How to style your home more sustainably
You’ve mastered recycling paper and plastics, installed a smart energy meter and switched to LED light bulbs to be more eco-friendly but in terms of sustainable living, it’s always possible to increase your efforts at home.
Moving home presents an excellent opportunity to change purchasing habits, especially at a time when many people need new items. The small but conscious choices made can make a big, collective impact on the environment, and there’s no need to compromise on style either.
Independent producers lead the way
Just as we can choose to buy ethically made clothing or organic food, it’s possible to pick paint, furniture and home accessories primarily for their sustainability credentials. This guide to sustainable home accessory purchases by Stylist gives you a flavour of the independent brands that are championing a more eco-friendly approach. Another great place to shop is the online marketplace Etsy, which has an extensive ‘sustainable homewares’ section, brimming with small-scale producers, although the big homeware brands are starting to pull their weight.
Seek out the sustainable ranges
If you’re set on buying from well-known retailers, opt for their products that are earmarked as sustainable. H&M Home has a range called Conscious Choice, with at least 50% of each piece made from more sustainable or recycled materials. John Lewis also carries a number of more sustainable homewares. Try its Charlotte range of sofas and armchairs, with environmentally friendly fillings from 50% recycled plastic and a sustainable manufacturing process, or its classic wool collection of mattresses, which uses waste wool and recycled post-consumer plastics.
Elsewhere, Ikea is challenging what it calls ‘unsustainable consumption’ with an ambitious sustainability pledge. By 2030, it wants to use more renewable and recycled materials, eliminate waste from its operations and change the way it designs products. While this is being achieved, you can take part in Ikea’s buyback and resell initiative, either selling unwanted Ikea furniture back to the store or by buying its goods second hand.
On a budget?
On the theme of second hand – or more glamorously labelled ‘pre-loved’ – moving from one home to another is the perfect time to follow sustainable living’s golden rule: ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’. The re-use part is of particular importance if you find yourself fed up with your current furniture or accessories.
Rather than buy new – perhaps buying cheap and unethically in the process – revamping existing items can help you fall back in love with your dining table, for instance. The act of repainting furniture, changing handles and adding decorative elements is commonly known as ‘upcycling’, and helps prevent the purchase of needless items.
Repurposing an item is another consideration, although it may require ‘thinking outside of the box’. Could an old chest of drawers provide hallway storage? Could an old bookcase be flipped on its side to provide bench seating with storage underneath?
Make your wall style sustainable
Paint has a reputation for being one of the biggest home-related polluters but a new generation of sustainable paints has emerged and they’re readily available too.
From water and mineral based products to 100% biodegradable or recyclable packaging, there is a wide choice of eggshell, matt and gloss paints with lower levels of solvents, heavy metals and volatile organic compounds. You’ll be surprised just how many sustainable brands exist and this paint guide from YourHomeStyle lists many of the best.
You can also buy sustainable wallpaper. Look out for products labelled ‘printed with water-based inks’, recycled paper, FSC certified paper and non-vinyl paper – the latter which can be recycled when removed. Try Little Greene, Farrow & Ball, and Lick for eco-friendly yet elegant approaches to wallpaper and paint.
If sustainable living is high on your agenda, talk to us for a list of properties with excellent EPC ratings, high levels of insulation and the latest heating systems.
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