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Last modified: 2021-05-05 | Approximate reading time 4 mins
Over the last few years, homeowners are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of making environmentally responsible interior design choices. In a world of convenience and waste, it’s easy to fall into the trap of adorning your home with furniture and materials that are damaging to our planet.
The decisions made to build, remodel or decorate our homes have a huge impact on the environment, and thus, we should be thinking about how to incorporate sustainable interior design whenever possible.
Let’s take a look at some sustainable interior design principles and look for ways to build a better future starting in our homes.
Energy efficiency is a hot topic these days, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it tops the list of sustainable design practices. Overuse of energy is directly contributing to climate change and homes and buildings are a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
So let’s speak to two of the most crucial interior design factors that affect energy efficiency: heating and lighting. Plenty of air escapes through our windows, which requires us to use more power to heat and cool our homes. Thus, sustainable design practice is to make sure you have high-quality, well-insulated windows. Further, using curtains or drapes is an energy-efficient way to keep interior temperatures comfortable.
When it comes to lighting, consider painting your interior walls with light or soft colours, as they reflect more natural light and will require less artificial lighting. Another consideration may be installing home automation to remotely control lighting and heating systems, as this will help you and your loved ones to use these things more economically.
When it comes to materials and products, it’s crucial to choose those with the lowest environmental impact. Although organic materials such as wood, wool and natural stone seem obvious, we also need to consider how to treat natural resources responsibly. We’d recommend choosing materials that renew themselves quickly and efficiently, such as bamboo.
Another note is that you should opt for materials that are extracted in an environmentally responsible way. Make sure to do some research in advance of purchasing or using materials in order to be certain of certifications about any materials origins.
We should also mention that materials must be evaluated as dependent on their life cycle from extraction, production, transportation, processing, as well as how they’re eventually discarded.
It’s important for architects, designers and homeowners alike to consider the lifespan of materials and products they’re working with in their interior design. This is especially true of elements inside the home that experience a lot of wear, such as our floors. Designing a space that is durable and timeless will help homeowners resist the urge to renovate every few years and this will keep excess materials out of landfills. The easiest way to achieve this is to work with quality materials, as well as functionality over materials with lots of frills or embellishments.
Another important consideration is designing a space that has the power and potential to change. It’s natural for the tastes and needs of a person to change over their lifetime, and thus, an interior space should be able to reflect this and adapt. When certain elements of a room can be easily adapted, then there’s no need to demolish the entire home and start over.
Now, there are many options on the market that allow for the potential for change: walls that can move or be modified, multi-functional or mobile furniture that can shift and change, modular flooring and furniture, etc. Investing in sturdy, durable elements in a flexible interior space is a sustainable practice. A final note on this point is to think about surfaces and materials that are easy to clean, in order to avoid needing an abundance of cleaning products, as these can be quite harmful to our environment.
Recently, it has become clear that our interior environments are crucial to our health and wellbeing. We spend plenty of time indoors, whether at home, at work or in school and stores. Thus, the health of interior space should be considered at all stages of its design. There are several ways to design to benefit mental and physical health, and this includes air quality, ventilation, lighting and sound/acoustics.
Indoor air quality is paramount to our health and certain materials and products are toxic for us to interact with and ingest. Furniture or materials treated with these chemicals will release dangerous toxins into the air. It’s crucial to design and renovate with materials that have low VOCs. Additionally, air should be able to circulate around the room freely. Therefore, a layout that allows for this in interior spaces, as well as accessible doors and windows, is important.
Sound is another serious factor in our physical, mental and emotional health. Too much noise from external sources bleeding inside can have a pronounced effect. If you’re living in a high-traffic area, consider ways to dampen sounds, such as using rugs or carpets.
For more information on interior soundproofing, check out our article on the subject.
Lastly, natural light is of great benefit to physical and emotional health. We mentioned this in the first section, but think it’s important enough to reiterate. Natural light helps to reduce stress and has a calming effect on our bodies. When designing an interior space, look for ways to incorporate natural light or elements from the outdoors, such as plants. This will allow for a deeper connection to our natural environment while reminding us of the importance of sustainable design practices.
RenoQuotes.com can help you get quotes for your sustainable renovation project If you submit your project to us, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will receive quotes from companies that are specialized in home renovations.
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