The guiding principle for decorating sustainably is that your home should be a space you love to be in and the individual pieces you decorate with should be important and interesting enough to contribute to your enjoyment. Choose quality over quantity and resist the urge to impulse buy on trend items that you quickly fall out of love with. In Elle Decor, French interior architect Evane Haziza of ECCE Studio says “The decor must reflect the personality and life of the client. We think that it’s better to have fewer elements in a room, like beautiful vintage pieces or handcrafted objects.” We couldn’t agree more!
Image: ECCE Interior Architecture
It’s easy to decorate sustainably –
Quality over quantity: don’t be tempted by the latest trend. This is especially true for nick nacks and small furniture like side tables and storage. A small number of well placed decorator items and timeless designer pieces will have far more impact in a room than a lot of mismatched clutter. If you add up the value of all those unnecessary items you might find that a designer piece you thought you couldn’t afford becomes reasonable.
Be authentic: knock off design has a negative impact on the livelihood of designers who invest in prototypes and getting their new products to market. Get real – buy authentic design and where possible, support the work of local artisans and designers.
Buy second hand: there are so many reasons why people choose to sell their treasures. Before hitting the shops it’s worth spending some time on online marketplaces like Two Design Lovers to see what bargains can be found. Second hand shopping is not only fun, it’s the best way to reduce your carbon footprint and help solve the landfill problem.
Look for the logos: There are a couple of certifications worth knowing about when it comes to sustainable shopping. One is ‘B-Corp’, which is a measure of a company’s social responsibility. Another is ‘Fair Trade Certified’ which requires a set of standards to be met (as opposed to generic statements like’ ethically sourced’). In the furniture and home decor sphere, these certifications might apply to the materials used (such as wood, fabric, etc) or the standards for labour in the supply chain.
Sell what you no longer need: balance a new purchase by turning your ‘no longer needed items’ into cash. There’s no such thing as ‘away’ when you throw away. Everything has to go somewhere. If you don’t have time or energy for selling, look to marketplaces that can take care of it for you.
Caring about our environmental and social impact is one thing, doing something about it is another. Choosing where to spend your money is one of the easiest ways to make yourself heard.