If you’re thinking of giving your interior space a facelift before heading into the winter season but want to go about it in the most eco-friendly way possible, Toronto-based interior designer Rebecca Hay has some inspirational home design ideas that prioritize style and sustainability.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Before you start shopping around online or in stores, take a look around your home—you may have overlooked an existing piece that you can transform or repurpose to freshen up your space without adding to your carbon footprint.
Prioritize eco-friendly paint
Traditional paints create a plastic barrier on walls which traps air and leads to mold and other pesky problems. Eco-friendly paints only use natural ingredients, so they’re better for the environment and are breathable which makes it far less likely for mold to start growing beneath the surface.
To determine whether a paint company is truly eco-friendly, look for the ingredients they use, which should be displayed on the paint pots themselves or available upon request from the company. Also, be wary of “water-based” paints, which may still have harmful ingredients like vinyl resins, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals derived from oil, acrylics, formaldehyde, and ammonia.
Hunt for antique finishing touches
Antique markets and consignment stores are full of quirky, unique items that don’t come with a carbon footprint (as they’ve already been made) or added toxic off-gassing (which would have already happened during its original production).
Environmentally friendly flooring
Unfortunately, plenty of interior design products like hardwood, tile, wallpaper, furniture, and textiles aren’t sustainably sourced. Flooring is a big purchase for your home, so be especially diligent in finding sustainable flooring. This means looking for a company that prioritizes minimizing its impact on the environment during production, use, and disposal through sustainable harvesting practices and by using natural or renewable materials.
The ground-up: sustainable construction
If you’re renovating, chances are you’re getting rid of some unwanted (but perfectly good) household items. Instead of sending old kitchen appliances and outdated flooring to the landfill, try to ask your builder or contractor if there are safe and eco-friendly options to dispose of or recycle the items you’re discarding. Alternatively, search for companies like Habitat for Humanity that will accept donations for restoration.