Not to burst anyone’s bubble here but, in the world of interior design trends, many things come and go – and often disappear before many realize they’ve been and gone. Thus, we have the question: Is sustainability a sustainable design choice?While it can certainly be argued that less is more, the trend toward what has become known as “sustainable solutions” may be unsustainable; a passing fad that could create more problems than it solves.Sustainability is the process of people maintaining change in a balanced environment. It is the idea that the exploitation of resources, the direction of investments, the orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations. (GlobalFootprints.org)And yet, this begs the question of exactly what both “balance” and “harmony” mean, relative to “human needs and aspirations”.It must be said that, to some extent, the idea of sustainable interior design may have its foundation in the “woke” generation of PC millennials; as well as others who enjoy displaying their “consciousness” as a virtue, rather than as a real commitment.Is Sustainable Interior Design Really a Thing?Having said that, as a sharp interior designer, it makes sense to be aware of the impulse in your clients, millennials, and others, toward sustainable interior design.From sustainable architecture to sustainable interior design and even landscaping, homeowners are increasingly looking to create a living environment that is energy efficient, requires few resources, and which has minimal impact on the environment.Also known as “green design”, and according to AllArtSchools.com, sustainable interior design tends to focus on:
- Maximize the efficient use of space – Efficiently used interior spaces can keep the size of a building and, therefore, the use of construction materials and other resources to a minimum. Micro-housing developments, or “apodments,” serve as one solution in cities with quickly growing populations. They typically are 300-square feet or less and feature built-in amenities such as a refrigerator and microwave. Some developments are LEED-certified.
- Use energy-wise construction and design materials – Interior designers can work with windows and doors that maximize energy efficiency, wood flooring that comes from rapidly renewable sources like bamboo, water-saving toilets, and other environmentally responsible materials.
- Use materials produced in a socially responsible manner – Use furniture and products from sources that promote safe manufacturing processes and socially just business practices. When possible, use local sources.
- Reduce waste by using reclaimed or recycled materials – Fortunately, antique and vintage décor is an option for interior designers. Furniture and decorative items can be repurposed, refinished or otherwise refurbished to give them new life. For the truly environmentally conscious, tiles, carpeting, fabrics, even sinks and counters, can be made from recycled materials.
- Plan for energy-efficient lighting – Clever interior design can incorporate windows and skylights to maximize the use of daylight and minimize artificial light. When artificial lighting is needed, LEDs, halogen bulbs, and compact fluorescent light bulbs save energy and last longer.
- Use non-toxic and non-polluting products – An increasing variety of safe and chemical-free products are available, from organic, hypoallergenic paint to fibers and woods that haven’t been treated with pesticides.
It must be noted that the phrase “socially responsible” is usually subjective and can easily lead to disagreements based on personal opinions. Try to avoid challenging such expressions of “wokeness” when possible, to keep the business relationship intact.The key here for an intelligent interior designer is to be willing to genuinely pursue sustainable design solutions while not being mislead by clients and potential clients who are merely virtue signaling their desire, without a genuine commitment to sustainable interior design. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a non-sustainable business relationship that could become quite costly, and which could pollute your reputation.Looking for more tips on interior design trends, designer marketing tips, and product ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.