Take a read of this fabulous Guest Blog Post from Nick Acaster at Rugs Direct.
In this article, Nick Acaster from Rugs Direct shares some easy eco-friendly material swaps you can make to create a sustainable interior.
Do you live an eco-friendly lifestyle? If you’re already sipping from a reusable water bottle, bringing your own bags when shopping, and walking or cycling for short trips, then you may just be looking for more ways to do your bit for the environment.
If this is the case, it might be time to think about the eco-friendly choices you can make to ensure your interior décor is also sustainable. Many common materials used for interiors have eco-friendly swaps that you can easily make, so it really is worth thinking about next time you decide to update your home. To help you out, I’ve listed five of these materials, as well as the greener alternatives you can choose when decorating.
Choose pre-loved or faux-leather furniture
Leather furniture is incredibly popular, but many people don’t realise the impact the industry has on the environment. To keep up with the demand, cattle need to be intensively reared, which causes greenhouse gases being outputted and mass deforestation.
So, if you’re thinking of adding a leather piece to your home, it’s worth looking at alternatives. There is the option of buying a pre-loved item of furniture, which means you can still pick up the genuine article but aren’t contributing to the issues I’ve mentioned. If you want to avoid leather but still want the look and feel, there are lots of manufacturers who specialise in making faux-leather pieces that capture the material’s qualities. This also a good option if you’re creating a vegan interior.
Invest in natural soft furnishings
When you’re in the market for soft furnishings for your home, it can be tempting to buy those made with synthetic fabrics, which are cheap but are often made unsustainably and can contain plastics that aren’t biodegradable. A good alternative is to choose items made with natural fabrics, like wool, linen, and cotton, which have a reduced environmental impact compared to man-made materials.
For instance, if you’re trying to create a bohemian look, you could choose a rug made from jute, an incredibly fast-growing plant that can be produced sustainably. The material is fantastic at insulating heat too, so has the added bonus of making your home more energy efficient.
Consider adding hardwood flooring
Like synthetic fabrics, popular man-made floorings, like vinyl or laminate, may be cheap, but they’re often bad news for the environment. Not only do these materials have a huge environmental impact, but they also can’t be recycled and will take hundreds of years to break down in landfill once scrapped.
As an eco-alternative, you might want to consider installing hardwood floor made with real wood that can easily be reused or recycled — you may even be able to use salvaged wood to reduce your impact further. You’ll also get to enjoy the warm, authentic look it will add to your home. It’s worth noting that you may already have some beautiful floorboards under some current covering that you just need to expose and treat, though this is more likely in period homes.
Upcycle materials and furniture
You may have come across upcycling before, but if you haven’t, it means taking items and materials that have been earmarked as waste and finding a way to give them a new purpose. Doing this rather than buying new has the dual benefit of saving things from landfill and limiting your environmental impact, making it a worthy endeavour.
For instance, materials such as reclaimed wood, stone, and tiles can all be used to decorate a room, giving it a depth and authenticity not possible with brand-new supplies, while old chairs, tables, and cabinets can be revamped or given a lick of paint and used as statement pieces within a space.
Decorate with natural paints
While modern paints are more severely regulated these days, many still contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment and our health. In particular, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are known to be a major contributor to climate change owing to how easily they evaporate, and many paints continue to emit these chemicals years after application.
One way to reduce the level of VOCs in your paint is to choose eco-friendly or natural paints when you are redecorating. Natural paints are the best if you’re looking for a zero-VOC level in your home, as they’re only made with ingredients like water, vegetable oils, plant dyes, and natural minerals. Though they were once expensive, natural paints are becoming much more affordable and widely available, so they’re definitely worth consideration.
Hopefully, my tips have given you some ideas about making your home décor as eco-friendly as possible. With a few swaps and some creativity, you can continue do your bit for the planet.