light, even when windows are limited.
Air quality: Indoor air quality can be significantly improved by incorporating some wise design choices, such as:
- Organic fabrics. These are textiles grown in controlled settings without pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals. Browse Photoganic for a variety of organic, hand-woven and eco-friendly fabrics.
- Low-VOC Paint. Typical household paint contain 10, 000 chemicals, of which a 150 have been linked to cancer. Volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) is a harmful chemical found in paint. As paint dries, these harmful VOC’s are released into the air. There are many types of non-toxic paints and finishes now available. Ask your local paint supplier for their recommendations.
- Vegetable dye and natural fibre rugs. Dying with natural dyestuffs has superb aesthetic qualities and ads no chemicals. Look at the certifications when buying a vegetable dyed rug. There should be a little label guaranteeing that the rug was made from renewable resources.
A sustainable interior design does not mean you have to sacrifice beauty. You can create something that’s environmentally sensitive, and still looks stunning.
Minimise negative health effects by using sustainable material for interior design. Utilise sunlight, incorporate organic fabrics and be sure to buy local products that will last a long time. Be happy, healthy and content in your sustainably, stylish home.
How are your creating a healthier home?
Our Green Issue, on shelf now, is quite literally bursting with the very latest in sustainable design news, ideas and shopping. What are you waiting for?
Anneke van Aswegen is a passionate freelance writer from Cape Town. With her well ordered creativeness, she writes website content in a way that educates and inspires her readers. Her Master’s degree in Research Phycology and SEO experience makes
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