How to decorate your home with sustainability in mind

You can create a beautiful and stylish home which improves your health, happiness and wellbeing whilst having an eco-friendly and sustainable approach in mind. Your home can still suit your personal style and embrace the people who live in it whilst doing your bit to create a smaller footprint on the plant. We’ve always tried to invest in how a space feels and the function it needs to serve within our family life, over constantly investing into new trends.  More and more we’ve been thinking about sustainability, the environment and trying to be mindful in the approach to how we design our home.

Choosing furniture which has been sustainably produced or made from recycled materials as well as upcycling and buying vintage pieces is the perfect way to be more sustainable in your decorating. This method has saved us money during our renovation and has made our home feel more personal.

Top tips:

  • Buy local if you can.
  • Consider the source when you make a purchase.
  • Try to buy second hand items.
  • Consider the packaging of the item.
  • Will the item last, can it be used again?
  • Take your time, make wise decisions. Slow and steady wins the race.

Renovating over time, I feel has made the process more considered. We evaluate everything we buy and try to only buy good quality products that we really need. Always thinking about where something has come from, how it has been made and what will happen to it when you have finished using it. Is the product good quality, can you sell it on or give it to someone else when your finished or will it fall apart after a few years and need to go to landfill?

Furniture

When buying furniture, we have tried to buy sustainably designed and sourced new products, which use renewable resources, a low carbon footprint, and which made and packaged in an environmentally conscious way.

We try to keep away from fast fashion and cheap furniture. Choosing good quality solid furniture, means it will last for years, then once we are finished it can be reused by someone else, creating less waste to make sure we leave the world in a healthy state.

Natural cleaning products

Decorating your home will create a lot of mess and dust and you will be forever cleaning. Natural, often plant-based, cleaning products mean less chemicals, artificial fragrances and additives. The tend to be cruelty-free and are better for use around children or pets. Our favourite brands include Method and Cleanology.

Or why not make your own cleaning products? You can easily make your own cleaning solution which will also reduce the amount of toxins in your home by mixing 1 cup of water, a dash of white vinegar and a few drops of essential oils.

Lighting

Something as simple as changing your bulbs can help both save the environment and save you money. Since the beginning of this renovation we have purchased over 20 new lights so far, which is a lot of blubs! LEDs are far more energy efficient than normal bulbs (incandescent or halogen) consuming up to 85% less energy and lasting 20 times longer. Therefore, less waste to as they need replacing less frequently and save money on electricity bills.

Paint

Its important to use paint that is free of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) which are the chemicals responsible the strong smell of paint that I remember so well from my childhood. They can be harmful to people, animals and the environment. Not the kind of stuff you want in your home if you have little ones running around.

Companies like Earth born produce environmentally friendly breathable paints and Farrow and ball in 2010 went completely water based in all their paints, with the whole range now either minimal or low VOC (volatile organic compounds).

Buy second hand.

Searching for pre-loved, vintage, antique or up-cycled designs is a great way to stylishly furnish your home while also being mindful of the environment. Buying second hand furniture can also be really affordable to create a stylish home on a budget.

Not everything in the home needs to be brand new. Mixing old with new can work really well and add a sense of personality to your home. One of my favourite pieces in our home are the vintage finds, my mid-century clock in our bedroom being a firm favourite. I’m currently in the middle of reupholstering a pair of mid-century chairs, which isn’t as difficult as it sounds!

Buy sustainable products

There is definitely a movement with companies at the moment using organic materials, sustainable wood sources, and reducing plastic. There are some impressive products on the market. You can buy everything from flooring made from bamboo to eco-friendly kitchens.

We are big fans of Swoon Editions and have purchased a lot of new furniture from them made from mango wood, all of which is sustainably sourced from India,

Limit the amount of plastic you use for decorating.

It appears there has been an influx of data and information on how harmful plastic and single use items are on the environment. Initially, we were using plastic dust sheets but we soon changed to just using a pair of old curtains. We don’t buy cheap roller sets anymore, we have invested in good quality paint buckets which we wash and reuse, we have been using the same ones for 2 year now.

Its great that Mad about the House is creating an directory of companies that are genuinely trying to ‘Do Less harm’, with everything from paints and flooring to sofas and kitchens, making it easier to make wise choices. This sustainability round-up allows you to see what companies are doing which sometimes they don’t talk about, from using sustainable wood to reducing their plastic packing and waste.

Alongside how we decorate hour home, we have started trying to be more conscious of how we live and we are trying to reduce our overall plastic use. We are not complete eco-warriors and know we are not perfect, but we are trying to do our bit.

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