There’s no reason a home shouldn’t look beautiful while also benefiting the environment, and achieving this doesn’t have to be hard. All it takes is a little dedication, some extra consideration and a splash of creative flair.
Making a home more environmentally friendly doesn’t have to involve a huge team and a big budget, it can be as simple as using sustainable natural materials, or focusing on making the most out of natural light. When it comes to environmentally friendly interior design, it’s all in the details. You need to consider what the best choices will be for the aesthetics of the home as well as the best choices for your wider environment.
Here we show you 9 ways you can improve the look and function of your home while staying conscious of the environment.
#1 – Use Furniture Made from Natural Materials
Ditching those plastic chairs and tables for wooden counterparts will help bring a sense of personality and warmth to a home. Buying antiques or furniture made from wood or other sustainable materials is also a wonderful way of making your space more environmentally friendly.
It is worth noting that just because an item of furniture is made from wood, it doesn’t automatically mean it is good for the environment. For example, medium-density fibreboard is made from compressed shavings and sawdust which are bonded together with synthetic glues and resin that often contain formaldehyde, a potential allergen to humans and carcinogen to animals. In contrast, good quality wooden furniture will be held together by joinery, reducing the use of VOC heavy adhesives.
#2 – Go for Natural Textiles
Using natural materials for soft furnishings is recommended too. For example, a woollen rug has a multitude of benefits; it is hypoallergenic, biodegradable, recyclable, odour and dust resistant, moisture absorbent and anti-bacterial. It is also regarded as one of the most flame-resistant materials on the market. Choosing natural materials over synthetic fabrics will help to ensure that these items don’t eventually end up on landfill.
#3 – Let in the Light
Every interior designer will attest to the fact that lighting is one of the fundamental aspects of interior design. Making the most out of the natural light will bring many benefits, from improving ambience to reducing electricity bills. And if you’re living in a darker location but looking to make the most out of your widows, then avoid heavy curtains and instead opt for shutters. On a more technical side, investing in double glazing is a very effective way of making windows more energy efficient as it will prevent excess air leakage, reducing heating bills.
#4 – Decorate with Plants
House plants will not only make a house look more beautiful, they help filter out pollution from the air and provide more oxygen. Some of the best plants for aesthetic and purification purposes include peace lilies, aloe vera, Chinese evergreen, rubber pant, snake plant and spider plants.
#5 – External Improvements
Many people think that “green” homes need to be brand new. While this is this most effective way of ensuring a building is neutral, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of ways to significantly improve the environmental compatibility of older homes. Companies such as Watara Homes can Help you make improvements that are more environmentally sustainable.
#6 – Solar Panels
Investing in solar hot water is one of the best ways to make your home more environmentally friendly while saving money on hot water bills. Luckily, solar hot water systems don’t have to impact the look of the house given that the split solar system and heat pump will sit comfortably in the roof space, (and they take up very little space as well.)
#7 – Use Sustainable Materials
For anyone planning an external renovation, this is the perfect opportunity to use sustainable materials given they are often just as effective. Sustainable alternatives are available for most parts of home renovations. For example, eco-friendly insulating materials include sheep wool, cellulose (recycled newspaper) or wood fibre – all of which can be reused, recycled and are fully biodegradable. And if you’re looking to install new wood anywhere, why not consider using bamboo or reclaimed wood instead?
#8 – Make the Most out of the Outdoor Space
Whether we have a garden or just enough space for a couple of pot plants outside the front door, introducing more greenery is a great eco-friendly way of rejuvenating any outdoor space. For those with very little space, climbing plants like wisteria, ivy, or climbing hydrangeas are a really beautiful option.
Introducing even just a few plants around the home will benefit the natural environment, since they produce oxygen, sink carbon, play a vital role in water cycle regulation and provide habitats for animals. Ideally, it’s best to stick to planting native species as they can will thrive much better in the environment and require less use of harmful chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides.