First, the good news: Interest in sustainable interior design has soared over in recent years.
Now, the better news: The number of sustainable interior design materials and styling options has increased, too.
With a whole world of Earth-friendly possibilities now available to the everyday environmentalist, it can be hard to know where to begin.
We’re here to help you and Mother Earth, with designer intel on how to make your home more sustainable. We’ll break it down room by room, starting with some tips and tricks to implement throughout your home:
From Front Door to Back Porch
Sustainable interior design really is as easy as 1-2-3: 1. Repurpose. 2. Restore. 3. Recycle. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Repurpose items you already own and find new uses for your current decor and furniture. Let your imagination run wild. “This could even be something as creative as pouring your own candles into old vases or other containers,” says Havenly designer Lauren Cox.
- Turn your thermostat down in the winter (and up in the summer). Layer throw blankets throughout your home so there’s always something close at hand and cozy to wrap up in.
- Choose local vendors. When making a new purchase, buy locally instead of shipping from out of state. In addition to supporting your hometown economy, this reduces the size of your carbon footprint by lowering the number of miles your package will have to travel from warehouse to your house.
- Swap conventional light bulbs for LED bulbs or CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps). Talk about a powerful reduction in energy: LEDs and CFLs can be up to 80 percent more energy-efficient than traditional bulbs — and they last up to 10 times as long.
- Declutter responsibly. That means sending the minimum to your landfill. Donate what you can to your favorite local thrift store. Recycle paper and plastic goods. And dispose of hazardous household products, such as paint and batteries, at your local drop-off site. Earth 911 is an amazing resource for discovering recycling options in your zip code.
In the Living Room
Now onto your living room. Since it’s a space used throughout the day and evening, let’s focus on light.
Adding light-filtering drapes allows you the flexibility to let in as much (or as little) light to your space as you’d like. And that adds up to reducing your usage of energy.
In the summer, a sheer curtain can help cut back on your air-conditioning usage since it’ll filter out some of the sun’s heat, Lauren says. “In the winter, open up your drapes to let some of that same sunlight in to help heat your home naturally.”
In the Kitchen
Next up, your kitchen. Start by choosing less wasteful options for your morning routine.
Pod-based coffee machines, for example, can generate a lot of waste. Something like a French press, on the other hand, is significantly less wasteful, plus, it’s often easier to use and maintain than those complex machines. Did you spill anything? Forgo single-use paper towels and opt for dish towels instead.
For leftovers, look for beeswax paper, which can be washed and reused, as a replacement for single-use plastic wrap.
In the Dining Room
In your dining room, the focus is on eliminating paper products from your table and decreasing the need for new purchases:
- Use cloth napkins instead of disposable napkins for a more sustainable and reusable everyday item. They’re also a beautiful way to elevate your dining experience.
- Source ceramic plates and dinnerware from a local vendor. Not only are these items reusable, but when purchased from a nearby store, you’re saving the environment from the pollution of added transportation.
- When it comes to entertaining, use scraps and extras from cooking (like unused herbs, half-cut fruit, etc.) to adorn the table and provide a decorative atmosphere, without purchasing a lot of one-time-use decor and accessories.
- If you’re craving new-to-you holiday decor for a special occasion tablescape, start searching for that vintage Easter platter or Fourth of July bunting at a local thrift store.
In the Bedroom
Vintage dressers, antique lamps and inherited textiles like handmade quilts or crocheted throws personalize your bedroom and add a rich element of “story” to your home. Bonus: These pre-owned, gently used items are also sustainable.
But what about bed linens? Upgrade your sheets with a sustainably made option, like bamboo sheets, or by shopping from vendors who make sustainability a priority.
“These options often come with a higher price tag,” Lauren says, “but the added comfort and benefits to the environment are well worth it.”
You can rest easy, knowing you’re helping the Earth.
In the Bathroom
And finally, your bathroom. By their very nature, bathrooms can be one of the most wasteful spaces in your home (no pun intended).
Installing low-flow toilets, low-flow sink faucets, low-flow bathtub faucets and water-efficient showerheads, which can use 40 percent less water than traditional showerheads, will drastically reduce your water consumption and save money on your utility bill. A win-win!
Bathrooms are also the perfect place to incorporate air-filtering plants in your home: think snake plants, pothos and rubber plants — they look great and work hard to clean the air, all at the same time. That’s just one of the many benefits of houseplants.
Seamlessly weave sustainable interior design throughout your home by working with a Havenly designer. Take our fun style quiz to discover how to bring your visions to life.