Making your home, work or leisure spaces, more eco-friendly, doesn't require sacrificing your own style to simply neutral colours or monotonous finishes. Thankfully today, you are able to find a wider range of sustainable home decor products to fit from the simplest to the most exquisite design tastes. Find here ways to understand and validate your choice of sustainable home decor products.
The time couldn't be better to move towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Today, as we increasingly open to innovate in making sustainability more affordable, diverse, convenient, and beautiful, it becomes easier to make our indoor spaces more environmentally conscious.
Find out in this article:
1. Why Using Sustainable Decor?
We used to focus in making our spaces warm and welcoming. Today, this focus also includes in great measure, making our spaces safe and conscious for our life in the planet.
While the environment may take up most of the conversation when it comes to sustainability, there are actually three pillars to sustainability: environmental, economic, and social. Using sustainable decor is more than simply doing what's best for the environment, is using what is best to sustain human existence on the planet in the most enjoyable way. Here's a sum of reasons why using sustainable decor is a good choice for you.
Reason #1: Your Health & Your Family's
Sustainability is more than just striving to guard our planet resources, is what will allow us to live life as we know it for the years to come. Sustainable home decor is built with safe materials for your health, which not only impact you directly, as for instance, airborne chemicals, but also impact you indirectly, by polluting residual waters, or generating excess waste to the environment, to name a few.
Reason #2: Your Mental Wellbeing
Choosing sustainably made products, especially those that are inspired in nature features, can positively impact your feelings of wellbeing. Growing evidence shows that both active and passive contact with nature provides psychological, emotional, and social benefits. See more ways to approach nature while indoors here.
Reason #3: Supporting sustainable businesses
Beyond making the world a better place, supporting sustainable businesses can help these companies achieve greater impact, also grow to scale. And hence, be more competitive to larger corporations, which are competing with similar products, but with a great focus on profit as an element of success.
2. Traits of Eco-Friendly Decor
When choosing eco-friendly decor, there is a range of traits that can support the social, economic and environmental pillars of sustainability. Here's a list of aspects to consider when choosing eco-friendly decor.
Trait #1: Sustainable Forestry
Sustainable Forestry consists of a series of standards that stand for the future conservation of forests. Organisations as Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certifies products with a label to help with consumer identification and understanding. The SFI works with the forest sector, brand owners, conservation groups, resource professionals, landowners, educators, local communities, Indigenous peoples, governments, and universities, to create standards and on-product labels help consumers make responsible purchasing decisions.
In Europe, for example, a common label for products is the FSC, which guarantees that the wood used comes from "sustainably managed" forests. The goal of the FSC is to promote environmentally sound, socially beneficial, and economically viable global forest management, by establishing a globally recognised and applied set of forest management principles. See more about these certifications.
Trait #2: Non-toxic Components
The majority of everyday chemical exposure in people occurs through the air we breathe in our homes, offices, schools and other indoor environments. These airborne chemicals are commonly referred to as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are used to manufacture and maintain building materials, interior furnishing, cleaning products and personal care products.
Studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other researchers have found that VOCs are common in indoor environments and that their levels may be two to a thousand times higher than outdoors.
This is why, not only to protect your air quality, but also prevent further environment pollution, we should assure the use of safe materials for ourselves and the environment. Our wallpapers, for instance, have a Greenguard Gold Certification (see here) standard includes health-based criteria for additional chemicals, and also requires lower total VOC emissions levels to help ensure that products are acceptable for use in environments like schools and healthcare facilities.
Trait #3: Reduced Carbon Footprint or Environmental Impact
This measures a wide variety of criteria in some or all of the following categories: materials, energy, manufacturing and operations, health and environment, product performance and use, and product stewardship and innovation.
For example, ECOLOGO® Certified products, services and packaging are certified for reduced environmental impact. ECOLOGO Certifications are multiattribute, life cycle-based environmental certifications that indicate a product has undergone rigorous scientific testing, exhaustive auditing or both, to prove its compliance with stringent, third-party, environmental performance standards.
Trait #4: Sustainable Fabrics
We should assure the use of textiles are safe, durable and highly functional. For example, that the fibres used on the product respect the environment (wastewater treatment, limitation of synthetic products ...), ban the use of dyes recognised as dangerous for health as well as pesticides in the storage spaces of the cotton.
Our fabrics with the label OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100, certify that every component of the article, i.e. every thread, button and other accessories, has been tested for harmful substances and that the article therefore is harmless in human ecological terms.
Trait #5: Ethically made
This is social piece of sustainability. Creating an ethically made product, means working with suppliers that pay fair wages, guarantee that no child labor is allowed within their factories, and who maintain a safe working environment. In general, being and ethically made producer implies being committed to ethically sourcing and producing products, and also, to give back to the communities.
There are a variety of labels that make different social, ethical or environmental claims about products. For example, the Ethical trade and Fairtrade have distinct origins, but their approaches are complementary: both focus on helping make international trade work better for poor and otherwise disadvantaged people. On the one hand, ethical trade involves retailers and brands taking a series of recognised steps to improve the conditions of the workers throughout their supply chains, wherever they are in the world. On the other hand, the FAIRTRADE Mark help address the injustice of low prices by guaranteeing that producers receive fair terms of trade and fair prices - whatever the conventional market is.
