As we become more aware of the impact our daily lives have on the environment, we are constantly thinking about how we can make a conscious effort to be more sustainable when designing our homes.
Credit -Trouva, Ferm LivingHerringbone Blanket In Cotton Lambswool Off White
One amazing design principle to follow is inspired by , which is the idea of creating a home that stands the test of time and curating a space with a connection to nature. This is something that we specialise in at Harleen Mclean Interiors, where we offer a bespoke biophilic design service. Using natural, honest materials that appeal to the senses, and considered well- crafted objects to last. We always believe that instead of constantly buying into new trends, you should invest in how the space feels to be in. As, we have been thinking more about sustainability and how we can be more mindful in our approach to home design and décor.
Credit - Robinson Home Living
At Harleen Mclean Interiors we believe in building a sustainable home in a slower, more considered way, evaluating what you really need and buying less, but better. Start by thinking about your home’s eco footprint as a whole, whilst paying attention to all the little details that together build up to make a bigger difference.
This may seem daunting, but start off with a few little changes in your home like:
- Using less plastic
- Buying local
- Shopping at farmers markets
- Using natural products
We all have a way to go but small, simple steps are a start to making big changes. You don’t need to feel guilty if you are not the world’s best eco-warrior and aren’t doing everything perfectly. Every little step helps!
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So, here are six simple ways to create a more sustainable, greener home through interior design and decorating.
1. Choose eco-friendly paint
Eco paints are improving all the time and creating a sustainable home starts with foundations – the walls of your home. Who knew that picking a paintbrush could have so many pitfalls? Standard paints tend to contain a toxic mix of chemicals, solvents, formaldehydes and high levels of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that are harmful to our health and release pollutants into the environment. Some are that pungent you have to open a window just to avoid getting a headache.
Credit - BERT & MAY PAINT
You’ll struggle to find a paint that is 100% natural and sometimes you’ll find traces of VOC levels which are the result to manufacturing processes and some synthetic chemicals are needed to keep paint fresh and usable. Eco alternatives tend to be water-based and contain low VOC content; they use natural binders such as clay and seed oils, and plant dyes and minerals and earth pigments to add colour and hue.
Earthborn was the first UK company to hold the EU Ecolabel for Indoor paints and Varnishes. They have over 72 colours to choose from, they create eco-friendly paints that are formulated without oils, vinyl and acrylic. Their lead product, Claypaint is a clay-based emulsion that’s breathable, fast drying and has no nasty odours. But their Ecopro range is designed especially for the trade, offering an environmentally friendly and economical alternative to commercial and trade paints.
Credit - Earthborn Paints Bobble Hat
Credit -Earthborn Paints, Smidgen
Credit - EarthBorn Paints , Kissing Gate
Paint Fact: breathable paint is perfect for period properties as it allows moisture to easily flow through the surface, reducing condensation, mildew and mould.
Credit - Farrow and Ball Blue Gray, No.91
Other amazing brands that offer low to minimal VOC content paints are Farrow & Balland Little Greene. Farrow & Ball’s paints are produced in Dorset and are water-based and low odour. Their wallpaper is sourced from responsible sources. Whereas, Little Greene’s (Manchester based) oil-based paints have been reformulated using sustainable vegetable oils and the pigments they use to print on wallpapers are completely non- toxic. Although, it doesn’t just have to be about the paint as 50% of Farrow & Ball’s packaging uses recycled materials. Little Greene’s paint tins are made using over 50% recycled steel and can be recycled again which is amazing!
Credit -Little Greene Paint & Paper AQUAMARINE MID (284)
Credit -Little Greene Paint & Paper , COOL ARBOUR (232)
2. Invest in furniture built to last
You can use all the FSC certified wood and sustainable materials you want, but if you are in a constant cycle of throwing away furniture and replacing it with the new, then it’s not very sustainable at all. As 22 million pieces of furniture are thrown out every year in the UK.
One of the easiest ways to become more sustainable is to carefully consider what you buy and invest in long lasting built furniture rather than designs that fall apart after a few months. You want pieces that are strong, durable, well – built and well crafted.
Berlin based design company Ekomia, are an eco-conscious furniture brand based in Berlin. This brand has an amazing ethos as all of their products are made with sustainably sourced woods. They use solvent free glazes and oils from 100% natural ingredients. All of their product are directed from manufacture straight to customer, whilst offering plastic free packing. This is great way to incorporate sustainable design into your home, whilst investing is long lasting statement furniture.
