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Interior Topic: How To Style Our Homes Sustainably

Posted on: 28.02.2022

Sustainability in interior design has (rightfully) risen through the ranks of interior topics.  Thanks in part to lock down and the way we felt in our enclosed spaces and an increase in exposure to living more consciously, to protect both our well-being and environment.  It wasn’t surprising to see Sustainability topping the interior trends to watch for lists in 2022.

“The ecological definition of sustainability originated with the Brundtland Report in 1987, which describes sustainable development as one that satisfies the needs of the present without adversely affecting the conditions for future generations.”

Many of us are consciously (or, even sub-consciously) making more mindful purchases: Do I need it?  Do I love it? Do I like what the brand stands for? It makes the checkout process more rewarding knowing that as well buying a quality product we’ll love for a long time, we’ve done something good for the environment and perhaps also supported an independent local trade.  It’s a massive shift away from the throw away culture to a more considered approach that focuses on long lasting quality.

When it comes to decorating your home, doing it sustainably is pretty easy and it doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant.  Sustainable interior design delivers on gorgeous aesthetics whilst making us feel positive about our spaces.

Albi Sofa + Homeware | Cabyn
Darley Sofa + Homeware | Cabyn

Source Local, UK & Fair-Trade Products

Supporting local or UK makers and businesses where possible reduces long distance travel from overseas.  You can find a lot of UK handmade and sustainable home decor products. They are often one of a kind, or produced in small batches, so they add something unique to your home.

Quality is paramount for independent makers as their trade and reputation depend on it – they can’t often (or even want to) compete with large competitors who mass produce, so they focus on quality and the uniqueness of their product. You can, therefore, buy with more confidence that you are getting a carefully crafted and quality product.

We love HEF Home who source and design one-off and small batch textile cushions and throws intended to be interchanged, layered and added to over time. Check out some of our collaborations with HEF over on our Instagram Reels.

Certain products and materials can’t be sourced in the UK, and in these instances, there are some fab companies who are putting great emphasis on Fair-Trade and sustainability, supporting transparency, equity and respect.  There is often a focus on handmade techniques and traditional skills, working with natural and recycled materials.

Transportation by sea freight, rather than air freight, helps reduce a company’s carbon footprint.  Many will consolidate orders to ship only full containers. It can mean a slightly longer delivery time but if it’s something you love, we’re sure it’s worth the wait! (If you are unsure if the company you are buying from is using Fair Trade and sustainability practices overseas, simply check out their Sustainability and Environmental policies on their website).

Nkuku Home and Lifestyle is one such company working with local artisans, independent businesses, fair trade enterprises and social projects around the world.

Repair and Upcycle

There is nothing more sustainable than repairing, reusing, or repurposing items you already own. If, for example, you have a good quality sofa, but you have simply fallen out of love with the fabric design or colour, consider re-upholstering before splashing out on a new one.

Buying pre-loved items from charity shops, online, or returns and over stocked items from auction, is another great way to buy sustainably.  With so many platforms readily available to us such as Facebook marketplace, eBay, Vinted, there are plenty of treasures to be found. Okay, so it might take some time to find the mid-century sideboard you’re looking for but giving a second life to pre-owned items is not only sustainable but adds style and personality to your home.

Eco Lighting

Lighting makes all the difference in an interior. Luckily, lighting design happens to be one of the most affordable areas in which to make a positive difference. So, opt for energy-efficient fixtures as well as making the most of natural light.

Opting for light colour schemes and lightening up your window treatments to allow for more natural light lessens the need for artificial lighting.  When it comes to artificial lighting, LEDs or composite fluorescent bulbs are best. They last longer and lower energy consumption.

Go Natural

Decorating with sustainable natural materials we know are better for the environment, they are low impact as well as durable and timeless. Implementing more natural colours and materials into your home decor can help create a relaxing, soothing atmosphere that is as much about comfort and sustainability as it is about cultivating wellness.

It’s much easier these days to find eco-friendly items such as rugs made from recycled bottles, recycled glassware, or sustainably sourced wool throws.  (We absolutely love Weaver Green’s textiles and rugs made entirely from recycled plastic bottles).

Mixing natural textures such as wood, concrete, glass, linen create a tactile, warm quality that make a room feel inviting and comfortable.  Not only can they work to create accents and make certain areas stand out, but they can also create depth, interest, and a great feeling of comfort.

Check out our article for more on Layers and Textures

House plants, are always eco-friendly and ideal for any season. We talk about the power of plants a lot in our interior blogs as they are scientifically proven to boost productivity and well-being whilst creating a calm atmosphere that promotes rest and relaxation.

For more ways on how to bring nature into your home check out our article on Biophilia design.

Warm Minimalism

If you prefer pared back design, less clutter and buying less but better, warm minimalism turns up the cosy thermometer on a typical minimalist aesthetic and focuses on comfort over starkness.  Rather than cool whites and greys, warm minimalism consists of rounder shapes, natural materials and any hue from the beige colour palette. Start with off-white, cream and think about adding ochre, beige, light and dark browns through wood and linen.

still stands for a space where one rests from the business of the world, where colours are toned down, and the number of objects is fewer than in most homes.

Curated Maximalism

Curated maximalism best describes a space filled with carefully chosen, sustainably made pieces, yet in much bolder and brighter colours. If you like mixed patterns and saturated pallets, but do not want to overwhelm your place, then go for less but bolder: solid colours, monochrome walls, abstract colourful paintings, eccentric but thoughtfully designed furniture.

In the end, you want it to look well-curated, balanced and modern rather than noisy and confusing: a unique space with a character that reflects its owner’s individuality.

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Feel inspired? Why not share your sustainable, stylish spaces with us and be the inspiration for fellow #cabyncrew.

Love from Emma and Emily


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