Post by Stacey Walker. Stacey mostly works behind the scenes for Walker Woodworking, managing day to day operations, and marketing. Stacey has helped many clients create their dream space.
Top Sustainable Materials for 2023
We cherish our homes as the place where we feel comfortable, find refuge after a difficult day, or gather with those we love. Our home is meant to be the culmination of everything we cherish which is why designers work tirelessly to create the perfect environment. Recently though there has been a movement to rethink how we design so that we can minimize our carbon footprint. Interest in sustainability has risen in recent years as homeowners and designers seek for ways to reduce waste and lower the environmental impact. One way is selecting sustainable materials for use in our home products. From furnishings to accent pieces, there are certain items that are more eco-friendly and come with benefits for you and your family. Let’s talk about the sustainable design approach and the top five eco-friendly materials you can incorporate into your home.
What is sustainable interior design?
Sustainable interior design is about consciously designing with as little negative impact to the environment as possible. It is also about the health and wellness of those who live there as it tends to create a warm and comfortable environment. Its main focus is reducing waste so there is an emphasis on reusing items such as reclaimed wood and even furniture pieces as well as creating a healthy atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.
Seen as a sustainable material because it is a by-product from the meat industry, leather is a versatile design element that can be utilized in several ways. Of course one of the main uses is in furniture whether that is a full sofa set or just a comfy recliner but designers are broadening their uses for it. There are some hardware companies such as Belwith Keeler, that are incorporating leather into their pulls which works well with a more rustic style and gives a unique touch to the overall look in the room. Others have taken strips and turned it into an amazing rug that looks amazing in multiple areas in the home such as the living room and even man caves for that extra masculine touch. Leather has a modern, sleek, and chic vibe that works with a wide variety of spaces within the home and is durable at the same time. Another bonus is the varying colors from light to dark. If you want a classic look, leather will deliver every time.
While maybe not something that immediately comes to mind when considering sustainable materials it certainly is one of the oldest around. Obviously it is mainly seen in textile such as clothing and rugs which can be sprinkled throughout your home. Wool rugs are a great choice especially in high traffic areas in the home since they are resilient and can endure a lot of wear and tear which keeps it looking vibrant for a long time. This means you can have a rug that doesn’t need to be replaced every couple of years and it can be moved around since the impressions from furniture and such are not permanent due to its makeup. Certain wool has also been known to dampen sounds as well as purify indoor air giving it two more reasons to go on your list of materials. Pillows and furniture upholstery can benefit from wool as it is more resistant to liquid giving you more time to clean up a spill before it leaves a water stain. Wool is a tried and true sustainable material that not only looks good but is good for your whole family.
Like wool, linen is an old material that has been used for multiple needs down through the years and is 100% sustainable since the entire flax plant (where linen is made from) can be utilized with practically no waste. Its uses for the home include upholstery, window treatments, bedding, and accent pieces. It is a fabric that looks amazing even if it has a few minor wrinkles in it as it adds an organic feel plus it is durable making it the go-to choice for comfy yet stylish. There are also several benefits to using linen such as its hypoallergenic and antibacterial qualities which is why people enjoy using it for bedding. One other notable feature is the fact that linen is a breathable fabric meaning it allows air to pass through to the body making circulation a guarantee which is great for dealing with summer heat, another reason to use it for bedding. It is a great choice for upholstery projects because it is a tough fabric as well as washable. Linen is a beautiful sustainable material that will bring a classic and cozy vibe to any area of your home.
A biodegradable natural fabric, cotton is an eco-friendly option but sometimes the way it is processed can influence this aspect. Organic cotton is a more sustainable option since it reduces waste in the landfill as well as pollution. Cotton works well throughout the home in linens, window treatments, accent elements such as pillows and upholstery. A versatile material that can integrate into any style, designers enjoy using cotton to create beautiful and comfortable spaces for their clients. Durable and affordable are two extra bonuses to cotton that broaden its range of versatility plus the wide variety of colors and patterns means it represents the full spectrum of client’s likes and preferences. As you can see, cotton goes far beyond your favorite t-shirt and can bring another eco-friendly touch to your home.
Although metal is a non-renewable resource, meaning that once it is mined it cannot grow back, it can be recycled into a wide variety of objects which is a redeemable feature. When designing with metal the possibilities are endless for clients and designers alike. Light fixtures are using metal, including recycled, to create stunning pieces that illuminate a space with stunning brilliance. This material can be also scattered throughout the home in various ways such as furniture pieces and even artwork. Various finishes and even the amount it has been polished, allow for diversified uses in design styles as well. Metal is also extending its influence beyond accent pieces and integrating into kitchen cabinet design as metal doors are paired with traditional materials like wood and glass. This adds a touch of modern or contemporary vibes to the design. If you want a material that has great characteristics and versatility, metal is definitely one that ought to be considered.
Top sustainable materials
Sustainability is a great goal when designing your home and with more manufacturers producing more eco-friendly products, it is easier to make your space look great while minimizing your ecological footprint. If you are looking for more ideas on how to incorporate these and other sustainable materials into your home design browse places like Pinterest and Houzz to see what designers are creating for their clients. You can also search for sustainable home products and see what would work for your project. We promise that it is possible to have a fabulous home design that can have a positive impact on the environment at the same time. Our design team is ready to assist you in creating the home of your dreams in a sustainable way!
The Walker Woodworking Showroom is located at Greenbrook Design.