Eco-conscious interior design: 10 tips for an eco-friendly home

Cathy Phillips eco-conscious interior designMany of us are aware of the problems of waste, and recycling our rubbish has become second nature. But could we do more at home to help look after the planet? As an interior designer based in West London I’m passionate about designing healthier, more sustainable places to live and work in – here my suggestions for making your rooms more eco- friendly.

  1. Upcycle

Never throw furniture away unless it’s unusable. Larger branches of charity shops like Sue Ryder and British Red Cross accept all kinds of furniture.

Or try one of the specialist upcycling initiatives such as the wonderful Petits Miracles in Shepherd’s Bush who I support, and Goldfinger Factory, W10 who repurpose furniture into beautiful designs.

  1. Choose natural paint

Did you know that standard paints contain chemicals such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can have a harmful effect on your health and the environment? So, try to use paint that is VOC-free and doesn’t release toxic fumes. You can find out more about eco paints from my friends at Pure Decoration.

  1. Investigate new materials

If you plan to renovate your home do ask your interior designer to consider sustainable materials and finishes. For instance, you could consider a recycled kitchen worktop made from glass or even yogurt pots!

Cathy Phillips interior design eco-friendlyFor inspiration if you are ever in Brighton, do visit The Waste House, Europe’s first public building made almost entirely from waste materials.

  1. Seek out sustainably-sourced furniture

For furniture made from reclaimed teak, head to Raft on the high street. Or check out the great range at Sustainable Furniture if you are happy to buy online or can get to their showroom in Cornwall.

  1. Use house plants & flowers

Bamboo palms and peace lilies are reputed to improve air quality. They look lovely too. A well-placed plant can soften hard edges and flowers are a great way to inject colour.

For the ultimate in ways to decorate with plants, have a look at Biophilic Designs.

  1. Shop from the good guys

There are now lots of sources for natural materials in your home. Check out One Village, which works with communities in some of the most economically stretched parts of the world. Good for the global nomad look – cushions, floor coverings, lampshades and more.

House of Kind has lovely soft furnishings and a beautiful ethos too.

Cathy Phillips ecofriendly interior designer West LondonAnd the cushions at Fine Cell Work, made by prisoners in UK prisons, are works of art. Rehabilitating lives is a kind of recycling and I’d love you to support them.

Also worth exploring are:

  1. Let the sunshine in

Throw open the windows and turn down the heating! Air the house and save energy – just invest in some (sustainably-sourced) cashmere to keep you warm!

Natural light will boost your mood too, so if are extending outwards or upwards, make sure you consider windows and skylights as well to let in more light.

  1. Reconsider your lighting

Change to LED if you haven’t already. LED bulbs require far less wattage than CFL or Incandescent light bulbs. And, remember the best light is natural light – see above!

  1. Chuck it out…

Declutter! Did you know most women only wear just 20% of what’s in their wardrobe? Find out if that’s you by turning the hangers in your wardrobe the other way around. When you’ve worn something, rehang it facing the correct way. After a month see how many hangers are the correct way around! Read my decluttering method here, then sell, swap or donate unwanted items to charity. Then vow never to buy another pair of black trousers again, if you already have 5 pairs like I do.

Great tips on how to host a swap party here.

  1. Think before you buy

Don’t buy things you don’t need or won’t use. Operate a one-in, one-out policy so you give away one book, magazine, teapot or pair of black trousers for every one you buy.

And question the source of things you buy – we do this more and more with food, so extend that to furniture, fabrics and anything else you bring in to your home.

Love what you have. An eco-friendly interior is good for the well-being of those who live there and for the planet.

Make your home a happier, healthier place

If you would love to give your home a beautiful, eco-friendly makeover, please get in touch.

We provide bespoke interior design and for clients all over London from our studios in Battersea SW8. For a free consultation, please call us on +44 (0)7720 253 939 or +44 (0)207 720 6660 or complete the brief form today.