Guide to Sustainable Home Décor
Contributed by Dakota Hendrix
Editor, US Pro Warehouse
Sustainable home décor is not just the newest trend on the market intended to attract consumers and vanish into oblivion with the next fad. It is a response to a growing issue that concerns all of us. While saving the planet might sound a bit dramatic, it undoubtedly needs to be addressed from many different angles, and eco-friendly interior design is no exception. However, since consumerism is still prevalent, making greener choices is not as simple as it seems. Greenwashing, various marketing strategies and a lack of information do an excellent job of confusing people to the point where buying the first item you come across is simply the easiest option. With this in mind, we've curated a guide to sustainable home décor that should inspire you and help you beautify your home in a way that is easy on the eyes and kind to the environment.
What is sustainability and why does it matter?
Before we delve deeper into the matter, it might be a good idea to clarify what sustainability really means. Namely, being eco-friendly consists of much more than ditching plastic and shopping in thrift stores. For a habit or item to be sustainable, it needs to satisfy our demands without taking the same possibility away from future generations.
Our planet provides us with many renewable and non-renewable resources. Because we failed to acknowledge the difference between the two in the past, we now have to put a lot of effort and thought into fixing our mistakes. Still, all hope is not lost - we simply need to be more mindful and in touch with our surroundings. And this is especially true when shopping for home décor.
How can you benefit from sustainable home decor?
By now, we are probably all aware that making greener choices is important. Still, it can be hard to find the motivation to keep up without a clear understanding of the advantages of an eco-friendly lifestyle. With that said, here are a few benefits you can expect if you embrace sustainability in your interior.
- Improved air quality
- Less water consumption and pollution
- Minimized energy consumption
- Less waste
What to look for in sustainable home decor?
We've already mentioned that sustainable home décor is a very complex topic due to inaccurate advertising and a variety of tempting choices on the market. So, if you feel the need to refresh your living space and make it greener, here is what you need to pay attention to.
To create a sustainable home, you need to start with a clean slate. This is where paint and various finishes come into play. Not many people know this, but there are more and less eco-friendly options when it comes to paint. Namely, many brands contain an array of harmful chemicals, otherwise known as VOCs, that slowly evaporate and pollute the air. These fumes can cause headaches, nausea, and even more severe illnesses and conditions.
So, besides finding storage to keep your possessions safe for the duration of the renovation, you will also need to think about the type of paint you will be using. And not just the color! Luckily, with a bit of research, you can find low VOC paints and finishes that will do wonders for the air quality in your home.
The materials out of which your furniture is made can pose a threat not only to the environment but also your health. Moreover, if you want to do things the right way, you need to think about where your pieces come from and whether someone had to suffer for them to be crafted.
Staying away from mass-produced furniture is a good starting point. However, the alternatives usually come with a much heftier price tag, which not everybody can afford. In that case, it's essential to focus on sustainable materials such as responsibly harvested or reclaimed wood, bamboo, rattan, metal, etc. You could even make or recycle a few pieces yourself, or buy preloved furniture if you are not good with tools.
But before you head to the store, ask yourself whether you really need that new couch or coffee table. Rearranging your layout could prove to be enough, and this is the most sustainable option, after all.
Textiles are another vital part of every home. They come in the form of curtains, drapes, upholstery, bedding, rugs, etc. And no, simply opting for cotton or other natural materials is not enough to call it a day.
Much like with furniture, you need to know where that stylish area rug comes from, who made it, and how much the environment had to endure in the process. The textile industry produces a scary amount of waste and creates a lot of pollution during manufacturing, making it that much more important to research and reconsider your choices before shopping.
Without good lighting, even the best interior design efforts will fail to reach their full potential. To approach this aspect of your home more sustainably, try to maximize natural light first. In instances where you have to use artificial lighting, make sure to opt for LED bulbs, dimmers, or even solar lamps. When it comes to fixtures, try to recycle or repurpose what you already have. Additionally, check out online marketplaces and thrift stores before buying new ones.
The details are what make a space uniquely yours. Moreover, they are the most exciting part when it comes to home décor. But they can also be the most harmful part if not approached mindfully.
Since overproduction and overconsumption are two massive issues, try to reevaluate your need for various knick-knacks in your home first. This doesn't mean that you need to become a minimalist (not that there is anything wrong with that). Still, it would be good to minimize the number of dust-collecting items that don't really have a purpose.
Don't worry - sustainable home décor doesn't mean bland home décor. There are many accessories you can make yourself or repurpose from the things you already have. If you absolutely must buy something new, check out local artists and small, family-owned businesses first.