Credit - © ekomia
Another amazing sustainable company is Solidwool who make furniture from composite materials made from natural wool and 30% natural bio-resins. The wool that they use is locally sourced from Herdwick sheep in the Lake District. The bio-resins used claim minimum 50% reduction on carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions, which is great for the environment and global warming.
Credit - Solid Wool, Hembury Chair
3. Use natural cleaning products or make your own
So now that you have painted your walls and your furniture is in place, you’ll now want to keep it in good condition by keeping it all clean. Using natural (plant-based) cleaning products means less chemicals, artificial fragrances and additives within your home. These products tend to be cruelty-free and will be safe for both the family and pets at home!
You can even have a go at making your own surface cleaner with lemon peel.
A great natural cleaning company that we have come across is Tincture, they create natural cleaning and lifestyle products developed and manufactured in Norfolk, UK. All of their products use 100% natural ingredients such as essential oils, including antimicrobial silver which ensures that the formulation and bottle remain bacteria free. Their wonderful bottles are recyclable, and their packaging is biodegradable. Check out their website, where they have some interesting research into the air in our homes and workplaces. People will be shocked to learn that on average it is 3-5 times more polluted than directly outside.
Credit - © Tincture London
4. Swap to sustainable LED lighting
A simple way to be more sustainable at home, is to switch over to LED Lighting. LEDS are way more energy efficient than incandescent or halogen bulbs, they consume up to 85% less energy and last 20 times longer. Which means less light bulb changing!! Did you know that from the 1st September in 2018 there was a ban put in place on importing and producing new halogen bulbs in the EU to help cut carbon emissions, this is great news for the environment. LED bulbs also need replacing less frequently and they can help you reduce your electricity bill. Estimates have shown that a typical halogen bulb uses £11 of electricity a year compared to an LED which only uses £2 worth. So why not change to LED?
Credit - TALA ENERGY LTD.
LED lighting doesn’t mean that you have to compromise with style, the brand Tala offer a range of testament lights, decorative and sculptural pendants that have hand- assembled components. Check out their Porcelain Range !
Credit - PORCELAIN RANGE, TALA ENERGY LTD.
This company has an amazing ethos behind it, as they are British brand with London- based Studio founded by the premise that ‘good design can help mitigate climate change’. They create sustainable LED lighting and devoted to researching new technologies, materials and methods that have less environmental impacts. One of the main reasons that we love this brand, is they donate a percentage of their revenue to reforestation programmes in the UK and around the world (For every 200 units sold, 10 trees are planted).
Credit - FEATURE RANGE, Statement style, TALA ENERGY LTD.
5. Buy less, Buy better – shop local and independent
Credit - © By Mölle
In order to have a more sustainable home, it’s all about making more considered choices. An amazing brand that we have discovered offers this, they are called By Molle. They create sustainable textiles and artisan crafted, quality goods, made by hand from natural materials in their studio in Dalfsen, the Netherlands. They create bespoke quilts and recycled denim throws to linen towels and napkins. All of there products are made to order.
Other independent companies that we have come across are Austin Austin, who create beautiful organic and vegan products in recycled bottles. Aerende for ethical homewares created in the UK by people facing social challenges.
Credit - © Austin Austin Organic
Credit - © Aerende .Wooden Clothes Horse
6. Reuse, recycle and buy second-hand
One person’s trash is another person’s treasure after all. So why not have a look around your home to see what you already have. Think about what you could upcycle and give a new look to rather than just buying more. Mixing the old with the new is great way to add personal touches to your home. When shopping for new interior items, why not take look at your local charity shop, antique markets or even on eBay or Facebook local, you’ll be surprised what amazing treasure’s you can find there. This is a great way to add timeless pieces to your home to tell a story and has a meaning.
Credit - Ikea
Also, take things that you don’t need any more to the charity shops, swap books and items with friends, take old towels and sheets to recycling banks. Even upcycle old furniture and buy second-hand where you can. Charity shops are great way to help declutter the home. The British Heart Foundation offer a free furniture collection and take all sorts of things, including mattresses but they must have their fire labels attached.
Credit - Harleen Mclean Interiors
If you are considering up-cycling some furniture Harleen McLean Interiors offers an upholstering service. So please get in contact for any inquires !
Let us know what your tips are for creating a more sustainable home?