Living sustainably and making environmentally friendly choices in everyday life can feel like a big change if you have not done it before, but it does not have to be as difficult as you might think.
More and more people today choose to make conscious choices for the sake of the environment and hopefully this is a trend that will continue. People are tired of mass production and more and more people today choose to buy used instead of new.
When thinking climate-smart, it may be easy to forget that you have to change all parts of your consumption and that also includes the interior. The environmental aspect of interior design includes everything from how gentle the production of the interior is to the environment, to how climate-smart the transport is, and also that the product must be as durable as possible to increase its service life-span.
Below are eight tips and tricks that will make it easier to decorate in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.
1. Reuse and recycle
Like most of us, you may have had time to collect a lot of furniture and interior details over the years. Go through what you already have and repair and renew before you buy something new. Maybe you can change the sofa fabrics rather than buy a brand new one, or why not update the seats on your kitchen chairs? Give your existing interior as long a life as possible to reduce the environmental impact, and if you have a piece of furniture that is still useful but that you no longer need; donate it to a thrift store.
2. Buy second hand
Do you still need to add something to your decor – start by looking at second hand stores or flea markets. Also try checking out websites that sell used items, where you can easily search for exactly what you are looking for without having to go to a large number of stores.
3. Think once more
Are you planning on buying new? Make it conscious. Think about your material; where is it produced and how? Make it a habit to check out different materials, manufacturing methods and origins and do your homework so you know the pros and cons between the different options. Also consider choosing furnishings with a long service life. A sofa with removable upholstery can be washed and updated easily!
4. Material selection
This is related to the previous point; select local materials. For example, in the Nordic countries, light woods such as oak, birch and pine are both easily accessible and common. Choose organic natural materials when you want to shop in an environmentally friendly way, such as certified cotton or linen. If you want materials such as leather, it may be wise to check out how it has been produced and treated. If you are going to buy plastic, preferably choose the recycled version.
5. Keep track of certifications
There are a whole abundance of different certifications and labels and it can be difficult to keep track of their differences. It is therefore important to read about the different labels and what they mean. When looking at textiles, keep an eye out for Gots- och Oeko-Tex 100-certificates. If you are unsure of any label or want to know the origin of a certain interior detail, do not be afraid to ask in the store!
6. Let it take time
Decorating sustainably and environmentally friendly usually takes a little longer, but it will show in your interior if you let it take time and prioritize quality and real craftsmanship before quantity. Try to get the interior in steps, live in it and get a feel for what you really need and what fits into your home. You seldom need as much as you initially might think.
7. Replace plastics
It is no secret that plastic is bad both for the environment and for us humans, so trying to replace many of the plastics in your home is a good change for both you and the environment. Replace the plastic with stainless steel, wood and glass.
8. Careful renovation
Sustainable interior design is very much about starting from what you already have, even when it comes to the house itself. Try to renovate without tearing out and replacing. New paint and new kitchen doors, or new wallpaper and a freshly oiled floor can in many cases make a big enough difference that a complete renovation is no longer needed.