Interior design with an eco-friendly edge

There has been much written from the architectural perspective about eco-homes and how to make your home environmentally friendly  but to date, very little has been said about interior design and sustainability and the relationship between the two.

Interior design has been for a long time considered a part of the throw-away society that can be found in many of the developed societies in the late 20th and early 21st centuries and is a trademark of the same society at its worst.

What should come to mind when purchasing for your home is where does the furniture and flooring and soft furnishings come from. Is it wood or plastic, sustainable or a fossil fuel derivative.

What will happen to it when you are finished and you throw it out. Can it be used again or does it have to be thrown out or can it be recycled. Can there be decorative items purchased that were recycled or as they say today, antique furniture the modern hip name for reused or recycled.

What goes into making paint has changed a considerable amount over the past years. Since it became illegal to have lead in paint and recently with the reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOC) you can now buy paint that is water based with real pigment  and thus eliminate the harmful solvents almost entirely.

Also a question to ask your self is where did the raw materials originate. If the products are made locally and do not have to be transported from afar, then there is less impact on the environment because of less transportation. In the UK you could purchase slate instead of importing marble. For wood you could check and see if the wood is accredited with the Forestry Stewardship Council.

You can do a few things that will eliminate energy waste in the house and help to reduce your utility bills. Low energy lamps and other lighting can save close to 80% of power and you can also lower the temperature on the thermostat of the furnace in order to pay less.