Over time, we have realized that more and more people are getting conscious about healthy food, healthy lifestyle, and more recent, healthy interiors. When the world is moving towards globalization and digital age, environmentalist and design aficionados are discussing sustainability and healthy interiors. We often hear the term green design, sustainable furniture and so on. So what exactly is sustainable interior design? And how can we create healthy interiors using it?
What is sustainable interior design?
Sustainable design focuses on creating healthy interior spaces, using an eco-friendly approach, which minimizes negative environmental impacts and reduce the use of non-renewable materials.
When people talk about going green or sustainable, they focus more on the technical aspects such as saving electricity and water, installing solar panels or minimizing waste. These are definitely important but there are more design and décor aspects which need to be considered in a sustainable approach, such as materials used in homes, textiles used for furniture, indoor air quality etc.
Let us discuss this here.
Using organic and natural materials
Natural and organic materials have sparked a global interest. Architects, engineers and designers are opting for more natural and organic materials to create eco-friendly spaces. Materials such as wood, bamboo, cork, natural stone and concrete are used for flooring, walls and furniture. One has to ensure that the wood used is LEED certified so it has a low impact on the environment. Designers and furniture manufacturing companies are using reclaimed wood for luxury furniture or recycled plastic to produce vintage style furniture, accessories and rugs that helps in reducing wastage.
Upholstery fabrics include organic or recycled cotton, hemp, linen, jute, bamboo fabric and recycled synthetics consisting of polyester and nylon, or lyocell fabric made from wood fibers.
Locally sourced materials are widely encouraged as it has a positive impact on environment by reducing the cost of transportation, wastage and pollution.
Selecting the right paint
Choosing the right paint finish for your interior space is paramount. VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) products are harmful to the health. Regular paints may contain high level of VOC therefore it is wise to opt for paints and finishes that have low or zero VOC for your walls and furniture. Today many companies have started manufacturing zero VOC water based paints that are absolutely nontoxic and environmentally viable.
Another sustainable design practice is to incorporate light painted walls that create reflective surfaces to bounce back more light, thus reducing the cost of artificial lighting.
Choosing effective lighting and window treatments
Natural lighting is one of the most important factors to consider. A space with more open windows that allow lots of natural lighting to seep in, can help reduce the cost of artificial lighting. Windows should be properly insulated to keep out the summer heat and winter chills. Having effective window treatments with proper insulation such as controllable venetian blinds or simple sheers, can help you maximize the natural lighting and temperature in your space. Decide on the space layout and furniture placement based on the wind direction and sun path to create more efficient interiors.
Carpets and rugs are great flooring alternatives. We usually consider carpets and rugs as decorative elements but they are known to be excellent thermal insulations and help capture 10% of the room’s heat.
Where artificial lighting is concerned, fluorescent and LED energy efficient lights help save on the electricity.
Bring in lots of indoor plants and create green landscapes, that can be aesthetically pleasing and help to control the indoor air quality in a space. Plants act as natural air filters, and they help to purify the air by producing oxygen. Landscaping helps to contribute in climate control as well, by trapping the heat outside.
There are ample ways to create a sustainable interior space. Having a minimalistic design approach or rustic style furniture can be advantageous too. We hope that this article inspires you to create a healthy and eco-friendly dream home.