Trait #6: Reduced waste
Waste is generated at every stage of manufacturing and distribution. It is important to establish practices to minimize the generation of waste. Some types of commonly observed wastes include waste from overproduction, defects, inventory, unnecessary motion and transportation, waiting times, over-processing, and unused time and creativity of employees.
At Forest Homes, for example, we strive for efficient inventory management with our wallpaper production, controlling the materials being used in the production process. We only produce custom made orders to reduce the amount of excess materials in stock. Also, we redesign the product packaging to ensure it uses the minimum amount of materials. We incorporate reusable or 100% recyclable packaging content.
3. Tips to achieving a more sustainable decor at home, office or leisure spaces.
Most people spend about 90% of their time indoors. Choosing smartly how to design our spaces is key to our life experience. Shopping for sustainable decor products is the first step into transforming your space. When doing so, also take into consideration the tips below.
Tip #1: Choose durable materials
The choice of materials for decor requires considerations of aesthetic appeal, costs and life cycle (such as material performance, availability and impact on the environment) and the ability to reuse, recycle or dispose of the material at the end of its life. In our spaces, materials must be used sustainably – this means the present use will not compromise future use by running out or harming the environment at any time. Few materials fully meet this criteria. The aim when selecting materials should therefore be to use: materials from renewable or replaceable sources, recycled materials, materials that are in plentiful supply, or materials with a lower environmental impact across their whole life cycle.
Tip #2: Choose timeless /true to yourself decor pieces
Timeless pieces are not fads or trends. You can avoid having to change your decor constantly, by choosing a timeless look, one that has permanence for you. This means choosing a design, style, colour and materials that is meant to last in your preference palette for the years to come. It doesn't necessarily has to be classic, but something that is truly timeless to you.
Tip #3: Have fun with Sustainable decor
Sustainable décor means you're choosing an interior design that incorporates reused, recycled, or responsibly sourced items. These pieces can include a variety of colors, patterns, and textures - in every style imaginable. Whether you prefer contemporary minimalism, classic couture, homey traditional feel, rustic chic, or any other style, you can find it in sustainable selections. Find ideas to decor with nature here.
Tip #4: Ask Questions about your products
Before choosing supposed sustainable flooring, wallpaper, furniture, or any other type of home decor, ask where the item comes from and what it's made from. Some products, such as our wallpaper and plant wall art are Sustainable Forestry Initiative-certified. If you don't see this (or a similar) label on a product, ask further about the item's background and manufacturing information.
Tip #5: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Part of creating a sustainable space is reducing. Not only are you recycling and responsibly sourcing what you use, but you're using smarter. While you don't have to go for the completely minimalist look, you can find ways to cut down the amount of stuff you have or use. Think of it as simplifying your life.
Also, you can reuse older home accents in new ways. Vintage pieces eliminate the need to source new materials or use energy to create them. Don't worry if retro isn't your style. Creative reuse calls for updating these items in easy ways to fit any style.
Additionally, furniture isn't the only home decor element that can have a new life. Flooring is an ideal basic to consider reusing. Reclaimed or salvaged wood from older homes can live on as a decorative part of a new space. Whether the designer adds it to the existing flooring, creates a new floor area, or incorporates the reclaimed wood into a bed frame, wall, or other accent, this is a sustainable way to go.
Tip #6: When you feel it's time to change, give your decor a second life
If possible, repurpose or reuse existing items. Old kitchen cabinets can transition into a new bathroom vanity, or the former kitchen tile can turn into an artistic mosaic. When repurposing old items doesn't fit your new design plans, consider selling, exchanging or giving them away. This provides you with an eco-friendly alternative to adding to a landfill.
4. Try Sustainable Decor Today: Check Out These Choices of Sustainable Home Decor
Considering the above mentioned characteristics, have a look at the following options of Sustainable Home Decor available at Forest Homes that continues to expand.
Our plant walls our made of real plants that do not require any maintenance, meaning water, light or trimming, thanks to a natural preservation procedure.
This means that you are able to have real organic plants in places where you couldn’t before. This avoids bringing in plastic plants to represent nature, that will otherwise be discarded, and generate more plastic waste to our planet.
Our plant wall art is a smart and environment conscious solution to approach our indoor spaces to nature.
Learn more about Plant and Moss Wall art here.
Eco Murals and Natural Wallpapers
Our eco-murals are printed with water based latex inks that are non toxic and completely odourless. This not only guarantees pure room air only, is also the best practice for the environment.
At Forest Homes, eco-murals have Greenguard certification and Ecologo certification. What does that mean? When a product bears Greenguard certification, it means that it is designed for indoor spaces in such a way that it meets strict chemical emissions limits and has been tested for more than 10,000 chemicals. Our eco-murals contribute to healthier indoor environments.
The Ecologo Certification means our murals are certified for reduced environmental impact.
Our non-woven wallpapers have also been awarded the ¨Confidence in Textiles¨ certificate, which means textiles were successfully tested for harmful substances according to Oeko-Tex 100 and Oeko-Tex 1000. Also our wallpapers are FCS certified, which guarantees sustainable forestry.Learn more about our Eco Murals here
With all this information, it's now your turn to choose Sustainable Decor! Tell us more about your experience with eco-friendly home products and if there's something else you would like to see here, we would be more than happy to hear about it!