How can we be Eco-Friendly and Sustainable when doing Interior Design?

Updated: May 12

How can we be Eco-Friendly and Sustainable when doing Interior Design?

With climate change giving us colder winters and hotter summers, living a more eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle is very much at the forefront of our minds.

But how does that effect interior design do I hear you say and what does it actually mean..?

Being Eco-Friendly

When it comes to being “green” at home, most people think solar panels and conserving water / electricity - but what if I told you that household items and general décor can also play an important part?

In support of International Earth Month I’m going to delve into a few ways that play a considerable role in creating a healthier planet. Think eco-friendly decoration and design and materials that focus on improved air quality and reduced environmental impact…

Recycling - Going old.

One of my favourite things to do is rummage around antique shops, reclaimed sites and charity shops. My love for all things old and traditional goes way back to when we lived in Kuwait and my dad used to drag us around the Friday markets, in what I thought was 85,200°C! I absolutely loved looking at all the old Arabic pots, rugs and jewellery all lined up - the hoarder in me has kept lots of treasure since my childhood.

Believe it or not, you don’t have to travel as far as Kuwait to find some golden nuggets! Local charity shops are always my go-to places when I’m on the hunt for something traditional and unique. I know some people find them unappealing, but you really can find some absolute bargains that are just stunning!

Check out this gorgeous vanity unit from one of my recent revamp projects READ MORE

Photograph by: Emma Boyle Photography

Another simple method I like to try is upcycling furniture I’ve already got. Instead of chucking something away, selling it or giving it to charity, reusing items is a great way to help the environment, whilst saving money in the process if you’re on a tight budget. It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of sandpaper and a lick of paint! Of course this doesn’t work for everything, I mean if you’ve had a sofa for 20 years and it’s on its way out then this could well be a pointless task. I’m not saying keep everything, but sometimes it’s worth a try before you buy!

Furniture made from natural materials

It’s hard to not be tempted by cool trends and fancy shiny amazing décor items, but going for reclaimed wood will always be the better choice for the environment. Reclaimed wood is a renewable material and prevents the need for unnecessary deforestation. Not only that, but it adds great character to the home, with each piece being completely unique in shape, style and colour.

Another material I like to use, particularly for flooring, is cork. I have recently installed it in my studio and I love it! Cork is known for its recyclability and sustainability and extracting it doesn’t harm the trees or the environment. And for all you wine lovers out there – some cork floors are made entirely of wine stoppers! Chin-chin!

Cork floor from Pure Tree Cork installed in my studio.

Let’s talk plants!

I remember my mum saying “Oh no, too many plants” when I was younger. It was a thing years ago, crazy plant ladies all over the place and now I’m one of them! I love plants (although have had a few casualties along the way) and the most interesting thing of all, is that some of them help with purifying the air by removing toxins.

House-plants definitely started out as a trend, but I think they’re here to stay. I always try to sneak a real plant in almost all of my projects! If you’re not a fan of real plants though, you can always invest in a good faux one. Not only are they low-maintenance, but they will last for years, whilst still giving you the look you want.

"Pilea" otherwise known as a "Money Plant". Image from Stem Sale.

Letting light in…

Natural light is good for the soul and a cost-free way of heating up the house too! If you’re lucky enough to have lots of natural light sources coming in from windows and doors it’s important that you make sure these areas are well insulated. I don’t necessarily mean hanging big bulky curtains that get in the way, but instead you could opt for a more elegant fabric that helps soften the windows instead of blocking the light.

Roller blinds or shutters are good alternative options if you’re not into curtains but would still like an element of privacy. You can control the amount of light you want coming in by adjusting the slats, giving you the best of both worlds.

If you don’t get much natural sunlight at home, you could also consider adding extra light into your living space by introducing floor lamps or lovely ceiling lights. Top Tip! – Always make sure you are using the right sort of bulbs i.e. LED or CFL which are the best for long-life and energy efficiency.

Another way of conserving energy is switching to dimmer lights. I personally love a dimmer switch on any light! I hardly use the main light in our living room and just have “mood” lighting in the form of a corner floor lamp. With energy bills rising, this small change can make a huge difference.

Image sourced from Pinterest (by @Bobedre)

Ever considered choosing a colour scheme that’s dark and bold, but are too scared to do it? Well, for those living in a colder climate this might be a game changer! Walls painted in darker colours will absorb a tiny bit more heat (whilst lighter colours reflect it) and if the space allows, you could also arrange rooms so that bedrooms and bathrooms face north (with less sun) and kitchens and living rooms face the sunnier south.

Companies you use

As we become more in tune with our actions and how they impact the environment, we can start to be selective about the companies we buy from. One of the first paint companies that I started working was with COAT - the first carbon neutral company.

Unlike most of the paint produced, the entire COAT range is completely water-based and low in volatile organic compounds (VOC). All supplies are B-Corp certified too, so no nasty plastics which means:

  • 100% solvent-free paints

  • Recyclable products & packaging

  • Sustainable bamboo supplies

  • Made fresh, with zero-waste production

Make a small change

There are so many things we could be doing, but starting small is the best way – source furniture made of renewable materials, make use of the natural light or invest in a house plant.

Going “green” or being environmentally friendly doesn’t have to be expensive. With just a little bit of patience and research, you’ll be able to create that sustainable and eco-friendly household you always wished you had.

Thank you for reading and Happy International Earth Month!

If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Charlotte x


Collaboration with Infinite Cre8tions