Sustainability is a concept for the future and it is highly important that we understand it. If we are thinking of the future we have to think of both something that can be used for the long term and also something that doesn’t produce waste. A sustainable way of refurbishing your home is quite a tricky thing to embark on, but if we want to live in a clean and planet-friendly environment we have to go to the basics.
Sustainability is free of waste. Waste-free means to both limit pollution as much as we can by using elements that are environmentally friendly.
Firstly, when it comes to limiting pollution in regards to sustainable interior design, the industry is implementing ways in which they don’t produce waste. Another, better way to limit pollution is to recycle. Purchasing used or second-hand furniture is one of the answers that can limit the consumer market in which we live.
Secondly, using elements that don’t harm the environment is easier when you think of the material used for furniture. The problem is when we get into materials used to build furniture, those that lock plates of wood in place and such. Most of those are chemicals, and while we can easily stay away from plastic, the adhesives, upholstery foams, laminates, etc. are problems.
The industry is working on a way in which they can stop using chemical products and it’s a good thing they are. We only have one planet and if we take care of her, Mother Earth will surely take care of us.
Sustainable interior design
Everyone wants to make better decisions for their homes. This means energy-efficient, sustainable and safer homes for themselves and their family, in such a way that doesn’t create a big gap in your budget. Thankfully the economical aspect of sustainable interior design has started to change because of the increased demand. The improvement of technology and manufacturing processes start to have a positive impact on prices and they are starting to drop.
Currently, it’s no longer an issue of sacrificing style in order to get that eco-friendly interior design. Sustainable interior design can show your personality, it can incorporate your style and the emotional connection you create to the space is important. An emotional connection to the environment you live in helps prolong the lifespan of the elements incorporated in your interior design.
This being said, you can use old wine bottles and elements from jet engines for a chandelier, a bottle to create a lamp or plumbing parts for a light fixture. It gives a personality and freshness to your home and it is also unique.
How are the 3 principles of sustainability applied in refurbishing?
The core principle of sustainability was to promote the “development of resources that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own” as defined by Gro Harlem Brundtland. This ideal was created in the 1980s and 1990s and it has 27 principles. The most important ones that are to be applied in any area are the ones that we are going to cover here.
This is where the industry starts to develop elements that no longer promote a consumer’s market and also develop environmentally-friendly housing. As the housing industry is responsible for significant proportions of all our carbon dioxide emissions, changes are being made.
Changes can also be seen either from interior designers or from their clients. A client can take it upon himself and refurnish his home in an eco-friendly way even without interior designers. It is why interior designers are starting to broaden their horizons and pay attention to the carbon footprint of their products. Because that’s how change happens. First the demand, then the supply.
Here is also where the location is implemented. Sustainable economic development focuses on using local products that support the local economy.
We are living in the day and age where change is essential and protecting our planet should be at the focus of every industry.
The most important part of sustainability is the social aspect. How do people benefit from any particular project? A home, a bed, a lamp should add to someone’s life. Someone should benefit from its added value. It shouldn’t be in your house if it doesn’t add to your life in a favorable way. Whether it is that a lamp uses a spindle that grandma used to spin wool or the dining room table is made from wood from a former barn. It should have a positive impact on someone’s life, enrich the connection to their home and show their personality.
Keep in mind that the quality of life our interior design offers is also important. Having an environment that is free of chemicals, that is easy to clean and improves our way of life and air quality, instead of diminishing them also adds to the social equity aspect of sustainable interior design. If we don’t drink cleaning supplies, why do we cover all our belongings in those chemicals?
Environmental protection and integrity.
This is the easiest one when you think of an application in interior design. Use of safe, eco-friendly materials like bamboo, waste free projects and, as mentioned before, turning the tide on consumerism by designing goods and appliances that stand the test of time. Reuse, reduce and recycle for the future.
Promoting ideas that give new life to an end-product is one of the best ways in which we can limit our carbon footprint and we can have cities with better air quality. Whether it is to use a barn door for the same purpose of a door or to repurpose it and make a dining table out of it are just ideas of how this can be implemented.
Why is sustainability important in interior design?
We are facing a global environmental crisis and steps should be taken. Buildings, from the initial phase of construction until destruction, are responsible for one-third of the global greenhouse gas emissions. It is why the construction sector is trying to change their direction and go for a more sustainable approach. This isn’t about trends or what is currently hip or trendy, it is about our one home that we need to protect.
It can no longer be only about the aspect of a building or home and its functionality. Environment and human consideration are two of the three most important principles of sustainability and it is time we focus on something other than the economy. Everything that is built has only one end-user and one location. Us, people, human beings and our one home. And if we and the planet are taken out of the equation or considered less important than the economy, then what’s the real purpose of it all?
The 1% should no longer control what happens to the 99% that is left because we all live on the same self-rotating orb.
Sustainability in interior design improves our daily life. Plants, from trees and flowers to a simple vegetable garden, give us oxygen and purify the air we breathe for better air quality. We need air to survive so that is a good enough reason for plants/trees. Light-colored walls brighten up a room and help against energy consumption. Bright walls make a room seem larger and it’s easier to illuminate by artificial light. Big windows allow for more natural light to get in. Thick drapes stop the sun from heating up space too much in the summer and sustainable windows can ensure heating, cooling and lighting for a better indoor climate.
With how the general public is starting to react to sustainability it can also be seen as a momentum created for this market. Economically, sustainability isn’t only a responsible decision for the future but also for your business. IKEA, the Swedish multinational group is taking a stand towards change and it sets the perfect example.
Examples of sustainable designs
Let’s have a little fun. Let’s think of every piece of furniture we’ve owned throughout our lives. How much of those did we throw away? There was the crib, the childbed, chairs, wardrobes, doors, windows, drawers and the list goes on. How many of those could have been repurposed?
- The crib - it can easily be turned into a bench, a desk, a dog bed, a couple of chairs, a bar, a chest, a swing, and many more.
- The toddler bed - benches, garden bridge, fence, table, workbench, porch swing, shelves.
- An old barn door can be used for a simple sliding door that can hide a bookcase, entertainment corner or simply create privacy for your bedroom.
- Some pipes and a few pieces of wood can create an exciting industrial wardrobe.
The possibilities really are endless and the more you look into sustainability the more affordable it seems. With a bit of imagination and some courage, you might start your repurposing project any day now and use some materials you have lying around and give them a new life.
Why spend a lot of money on trending styles of furniture when everything we have around us can supply our demand? Why create more furniture from scratch when the materials are already available? Why waste as much when we don’t have to?
If you have a good reason to waste, leave us a comment and argue your point. Share this article with your friends and give it a thumbs up if you agree that reusing, recycling, and repurposing is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint. Interior design can also be about longevity and it should be. Our homes, our world, they should make us feel 3d better and as the danish “hygge” philosophy promotes, live your life in harmony with nature and the elements, bring them into your home, celebrate the simple things and enjoy a cup of tea.
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