Posts Tagged ‘recycle’

Sustainable Ideas for Interior Designers

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

As interior designers, there are many things that we can do to increase sustainability and lower the environmental footprint of clients’ projects.  By selecting our materials thoughtfully and giving careful consideration before buying completely new products, the project can become both green and efficient.  Of course there are the obvious suggestions of using low-VOC paints, installing dimmers on lights to reduce energy usage, using renewable resources, and investing in Energy Star appliances, but there are many other ideas that can make a major impact on carrying out your project as sustainably as possible.

  • Use local manufacturers and vendors.  This is beneficial for several reasons.  When you use local products, the resources that would otherwise be used to transport items from one country, state, or city to another are greatly reduced, as is the time that it takes in shipping.  Shipping materials create pollution in their production and waste in their disposal.  The amount of shipping materials necessary for local shipping is far less than that for cross-country freight.  As we attempt to become less fuel-dependent, it is also an important benefit that far less gas and fuel is used in shipping when you’re just going across town rather than to a different state.  Using local vendors and manufacturers also pumps money into the local economy and helps small businesses.
  • Look to antique stores rather than showrooms full of brand new furniture.  Antiques have already been manufactured so their environmental footprint is now minimal.  If they are not sold, beautiful antiques could end up discarded, adding to overflowing trash dumps.  By shopping antiques, you will again find yourself helping the local economy and reducing the impact that manufacturing has on the environment, while also creating a home full of character and history.
  • Stick to the old adage Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.  Look at a client’s current pieces and see what you can do to make these pieces work in a new room.  Sofas, ottomans, and other upholstered pieces can be recovered.  Wood furniture that is looking a little worn can be painted or refinished.  Take the fabric or trim from drapery and make accent pillows or upholster a vintage chair.  The initial manufacturing process releases so many pollutants and uses  so many materials, that simply repurposing what you have can make a dramatic difference in the carbon footprint of your project.  While the cost may not be substantially different, the sustainable result is.

These ideas will help your project get on the right track towards staying sustainable.  The end result will not only be just as gorgeous as your other designs, but both you and your client will feel great about the lack of  negative impact that your work has on the environment.