Sustainability is no longer a trend, but a way of life for many home and corporate environments. Green-building initiatives continue to rise and property developments in North America strive for LEED certification for both residential properties and office buildings. Our firm operates in the most eco-friendly city in Canada and thus we stay close to trends in eco-conscious interior design. We know that you are looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint without sacrificing the design and decor of your space. Thankfully the two methodologies are not contrary to one another. Today we look at existing new trends in sustainable design that you can apply to your space to enhance the look and feel while feeling great about your place on the planet.
5 Eco-Conscious Interior Design and Decorating Trends for Your Space
1. Renewable Resources in Wall and Floor Finishing
Renewable resources are the key to sustainable design. The bulk of materials used when outfitting a space is often relegated to the floors and walls. Given your penchant for sustainable design, you likely favor hardwood over tiles and artificially-made elements. Advances in the use of renewable wood has made sustainable floor and wall finishing a viable practice. Bamboo in particular is leading the way. Bamboo reaches maturity between three and seven years whereas other commonly used woods can take anywhere from two decades to over a century to be harvested. Recent advancements allow better manipulation of width and overall design while the use of eco-friendly stains can give it a darker tone to match your preferred look. Cork is also trending as a renewable finishing material. Harvested as bark from living cork trees, extraction never harms the tree itself. Cork offers one of the most unique takes on wall finishing, providing an organically patterned design that will leave your guests in awe. A room where floors, walls, and frames are outfitted in renewable wood makes a positive aesthetic and eco-conscious statement.
2. Reduced Dependency on Electricity Through Natural Lighting
Reducing the need for energy consumption in a space is also imperative to sustainable design. This is being accomplished by maximizing natural light. Designers are paying close attention to window and skylight installations and how the natural position of the sun provides natural light throughout the four seasons. The National Institute of Building Sciences recommends daylighting as a part of an integrated design approach to create an eco-friendly interior. In addition to window/skylight installations, motorized blinds and shutters (made from sustainable materials) are being used to manipulate natural light and reduce dependency on artificial illumination.
3. Reclaimed Wood in Furnishing
The use of reclaimed wood has been one of the biggest trends in furnishing for the past couple of years and shows no signs of slowing down. Tables, chairs, desks and countertops are being crafted from reclaimed wood. The concept looks great in all sorts of spaces, from industrial-themed lofts to cottage-styled homes. Not only is this an eco-friendly practice, it offers the most customized experience as no piece is ever the same. It is the imperfection of each piece that makes it so attractive. Homes and offices alike are embracing this trend and the health of the planet is better for it.
4. Repurposed Anything
image: Keen Garage store in Portland via Allegro Design
Interior designers and decorators are taking an eco-conscious and imaginative leap by repurposing items not traditionally thought of as furnishing or decorative pieces. This concept known as up-cyclying is all the rage. Shows such as Picker Sisters on the Lifetime Network showcased a pair of interior designers canvassing the nation’s barnyards, abandoned warehouses, and industrial auctions for items that could be refinished, refurbished, and/or repurposed as a centerpiece or other statement-making accent. An old barrel or oil drum can be outfitted to serve as a functional yet eye-catching table for the home. Rustic car parts can be turned into benches for offices or commercial spaces. The possibilities are truly endless. Once again you benefit by having a one-of-a-kind decorative item in your home or business while reducing waste.
5. Living Walls
The great outdoors is making an appearance inside as one of the most unique interior design initiatives of its kind. Living walls (or green walls) are growing in popularity. The concept involves partial or complete coverage of a wall with greenery that includes a vegetative growth stimulator, such as soil, and depending upon how expansive, an integrated water delivery system. Benefits are not only aesthetic. Living walls introduce a natural way to purify the air and optimize thermal fluctuations in your space which can serve to reduce your energy expenditure. It can help property developers gain LEED credits and helps reduce stress levels for you (in the home) or your employees (in the office).
If you’re looking for sustainable interior design concepts to apply to your Lower Mainland BC space contact our Greater Vancouver interior design centre at your earliest convenience.