How Being Vegan Influences My Interior Design
Even if veganism isn’t the lifestyle choice for you, you’re most likely familiar with the concept. After all, the number of adopters of this cruelty-free lifestyle has increased so much over the past few years that 2019 has been declared the year of the vegan, with meat-focused chain restaurants—even McDonald’s and Burger King!—offering vegan alternatives. But while veganism as a dietary lifestyle has finally approached mainstream, it’s not the only way to make cruelty-free principles a part of your life.
As a committed vegan myself, I do my best to abstain from eating anything derived from animals. However, it’s not just what I put on my plate that I consider, but what I put in my home, too. This means that I look for humane alternatives to materials such as leather, fur, and down, for a cruelty-free approach to my personal home aesthetic. I also extend my principles of ethical design whenever possible while working with clients, from vendor sourcing and even socially conscious design inspirations. Here’s why I prefer the kinder and more humane alternative of interior design, and why you might, too.
How Ethical Design Is Healthier and Safer for Our Environment and Its Inhabitants
When you’re browsing for the perfect sofa or chair to pull together the look of your living room, you’re probably thinking more about the appearance and comfort of the piece than about its impact on animals or the environment. But as we become better educated about how our actions impact our environment and its inhabitants, it becomes more important to consider more responsible and informed choices.
Vegan-based design is founded on sustainable and ethical options for all products, which do not contain, intentionally harm, or torture any conscious living being—human or not—on our planet. Here’s why you might consider cruelty-free design for your home.
- It’s kinder to animals. Video footage of angora farms, dog leather slaughterhouses, and alligator farms reveal the horrific living conditions and abuse that animals endure—all so that we can have a leather sofa or wool blanket that society deems luxurious. And did you know that it takes a staggering twelve geese who are plucked often plucked alive to make one down pillow, and eight cows to make one leather sofa? Vegan-based principles of design acknowledge that all living creatures have emotions and feelings, and that we should never abuse or sacrifice them in the name of so-called luxury. Through vegan interior design, we seek sustainable and ethical options whenever possible, preferring products and materials that do not originate from living creatures, do not contain animal byproducts, and are not tested on animals. So instead of cattle hide or feathers, we’d prefer to choose faux leather and down alternatives.
- It’s better for the environment. It’s not just animals that we’re saving when we choose vegan alternatives; we’re saving our own bodies and the environment, too. Animal hides and skins that are used for furniture are often treated and coated with toxic chemicals and poisons that leak into the air and penetrate our skin. Leather tanneries are also known for their toxic and poisonous conditions. These chemicals are absorbed into the the furniture in your home, and they also create wastewater pollution during the tanning process. Vegan products and materials, however, use fewer chemicals and are made with natural plant-based materials. That means they’re more gentle, more clean, and more eco-friendly for us and the environment than their animal-based alternatives.
- It’s socially conscious. Workers in tanneries are routinely exposed to hazardous conditions. The lack of worker protections can result in injuries from heavy machinery or falls on improperly drained floors. These workers also have increased exposure to chromium—a necessary chemical in the tanning process that has been linked to increased rates of asthma, bronchitis, pharyngitis, and multiple types of cancer. Vegan alternatives to leather and other animal byproducts lack the toxic chemicals that are lethal to workers of farms and factories, creating a safer workplace for them and healthier products for consumers like you.
How My Vegan Lifestyle Influences J.Fisher Interior Design
Vegan alternatives in home design aren’t just for those who adhere to a vegan lifestyle; they’re for anyone who cares about the health of our planet and its inhabitants. And the best part is, it doesn’t mean compromising aesthetics in the process. I’ve helped countless clients achieve cruelty-free design in their homes by focusing on:
- MaterialsAnimal hides have remained a staple of sophistication in homes for hundreds of years. Still, you can achieve the durability and elegance of leather with faux leathers made from pineapples, of silk with faux silks from banana plants, or of wool with faux wools from recycled tree pulp. Sheepskin rugs are one of the hottest trends of the year, but you can score a faux version that’s cheaper and more humane than the real thing.
- Sourcing To shop with a conscience, it’s important to be educated about where you make your purchases. I prefer to avoid big-box chain stores that focus on mass production. Their quantity-over-quality approach to manufacturing often means low worker wages with unsafe working conditions, and cheap materials that result in subpar workmanship. I also check for certifications. OEKO-TEX certifies that textiles are free of toxic chemicals. The Global Organic Textile Standard ensures that textiles contain a minimum of 70% organic fibers. The Forest Stewardship Council guarantees that furniture and wood-based products come from sustainably harvested trees. The Fair Trade seal indicates that factory workers have safe working conditions and are paid at least minimum wage. And finally, the Certified Vegan logo promises that products were not made from animal products or byproducts.
Whether or not a vegan interior design style is right for you, it’s important to choose an experienced partner when you begin a new design project for your home. We’d love to help you create a home that feels elegant, comfortable, and perfectly suited to your tastes and unique lifestyle. Contact J.Fisher Interiors and let us help you create a space you’ll love to come home to each day.
J.Fisher Interiors’ studio is located in east Austin. To schedule your consultation appointment, please fill out the contact form or call us at 512.954.0904. We would love to hear from you!