Green/Eco-friendly/Sustainable Interior Design
It’s not just a new year—it’s a new decade. And that means your resolutions should be more epic than ever—a little more creative, a little more responsible, and definitely more forward thinking. There’s no better way to merge all three than to commit to a greener lifestyle in your casa with some green interior design.
From eco-friendly materials to cleaner lighting sources, there are plenty of ways to make your home more beautiful and sustainable. And don’t worry—none of them involve ugly light bulbs!
Yes, the Marie Kondo method is sooo 2015. But guess what? Her ideas on minimalism are timeless, and they vibe with the whole sustainable interior design theory. The act of simplifying, organizing, and decluttering your home—from artwork to appliances to furniture and more—changes your perspective from chasing trends to selecting pieces for your home with intention and mindfulness.
Choose Eco-friendly Furniture That’s Built to Last
Forget the big box stores and trendy-but-cheaply-made furniture. Solid wood furniture—such as teak, maple, oak, or walnut—are way more durable than particle board, and they can even last a lifetime if you treat them right. Look for wood furniture that bears the seal of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an organization that promotes responsible management of the world’s forests.
You’ll also want to check for sustainable hardwoods that use traditional building and joinery methods like tongue-and-groove joints rather than glues. That’s because the adhesive glues contain nasty chemicals known as VOCs that can off-gas into the air, affecting the air quality in your home. If your taste leans more retro than contemporary or modern interior design, you can’t go wrong with antique solid wood pieces. They’ll infuse your home with a vintage warmth and uniqueness while also helping lower your carbon footprint. Win-win!
Be Responsible with Your Lighting
Natural light is, of course, the absolute best way for your home to look as glowy as Gweneth Paltrow in a Goop ad. But it’s also a must for giving your home a happy, refreshing feel while also saving energy—especially if you’re lucky enough to have plenty of windows. But you can still be energy efficient with your lighting at night, too, if you do it right.
Steer clear of incandescent bulbs that drain energy—these traditional bulbs give off 90% of their energy as heat rather than light, which makes them more expensive to use and keeps your house warmer. Instead, replace them with energy-efficient bulbs such as halogen incandescents or LED lights, and use timers and dimmers to cut back on your energy use. Just avoid the use of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) – they ugly twisty light bulbs – if anyone can see them in your fixture. No one needs to see that!
Incorporate Natural Accents
Have you ever stepped foot inside a home that had no plants? It lacks the texture necessary for a balanced design sensibility, and it also gives off a sort of, well, dead energy. Natural textures—from plants to traditional decor—infuse a home with a shot of the outdoors, giving the space a vivacious energy that also happens to be good for the environment. A few of my favorites include:
- Baskets made from natural sisal fibers
- Textiles made from 100% organic cotton and organic dyes
- Decor made from acacia wood
- Natural stone or marble for an accent wall or countertops
- Greenery walls and indoor gardens
- Wood or cork flooring
Stay Away from Chemicals in Upholstery and Textiles
Just like those glues used in furniture, fabrics also have the potential to off-gas toxic irritants into the air we breathe. Many of them contain chemicals such as formaldehyde, polyurethane, doxin, and brominated flame retardants that are way unhealthy, especially for those with sensitive eyes and lungs. Plus, the chemical additives make these materials unrecyclable—which means they’ll contribute to landfill overflow once you’re done with them.
This is where organic materials come to the rescue when you’re looking for new curtains, rugs, and textiles. Always go for cottons, wools, and silks that are labeled organic to avoid the chemicals and side effects.
Looking for Interior Design in Austin to Give Your Abode Some Green Love?
One of the best and easiest ways to green your space for the new year and beyond is to hook up with a designer who knows the ropes of sustainable design—like our experienced crew here at J.Fisher Interiors. Hit us up here, and we’ll create a space that perfectly reflects your vision and style while also showing some love to the planet.
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!