We spend a lot of time at home, so why not make the choice to favour environmentally friendly home décor and interior design options. Sustainable living extends to countless aspects – how you shop, commute, eat, travel etc. and also how you live! If you want to start with sustainable living, try it out where you feel most comfortable – your home!
Sustainable living in terms of home décor is not only better for the planet, but your health and peace of mind as well. These types of phrases are often heard when referring to eco friendly versions of just about everything we consume these days. To clear up any confusion, let’s go over what sustainability means in relation to the products we bring into our lives and homes.
What Does Sustainability Even Mean?
Sustainable living in terms of home décor means choosing items or materials that come from an environmentally responsible source that will also remain resource-efficient while it’s in use. Well that’s a mouthful. Ask yourself, were the materials likely sourced from a place that abides by the standards of that county’s environmental laws? Were the mechanisms to harvest/create/package/distribute the items also conscious of this? A resource-efficient life cycle means that the product or item already started with a commitment to being green before it go to you. Your choice to ‘go green’ not only supports the efforts made thus far, but also commits to a green future.
I Want to Try Sustainable Living – Where Do I Start?
Committing to the idea of sustainable living is the key to your journey. Know that it won’t happen overnight, and there’s lots to learn. Choosing a ‘greener’ option as the next home décor purchase you make, or simply reading through this blog is a great place to start. If you are renovating your place (more on this below), you’ll discover there are many safer options out there for products that don’t contain many toxic or harsh chemicals. Whatever your next project is, bring in a little environmentally consciousness to it. Even a bit of mindful decorating if you will.
It can be tempting and exciting to do a huge re-vamp all at once, but remember that sustainable living takes time, and is more than the things that make up your home. It’s also the mindset. The principle of sustainability is using higher quality products that comes from a clean source. These items last you longer and need less frequent replacement. In turn, there is less demand on our planet to produce and extract resources for more stuff! It would be silly to simply go out and replace everything you have with an ‘eco version’ of it. Use what you have until its run to the ground. That’s where sustainable living begins. When it’s time for you to make a purchase, you can consider investing in a more sustainable version of the product you need.
How Do I ‘Green’ My Home Projects & Materials I Use?
You can work towards sustainable living with the next project you pursue. If you are embarking on a home renovation of any sort, you can opt for eco-friendly versions of materials, finishes, paints and even wallpapers! Choosing furniture that is certified by authorities such as the Forest Stewardship Councilmeans you are selecting wood that comes from a forest that is managed in a way that is conducive to its replenishment. Selective harvesting is one such method where instead of clear-cutting (removing all trees in an area) only some trees are removed. The result is a more intact forest that can still contribute to the biodiversity (the overall collection of plants and animals) of an area.
In terms of paints or finishes, opt for low or no-VOC options. VOC stands for ‘volatile organic compound’, which includes a multitude of chemicals that may have short- and long-term negative health effects. These compounds are emitted by hundreds, even thousands of products we seemingly come into contact with on a regular basis: paints, lacquers, glues, permanent markers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides etc. The fact that the concentration of VOCs can be up to ten times higher indoors compared to outdoors should really make you re-think the chemicals you use and bring into your home. It’s worthwhile to weigh in on eco-friendly options even when you’re building or renovating. Set the stage early on as this will inspire and guide your journey towards sustainable living.
How Do I Incorporate Sustainability into Design?
Ok, so maybe a home renovation is not on your radar just yet. In case you are simply thinking about refreshing your space in terms of décor or furniture, this still opens up a lovely avenue to bring in sustainable options. The key with living sustainably is having a long-term vision. As mentioned earlier, higher quality items will last longer and thus put less demand on our earth for resources. This extends to design and decorating: invest in something that stands the test of time!
Sustainable living in terms of design can mean choosing higher quality furniture and home décor items. This will look different in every home because everyone has unique personalities that they prefer to showcase through their style. What will appeal in general are classic patterns with neutral wall colours. Furniture shouldn’t be loud either.
This is where home décor items such as throws and blankets, as well as pillows, candles, you name it – come to shine! Depending on the season (or your mood that day?) you can accent areas of your home with throws and blankets and other home décor items while keeping the other aspects of your home neutral. Adding a splash of colour or texture in this way will spice up any furniture in a snap! Swapping out smaller items when you need will make the whole space appear to change, with minimal effort.
Is Sustainable Living Worth It?
In terms of health benefits for you and the planet, absolutely yes. As you embark on this journey, you may find that eco-friendly items generally cost most upfront, and this may prompt you to ask if it’s worth it for your wallet. In the long run, these items will pay themselves back through the quality (not having to replace as much) and health benefits (less exposure to harmful chemicals!).
If you keep investing money in cheap furniture (usually means short-lasting fabric and composition) – you’ll find yourself replacing or fixing items that are not worth your while. In the long run, you’ll save tons of cash (and energy and time) by investing now.
It’s easy to view sustainable living as applicable to only certain aspects of our lives – but the options are endless! Making the choice to live with an environmental lens when selecting the items you bring into and even build your home with are a very noble cause.
Sustainable living extends to countless aspects including home décor and design. Any item you look at within your home comes from somewhere and has a story of how it got these. Taking small steps and learning about how sustainable can benefit your life moving forward is notable. There is always more to learn in the realm of sustainability.