Making Design Sustainable

Leaving a lasting impression

In 2021, doing our bit for the environment is more important than ever. But how can we all reduce, reuse, recycle and restore for truly sustainable interior design?

Sustainability. It’s a word that’s not easy to escape today, not least in the world of interiors. Examples of sustainable design abound in all directions, ranging from the practical to the esoteric. Responding to the unfavourable spotlight recently shone on fast fashion, designers and makers are seizing upon the opportunity to create designs and products that underline their environmental credentials.

It should be relatively easy to take a more sustainable route when decorating a home by only buying and using natural materials such as wood, marble, ceramic, linen and wool. It’s vital that the natural resources we use are sourced and manufactured appropriately to keep to the 'what we take out, we put back in’ philosophy. This kind of circular thinking is very much in keeping with our times.

On a practical level, telling clients as much as possible, as clearly as possible, allows them to play a part in making projects more responsible and sustainable.

The idea of reuse is very much ’a thing' of the moment. Today’s impulsive, disposable culture is the number one enemy of sustainability. A key trend is the use of ‘intelligent’ materials, such as worktops made of recycled waste, including plastic or glass. Many companies at the forefront of this movement will offer a service of reclaiming their materials when they are no longer wanted, so that they can recycle them all over again.

Another way to take a green approach to decorating a home is to buy vintage or antique pieces - items that have lived through the generations. Something that’s around now in a second-hand or vintage shop will be more unique as well as ticking the environmentally friendly box. For designers it should always be about making the best use of what already exists.

Assessing or reimagining what we already have is the best place to start incorporating sustainable design at home. It’s about employing the mantra our grandparents used to live by: ‘Buy well, buy less, buy once’.