Lifestyle and Living

Sustainable Interior Design Ideas for Your Home

Jul 2022 | By Christine Brown

We have a deep connection to our home; it reflects who we are and what we value. There is a growing awareness of our eco-footprint and the impact we have as consumers. People are trying to make more thoughtful choices about what they buy. Where is it made? How is it made, and by whom?

However, finding responsibly sourced products for your home can be overwhelming. With vast amounts of information at our fingertips, it’s difficult to know where to start. In this series we will explore technological advancements, share resources, and tips to help you design a sustainable home you love.

Repurpose and Reuse! 

Repurposing your cabinets and armoiresLet’s begin our journey with a well-known concept in sustainable interior design – repurpose and reuse!

Going “green” has always meant more to me than the three “Rs” – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It is rooted in my upbringing. I grew up with parents who taught us to appreciate what we have, never waste, and buy things that last, from businesses who pay fair wages. My folks were always fixing up, so when they decided to buy that new sofa, it was expected to last! To replace it in a couple of years was unheard of, and that wasn’t due to my Scottish father’s frugal nature!

Before you decide to buy new, look around your home, is there anything that can be repurposed? Do you have family who would love to find a new home for that armoire or the bookcase that is too big for their new space? For example, repurpose an armoire to function as a bar, office space or pantry. Check out these great ideas for repurposing your cabinets and armoires.

With minor changes, this armoire has been repurposed as an organized, spacious pantry.

A fresh coat of paint in a beautiful colour will breathe new life into the most tired cabinet or table and chairs.

Low and Zero VOC Paints for Your Project 

Milk and chalk paint are healthier alternativesUse low or zero VOC (volatile organic compound) paint or stains. VOCs are responsible for that new paint smell we dislike so much. These unstable chemicals let off gasses that are harmful to people and the environment1.

Milk paint and chalk paint also serve as healthier alternatives. They are water-based, non-toxic, and more environmentally friendly than other paints. You can learn more about low and zero VOC paints here.

Reuse that Beat up Sofa or Chair! 

Recover that beat up sofaEco-conscious consumers should avoid “fast furniture.” Instead recover that beat up sofa that fido has so thoroughly enjoyed!

The EPA estimates that 9 million tons of furniture are tossed to the landfill every year.  That is not only wasteful, but also a poor investment. Like my parents, I bought a well-made sofa that has lasted 20 years, and it is still going strong. I reupholstered it in an organic cotton and throw the pillow covers in the wash when they need freshening up.

Look for sustainably produced fabrics that meet the GOTS Global Organic Textile Standard, OekoTex Standard 100 or OekoTex MADE IN GREEN.

GOTS has strict standards for the supply chain ensuring no harm comes to workers or the environment. This short GOTS video clip illustrates the entire process. We will explore certifications later in this series.

To learn more about healthy materials for your upholstery project, check out NaturalUpholstery.com resources.

Shop Locally for Previously Owned Products 

Shop previously owned productsAdd character and interest with a previously owned item that is right for your space. Find amazing buys at your local thrift shop, Kijiji or vintage, and antique shops. Online auctions are a wonderful place to find pieces or visit the in-person auctions for a little more excitement!

This old blanket box is great for storage in the hall or foyer. It looks beautiful and is the perfect place to sit and remove your muddy boots.

 


I hope you find this information useful and inspiring. I look forward to sharing more information, resources, and tips next month!

Christine Brown | Hello@bobbiebroon.ca | Christine is the founder of Bobbie Broon Home and an accredited member of DDA.
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References & Sources

Giddy Upcycled
The Spruce – Low VOC Paint vs. No VOC Paint

  1. Cheng, Wen-Hsi, et al. Quantification of VOC Emissions from Paint Spraying on a Construction Site Using Solid Phase Microextraction DevicesJournal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A, vol 52, no. 12, 2017, pp. 1158–63. doi:10.1080/10934529.2017.1356208

Architectural Digest – The Fast Furniture Problem
Global Organic Textile Standard
STANDARDs by OEKO-TEX®
NaturalUpholstery.com

Photo of Pantry Thebespokefulfurniturecompany.co.uk
Photo of Table and chairs Hutomo Abrianto on Unsplash
Photo of Sofa by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
Photo of Blanket box by Spacejoy on Unsplash

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